Louis Le Brocquy exhibit at the Picasso museum in Antibes
Conversation with painter Louis Le Broquy, who paints portraits of writers, on the occasion of an exhibit at the Picasso museum in Antibes.
If the importance of an artist can be judged by his price on the art market, Louis le Brocquy, born in Dublin in 1916, is certainly one of the major painters of contemporary Ireland. Very integrated in the Irish cultural milieu, he made friends with novelists, Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney, as much as with more popular artists as Bono, singer from the group U2. It is often said about Louis le Brocquy that he was a socialite Bacon.
Nicknamed the "civilised head-hunter", he made himself famous by painting a series of paintings that featured a lot of celebrities from the cultural arena, that were inspired by the Polynesian heads in the museum of man in Paris. James Joyce, Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso and Frederico Garcia Lorca were some of his "cut heads", and represented to him "avatars of human consciousness".
Conforming to the bohemian tradition of the twentieth century, Le Brocquy left Ireland in 1938 to visit the main European artistic collections. His first works were influenced by Manet, Degas and Spanish painting, in particular le Greco, Velasquez and Goya. He then evolved towards Cubism, dealing with solitude and marginality in his paintings. These themes are notably abundant in his series about travelling people and their living conditions, independent but precarious, something he really connected with.