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Louis le Brocquy HRHA (b.1916) Sick Tinker's Child Oil on gesso primed hardboard, 60 x 90cm, (23.75 x 35.5'') Signed Exhibited: ''Louis LeBrocquy Allegory & Legend'' Exhibition, The Hunt Museum Limerick, June - September 2006 Literature: The Hunt Museum Catalogue 2006 - full page illustration Page 33 What is a family? The question Louis le Brocquy would go on to address in his major A Family (1951, National Gallery of Ireland) emerges in this earlier work as part of the breakthrough Tinkers series. The story began when le Brocquy was working to commission on a mural about C?chulainn for the Palace Bar in Tullamore, County Offaly. Off bicycling round the countryside, he became intrigued by encampments of Tinkers, as the tinsmiths were called, and with their permission, observed their lifestyle and rituals in drawings developed later through watercolour and oil. The series reaches back into J.M. Synge's writings about marginal communities in the West of Ireland and laterally, via the artist'sfriendship with Polish painter Jankel Adler, into a Cubist -like exploration of pictorial space as that where narrative stops and art begins. It picks up something of what Picasso looks at in his Saltimbanque clowns but while paint plays in le Brocquy's painting, the subject is deeply serious - within and beyond the frame. This is a forensic examination of what painting might do, at the role of art in society and at the place of outsiders in an era where difference was not tolerated. Writing in 1946, Republican and medical doctor Ernie O'Malley saw immediately the deep humanity and social critique underlying le Brocquy's new work. ''[The Travelling community are] outside the closely organised life of the parish unit, looked on with mistrust and suspicion. They become a symbol of the individual as opposed to organised settled society, and to the growing power of the State; a symbol also of the distressed and dispossessed people of Europe.'' While the Tinkers paintings are filled with presence, with life-affirming abundance and colour, the questions provoked are less comfortable. What is to be a member of a family, clan or tribe? What does it mean to live on the margins? Must a price be paid? Pictorially, the series pioneers his experiments with carving up the picture surface and anticipates his eventual elimination of extraneous detail in what would become the Heads series, where he carries out a relentless examination of the human spirit and how its presence might be signified by a sort of absence. Le Brocquy's particular achievement in Sick Tinker Child is to meld the art of the new with the 'distinguished humility' critic John Berger later identified in his work. He refuses the quaint and the sentimental, relentlessly picturing instead a profound crisis in the life of individuals who live on the edge. The image of the mother appears in broken cruciform at the painting's heart. To her right, the father's figure clutches a gull-eyed child who must be taken away from family and tribe for medical attention. To her left, a sibling reaches out in terror and grief, perhaps knowing the usual fate of sick children in that community, where childhood mortality rates were as high as in today's Third World. Paint moves in organised chaos around them, subtly delineating different cultural orders in collision. Horizontally-cut lines behind the sick child and father seem to suggest the rational, systematic order of the settled community. Beside the mother and sibling, painted planes break vertically before falling onto insistently ruptured marks, anticipating the urgent Bacchanalian fields of the artist's Procession series.Sick Tinker Child looks at how love and loss hurt even the closest-knit clan. The figures stand together but suffer alone. Medb Ruane
Estimate EUR : €600,000.00 - €800,000.00
Auction Date : 05-12-2006

Description

Louis le Brocquy HRHA (b.1916) Sick Tinker's Child Oil on gesso primed hardboard, 60 x 90cm, (23.75 x 35.5'') Signed Exhibited: ''Louis LeBrocquy Allegory & Legend'' Exhibition, The Hunt Museum Limerick, June - September 2006 Literature: The Hunt Museum Catalogue 2006 - full page illustration Page 33 What is a family? The question Louis le Brocquy would go on to address in his major A Family (1951, National Gallery of Ireland) emerges in this earlier work as part of the breakthrough Tinkers series. The story began when le Brocquy was working to commission on a mural about C?chulainn for the Palace Bar in Tullamore, County Offaly. Off bicycling round the countryside, he became intrigued by encampments of Tinkers, as the tinsmiths were called, and with their permission, observed their lifestyle and rituals in drawings developed later through watercolour and oil. The series reaches back into J.M. Synge's writings about marginal communities in the West of Ireland and laterally, via the artist'sfriendship with Polish painter Jankel Adler, into a Cubist -like exploration of pictorial space as that where narrative stops and art begins. It picks up something of what Picasso looks at in his Saltimbanque clowns but while paint plays in le Brocquy's painting, the subject is deeply serious - within and beyond the frame. This is a forensic examination of what painting might do, at the role of art in society and at the place of outsiders in an era where difference was not tolerated. Writing in 1946, Republican and medical doctor Ernie O'Malley saw immediately the deep humanity and social critique underlying le Brocquy's new work. ''[The Travelling community are] outside the closely organised life of the parish unit, looked on with mistrust and suspicion. They become a symbol of the individual as opposed to organised settled society, and to the growing power of the State; a symbol also of the distressed and dispossessed people of Europe.'' While the Tinkers paintings are filled with presence, with life-affirming abundance and colour, the questions provoked are less comfortable. What is to be a member of a family, clan or tribe? What does it mean to live on the margins? Must a price be paid? Pictorially, the series pioneers his experiments with carving up the picture surface and anticipates his eventual elimination of extraneous detail in what would become the Heads series, where he carries out a relentless examination of the human spirit and how its presence might be signified by a sort of absence. Le Brocquy's particular achievement in Sick Tinker Child is to meld the art of the new with the 'distinguished humility' critic John Berger later identified in his work. He refuses the quaint and the sentimental, relentlessly picturing instead a profound crisis in the life of individuals who live on the edge. The image of the mother appears in broken cruciform at the painting's heart. To her right, the father's figure clutches a gull-eyed child who must be taken away from family and tribe for medical attention. To her left, a sibling reaches out in terror and grief, perhaps knowing the usual fate of sick children in that community, where childhood mortality rates were as high as in today's Third World. Paint moves in organised chaos around them, subtly delineating different cultural orders in collision. Horizontally-cut lines behind the sick child and father seem to suggest the rational, systematic order of the settled community. Beside the mother and sibling, painted planes break vertically before falling onto insistently ruptured marks, anticipating the urgent Bacchanalian fields of the artist's Procession series.Sick Tinker Child looks at how love and loss hurt even the closest-knit clan. The figures stand together but suffer alone. Medb Ruane

Hammer Price : €820,000.00
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