T00316 Woman 1959
Inscribed 'LE BROCQUY 59' b.l.
Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 28 3/4 (92 x 73)
Purchased from the artist through Gimpel Fils (Knapping Fund) 1959
Exh: Louis le Brocquy, Gimpel Fils, London, November 1959 (14, repr.); Louis le Brocquy: A Retrospective Selection of Oil Paintings 1939-1966, Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, November-December 1966 (60, repr.); Ulster Museum, Belfast, December 1966-January 1967 (60, repr.)
Painted in France in 1959, one of a series of white skeletal compositions or 'presences' begun in 1956. In a statement of March 1958 printed in the Gimpel Fils catalogue the artist wrote: 'Towards the end of 1955 I stopped making such linear compositions as "A Family (1951)" [repr. in the catalogue of his 1966-7 retrospective exhibition, no.23], in which the image is formalised within defined space, and started gradually to make indefinite white paintings in which I tried (and still try) to produce a substantial identity of surface and image. These last paintings depend for their reality, I think, on the nature and implication of their surface; a monotonous surface, but a matrix within which the central image may be realised and held'.
When le Brocquy moved to France in 1958, he started numbering his oils F. [France] 1, etc., and this picture was given the number F.20, but he lost all his records soon afterwards, about 1960, in a suitcase theft in Paris. The hairs on this work came from a defective paintbrush (letter of 28 March 1978).
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.412-13, reproduced p.412