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    A Family by Louis le Brocquy from 1951 at the National Gallery of Ireland.

    Louis le Brocquy, the grand old man of Irish art, died in Dublin today at the age of 95.  Self-taught he was one of a small number of Irish and British artists whose works broke the million pound barrier in his own lifetime. His Travelling Woman with Newspaper sold for  £1,158,500  at Sotheby’s, London, in May 2000.  It was from his Tinkers series, Cubist portraits of Ireland’s travelling community, commenced in 1945.  He painted in oil and watercolour, was a lithographer and tapestry maker.

    A Family” was donated to Ireland’s National Gallery under a tax deal in 2002. This was the first work by a living artist acquired for the gallery’s permanent collection.  It is one of a series of family paintings marking a change in Le Brocquy’s palette from the comparatively colourful work of the 1940s to predominantly greys, black and white- later referred to as his Grey Period. The work was conceived in 1950 in the face of the atomic threat, social upheaval and refugees of World War II and its aftermath.  The painting won the Prealpina Prize at the Venice Biennale in 1956.  Abstract portraits of famous literary figures and artists came later. He painted Samuel Beckett, Federico Garcia Lorca, Picasso and Francis Bacon, author James Joyce, poets W.B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney, and singer Bono.

    In 1943 he was a founder member of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art.  In 1965 he joined the first board of directors of Kilkenny Design Workshops and served on it for 14 years.  In 1969 he produced a famous series of illustrations for the Irish epic tale The Tain.  He was awarded France’s highest honour, the “Legion d’Honneur”, in 1975. He has been represented for many years by Gimpel Fils London. Born in 1916 he is survived by his wife, the artist Anne Madden, and two sons.

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