Hibernia: Le Brocquy
Fetches £1 Million
By Irish America Staff
August / September 2000
Louis le Brocquy’s painting “Traveling Woman with Newspaper” was sold at an auction of Irish art at Sotheby’s in London for £1,158 sterling, making the painting, executed in 1941, the most expensive ever sold by a living Irish artist. The work was hailed by Sotheby’s as “undoubtedly the greatest work by le Brocquy and certainly the most important Irish Modernist painting ever to appear at auction” and “a masterpiece by the man acknowledged as the greatest painter working in Ireland today.”
Widely accepted as Ireland’s greatest living artist, le Brocquy is a native of Dublin who lived in France for several years. He told the lrish Times that he was “utterly and totally flabbergasted” when told of the price the painting earned. He then went on to express the hope that “it will raise the profile of Irish art generally.” Le Brocquy himself has cited the painting as one of the four early works that would define his legacy.
“Traveling Woman” is one of a series of traveler pictures painted by the artist after encountering a group of travelers in County Offaly. Painted in London, but completely Irish in reference point, the paintings drew heavily on the work of Picasso, exhibiting a bright palette and strong cubism. ♦