25 April 2012: Arts Council regrets the passing of Louis le Brocquy

The Arts Council has expressed its deep regret at the passing of Aosdána member Louis le Brocquy who died today.

Pat Moylan, Chairman of the Arts Council said "The Council is deeply saddened at the passing of Louis le Brocquy. Louis was one of the most important visual artists that Ireland has produced. At a time when Ireland was relatively provincial in its visual arts tradition, le Brocquy was deeply aware of international practice. This was demonstrated when he represented his country at the Venice Biennale in 1956 with the work ‘A Family’, which subsequently won a major prize. The development of le Brocquy’s work towards an ‘Irish modernism’ allowed Irish artists to think beyond the traditional, academic approach which had been dominant in Ireland. In this way, contemporary Irish visual artists today owe a great deal to the legacy of Louis le Brocquy. We offer our sympathies to his wife Anne Madden le Brocquy and his two sons, Pierre and Alexis."

 Louis was born in Dublin in 1916 and was a self-taught painter. In 1943 he became a founder member of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art in Dublin after his work was rejected by the Royal Hibernian Academy. He represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1956, where he won the Premio Acquisito Internationale, and at the historic Fifty Years of Modern Art exhibition at the 1958 Brussels World Fair.

His early paintings included the Tinker series (1946-50), and the "grey period" (1950-56) that produced A Family, which is held in the National Gallery of Ireland. Later work focused on the condition of the individual and resulted in his famous series of head paintings, running from 1964 to 1996, which eventually included portraits of Yeats, Joyce, Beckett and Heaney. He had designed many tapestries, most woven in Aubusson, France. He had illustrated literary works including Beckett's Stirrings Still (1988), Joyce's Dubliners (1986) and Thomas Kinsella's translation of the Táin (1969).

He held honorary degrees from the University of Dublin/Trinity College (1962); University College, Dublin (1988); Dublin City University (1999); Queen's University, Belfast (2002); Dublin Institute of Technology (2004); and National College of Art and Design, Dublin (2006). He had received the French titles Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (1975) and Officier des Arts et des Lettres (1999), and was also made Officier de l'Ordre de la Couronne Belge(2001). He was elected Saoi by members of Aosdána in 1992. He was honored with the Freedom of Dublin City in 2007. His work is held in national museums and modern art collections worldwide. He lived in Dublin.

Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.
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Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.

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