This rare, early work which has recently come to light belongs to le Brocquy's pivotal 'Tinker' period from 1945-47 when the artist encountered the travelling way of life in Connemara. He became utterly absorbed in a community whose customs and languare had not been eroded by modern society, and it stimulated some of the most critical paintings of not only his career but in Irish art of the century.
The present, intimate oil is based on an earlier version entitled A Child Anticipates a Woman's Shawl which le Brocquy showed at his second studio exhibition in Dublin in 1945 titled 'Sketches and Studies'. A contemporary review in the Irish Times by Arthur Power declared: 'He has the delicacy of the orientals and, in his figures, the realism of the modern painters, yet underneath lies a firm structure. His constant search is for beauty' (23 April 1945). The soft use of colour is also a response to the light of the area which gave a distinct mood. As James White of the National Gallery of Ireland noted: 'The curiously liquid light of the West of Ireland affected Louis le Brocquy's whole vision, and its influence can still be seen in his love for greenish shades, in his soft colouring and in a certain haziness which, in water-colour especially, tones down all his contrasts’ ('Contemporary Irish Artists (VI): Louis le Brocquy', Envoy, vol.2, no.6, Dublin, 6 May 1950, p.56).
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