Lot 122
  • 122

Louis le Brocquy, H.R.H.A.

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
98,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Louis le Brocquy, H.R.H.A.
  • Fantail Pigeons
  • signed and dated on the reverse: LE BROCQUY 84
  • oil on canvas


Taylor Galleries, Dublin;
Private collection, Dublin;
Adam's, Dublin, 5 December 2006, lot 59;
Private collection


Dublin, Taylor Galleries, Louis le Brocquy, Procession with lilies and other new work, 1985, no.16.

Catalogue Note

Le Brocquy began his first paintings of Fantail pigeons after a memorable visit to Italy in 1956. At his guesthouse, casa Pezzoli, he encountered a flock of pigeons in the courtyard and he responded energetically to the intense life of the birds, bustling together and turning and tumbling in flight. The visual motif resounded with him, resulting in joyful and lyrical creations with quick and deft brushwork. Dorothy Walker observed: ‘In his paintings of doves or fantailed white pigeons their fluttery featheriness is transmuted into fluttery white paint not by attempting any realistic reproduction of a dove but by means of an image having its own inherent reality.’ In so doing, the works have an amazing vitality and emotion realised far more fully than a faithful representation.

The present work, dated 1984, originates from le Brocquy’s home in France, Les Combes, where fantail pigeons also gathered. On pondering these new works, Le Brocquy said at the time: ‘Perhaps this is simply a temporary release from the heads and their rather intense reflective consciousness, their tragic aspect, a return to a simple state of being, emerging in its own nature, filling out its little volume of reality with the various natural possibilities of its form.’ The paintings, together with his still lifes, reveal the aesthetic and technical interests that occupied le Brocquy at various times and are no less ambitious than his major series. Yet they have a delightful vivacity and as Medb Ruane wrote: ‘they open a painterly space into the little incidents the world sometimes offers, chance encounters glimpsed if you’re willing to look.’