2017-09-27-2017-09-21 --- 2017-09-21 18:40:15--18
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LOT :89
Louis Le Brocquy HRHA (1916-2012)
Delacroix
Watercolour, 60 x 44cm (23½ x 17¼'')
Estimate EUR : €7,000.00 - €10,000.00
Auction Date : 27-09-2017

Description

Louis Le Brocquy HRHA (1916-2012)
Delacroix
Watercolour, 60 x 44cm (23½ x 17¼'')
Signed, inscribed 'For Anne in admiration and friendship' and dated 10th November 1981

Provenance: A gift from the artist to Anne Crookshank, 10/11/1981 and thence by family descent.

Louis le Brocquys (1916 - 2012) many series of portraits of celebrities both historic and contemporary were widely known and admired during his lifetime. However his small group of watercolour sketches of the 19th century French artist Eugene Delacroix are little known and rarely reproduced. Yet, they have a significance far beyond their recognisability because it was to the Delacroix Autoportrait dit au gilet vert in the Louvre in Paris, that le Brocquy owed his own ventures into self-portraiture.

In Louis le Brocquy, Portrait Heads, A Celebration of the Artist's Ninetieth Birthday, (catalogue of the exhibition of the same name at the NGI in 2007), le Brocquy is quoted as saying that he resisted pressure to paint his own face from his wife, the painter Anne Madden and others, because my interest was always in painting the other, Ǫ.my immediate stimulus happened to be a couple of studies in watercolour I made from Delacroixs curiously moving self-portrait in the Louvre. Despite this remark however, le Brocquy is also cited in the same publication, as saying that, An artist tends to paint his self-portrait all the time, since even with a subject before him what he tries to draw up from the depths of the paper or the canvas, lies really somewhere in his own head. That suggests that even though this watercolour sketch of Delacroix is a telling likeness of the great French Romantic as known from many portraits and photographs of him, there is an element of the self-portrait here too. It is of interest that le Brocquy did not attempt a series in oils of Delacroix but shifted his focus, instead, to his own face.

This watercolour sketch of Delacroix comes from the collection of Anne Crookshank, the inaugural Head of the History of Art department in Trinity College who died late last year. Anne Crookshank had been a friend of the artists since the 1950s when she bought his work, and the work of other emerging contemporary artists, notably William Scott, for the collection at the Ulster Museum in Belfast. An inscription by the artist , dedicates the Delacroix portrait to her in admiration and love. Elsewhere le Brocquy recorded his great regard for her achievements in Ulster and her unfailing support for living artists through her work for the Rosc exhibitions and her teaching. The painting of Delacroix, connected as it is to an important development in le Brocquys own career, was a fitting gift to the countrys leading art historian and a friend whom le Brocquy thought of as a great Irishwoman.

Catherine Marshall
August 2017

 

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