World renowned expressionist Irish artist Louis le Brocquy died at his family home, aged 95.
Le Brocquy was one of Ireland’s best known artists, known for his portraits of great literary figures and artists such as WB Yeats and James Joyce, along with his friends Samuel Beckett, Francis Bacon, Seamus Heaney, and Bono.
Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins paid tribute to the artist. In his statement he said, “Louis le Brocquy’s pioneering approach to art, influenced by the European masters, was highly inspirational.
“His works including the Tinker Paintings broke new ground and opened dialogue around the human condition and suffering. Through painting, tapestry, and print Louis le Brocquy has provided us with individual works and collections that give the insight and response of an artist of genius to Irish history, culture, and society.”
Higgins said he and his wife Sabina had been deeply saddened by the news of his death.
He said, “Today I lament the loss of a great artist and wonderful human being whose works are amongst this country’s most valuable cultural assets and are cherished by us all. Louis leaves to humanity a truly great legacy.”
Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny said le Brocquy had made a significant contribution to Irish life and was one of the greatest artists of his generation.
In his statement he said, “Louis's art had a very broad appeal and was admired not only across the world but also by people of all ages and will stand as a lasting legacy to his outstanding artistic prowess.
“Perhaps the ultimate statement of his standing is the fact that during his lifetime Louis was the first living painter to be included in the Permanent Irish Collection of the National Gallery.”
Ireland’s Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan said, “The death of a loved one, is always especially sad for those close to them and for Ann Madden the loss of Louis will no doubt create a great vacuum in her life. I hope that the wonderful legacy of his paintings, with his truly original approach to art, will provide some solace to her in the days ahead.”
Deenihan noted le Brocquy’s work is featured in the collections of numerous museums throughout the world.
He said “That the Guggenheim in New York, the Columbus Museum in Ohio and the Picasso Museum in Antibes have holdings of his seminal works attests to the genius and craft of this wonderful artist. There always was a daring in the subtlety with which he addressed his subjects over a blessedly long creative career, and this was recognized throughout the art world.”
The National Gallery of Ireland released a statement describing the artist as a “towering figure”.
They said his art “is a testament to his openness to international modernism and Irish influence, but is also a record of a singular vision”.
Le Brocquy’s pieces hanging in the National Gallery include “Self-Portrait” (1947), “A Family” (1951), the large tapestry “Triumph of Cúchulainn” (2001), which hangs in the Millennium Wing, and “Image of Bono” (2003).
Born in 1916, in Dublin, le Brocquy’s works spanned seven decades.
Highlights of his illustrious career included representing Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1956, and exhibitions at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1976), the New York State Museum (1981), the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne (1988) and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (1996) and the Hunt Museum in 2006.
The 96-year-old artist had been ill for the past year. He died at home with his wife, Anne Madden, at his side. He is also survived by his sons Pierre and Alexis.
A public commemoration of le Brocquy’s life will be held at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin this Saturday, at 2pm.
Here’s RTE’s report on the great artist: