Lot 138: Louis le Brocquy HRHA (1916-2012)Human Image (Woman) (1997)Oil on canvas, 116 x 89cm (45½ x 35'')Signed and dated (19)'97 verso (AR 697)Jonathan Swift Gallery label verso.Exhibited: Possibly Louis le Brocquy Exhibition The Waterfront Hall, Be

Adam's

December 7, 2016, 6:00 PM GMT
Dublin 2, Ireland
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Description: Louis le Brocquy HRHA (1916-2012)Human Image (Woman) (1997)Oil on canvas, 116 x 89cm (45½ x 35'')Signed and dated (19)'97 verso (AR 697)Jonathan Swift Gallery label verso.Exhibited: Possibly Louis le Brocquy Exhibition The Waterfront Hall, Belfast organised by the Jonathan Swift Gallery Northern Ireland.Louis le Brocquy continued to work right up to his death in his 96th year. It is possible to subdivide that long career into a number of key periods, from the little soapstone figure of a female nude that he exhibited at the RHA while still a teenager, to his last works almost eight decades later. While he loved colour, it is its limited but telling use that is most characteristic of his work and important phases of his life can be described as belonging to either a grey or white, almost monochrome palette, with only short lived incursions into more colourful painting.His first white period began in the late 1950s as Europe showed tentative signs of recovery from the horrors of war and its aftermath, and for Le Brocquy, follows his ‘grey’ period, when his subjects struggled with post-traumatic stress and austerity. The white, lighter view of the world came with trips to the Mediterranean; to Spain and the South of France, and with marriage to the painter, Anne Madden, and was reflected in paintings of the nude and ancestral heads. If the grey period was expressive of existential anxiety, the white period suggests a more archaeological and analytical approach to life.Le Brocquy’s major retrospective at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 1996 may have prompted a reappraisal of older subjects, as the artist saw a sampling of his oeuvre for over 50 years gathered in one place. Human Image (1997) has much in common with his work from the 1960s (e.g. Etude d’Apres une Concubine de Mort, 1966) and is part of a series of paintings represented in the important exhibition of Irish art in Paris in L’Imaginaire Irlandais, and at Galerie Maeght in 1996. They show that age had not in any way diminished his handling of paint, his ability to model the figure using the most subtle variations in his use of white on white, nor reduced his commitment to exploring the depths of expression contained within this self-imposed chromatic restriction.Human Image (19)’97 suggests that while age and its vicissitudes must have sharpened le Brocquy’s interest in the living body, there is no sense of frailty in his robust, but delicate modelling of the figure. It is matched here by a teasing play on the abstract and the figurative, the flat white canvas so beloved of Modernism and the three dimensionality that he easily evokes from that whiteness. Catherine Marshall November 2016
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Important Irish Art 7th December 2016

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Adam's
December 7, 2016, 6:00 PM GMT

Dublin 2, Ireland

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