Louis Le Brocquy

Tinkers Resting


Not on display

Louis Le Brocquy 1916–2012
Oil paint on board
Support: 508 × 356 mm
Purchased 1958

Catalogue entry

Louis le Brocquy born 1916

T00224 Tinkers resting 1946

Inscribed '46 | LE BROCQUY' b.r.
Oil on gesso-primed hardboard, 20 x 14 (51 x 35.5)
Purchased from the Leicester Galleries (Knapping Fund) 1958
Prov: Howard Bliss, London (purchased from the artist through the Leicester Galleries); with Leicester Galleries, London
Exh: Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, April-May 1946 (180) as 'Tinker Man'; Living Irish Art, Leicester Galleries, London, October 1946 (65) as 'Tinker Man'; Artists of Fame and of Promise: Part Two, Leicester Galleries, London, August 1948 (113); Peinture Contemporaine en Grande-Bretagne, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, October-November 1948 (12, repr.); Zeitgenössische Britische Malerei, Hetjens-Museum, Düsseldorf, November-December 1948 (12); Kunstverein, Hamburg, January 1949 (12); Twaalf Britse Schilders, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, February 1949 (62); Peinture Contemporaine en Grande-Bretagne, Musée de l'Etat, Luxembourg, March 1949 (12); From Gainsborough to Hitchens: A Selection of Paintings and Drawings from the Howard Bliss Collection, Leicester Galleries, London, January 1950 (8b, not in catalogue); Louis le Brocquy: A Retrospective Selection of Oil Paintings 1939-1966, Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, November-December 1966 (12); Ulster Museum, Belfast, December 1966-January 1967 (12)
Lit: Earnán O.Malley, 'Louis Le Brocquy' in Horizon, XIV, 1946, pp.35-6

One of a number of pictures of Irish tinkers made at this period. As Earnán O. Malley recorded at the time (op. cit.): 'In 1945 Le Brocquy, whilst in the midlands near Tullamore, became interested in tinkers, who are peculiar to this country, and in no way related to gipsies. They may have in them a basis of the wandering scholar and craftsman, and their language, the Shelta, has a word use of Irish, but largely they are the once-dispossessed people of confiscations wandering without security of land through the countryside. By trade they are tinsmiths and horse jobbers...

'Their aloofness, intractability, and fierce independence interested Le Brocquy They become a symbol of the individual as opposed to organized, settled society, and to the growing power-control of the State; a symbol, also, of the distressed and dispossessed people of Europe wandering, unlike the tinkers, without hope of changing their condition by individual effort. For the creative worker they could represent the artist who deals in the unexpected and the unrecognized, and who suffuses with meaning familiar things against the inanition of their too facile and unmeaning acceptance.'

Though this picture was originally exhibited as 'Tinker Man', the artist now prefers the title 'Tinkers resting'.

Published in:
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.411-12, reproduced p.411


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