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Louis Le Brocquy

Tuesday 26th April 2011 at 11am 0 Comments Visual Arts

Louis Le Brocquy, Head of James Joyce, 1978, Arts Council of Northern Ireland Collection Image: Louis Le Brocquy, Head of James Joyce, 1978, Arts Council of Northern Ireland Collection

(10 November 1916 - 25 April 2012)

Renowned Irish Painter dies aged 95

“I sometimes think of the activity of painting as a kind of archaeology - an archaeology of the spirit” – Louis Le Brocquy

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learned with great regret of the death of one of Ireland’s foremost artists, Louis Le Brocquy, who passed away yesterday at the age of 95.

Born in Dublin in 1916, Le Brocquy was educated at St. Gerard’s School, Co. Wicklow before studying chemistry at Trinity College Dublin. In the late 1930s he left Ireland to study the works of art in the major galleries in London and Europe, returning to Ireland at the outbreak of the second world war.

In a career spanning 70 years, this self-taught artist achieved world-wide recognition and established his place amongst the front rank of Irish and British painters of the 20th century. He represented Ireland at the 1956 Venice Biennale and is honoured as the only painter to be included in his lifetime in the Permanent Irish Collection of the National Gallery of Ireland. In 2007, in recognition of his status as Ireland’s greatest living painter, Le Brocquy received Dublin's highest honour, the Freedom of the City.

He is renowned for his distinctive portraits of Ireland’s literary figures and fellow artists, including Samuel Beckett, Francis Bacon and Seamus Heaney.

His work is represented in public collections around the world, including the Guggenheim in New York and Tate Modern, London. Four portraits of William Butler Yeats and one of James Joyce (above) are held in the art collection of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland paid tribute to the artist:

“Throughout his long and distinguished career, Louis Le Brocquy accomplished the rare distinction of being recognised as one of the truly major and important artists of his time. His work ranks amongst the best produced by any Irish painter and his place in art history is assured.”

Louis Le Brocquy is survived by his wife, the artist Anne Madden, and his two sons, Pierre and Alexis.

Find out more at or @ArtsCouncilNI


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