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    Sale 7424

    20th Century British Art

    16 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 107

    Louis le Brocquy, H.R.H.A. (b. 1916)

    Hand

    Price Realised  

    Louis le Brocquy, H.R.H.A. (b. 1916)
    Hand
    signed 'LE BROCQUY' (on the canvas overlap)
    oil on canvas
    28½ x 28½ in. (72.3 x 72.3 cm.)
    Painted in 1971.
    This work is recorded as Opus No. 276.


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    'The hand can act as an independent being to bring about the emergence of the image' - so Louis le Brocquy stated in his lecture at the Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines at the Université de Nice in February 1979. He believed that 'there is a brain in the hand' and that, therefore, it is a powerful creative force in its own right.

    Le Brocquy's gentle, pale palette, as evident in the present work, was used against the context of the political instability and horror of the conflict in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s. His control and cool, transparent pigments in his figurative works of this time are employed to extol the terror of the times and, as Dorothy Walker has suggested, the 'hand turned palm down outwards as if to ward off horror, freezes the moment of terror in unbearable endurance' (see D. Walker, Louis le Brocquy, Dublin, 1981, p. 53). The disembodiment of the hand appears to be le Brocquy's way of dealing with and distancing himself from that horror at the same time as expressing it as grief.

    The present work is one of only thirteen 'Hand' pictures painted between 1965-74. According to Anne Crookshank, le Brocquy locates the 'spirit of the individual' and 'sought to trap it within' these paintings (see Exhibition catalogue, Louis le Brocquy and the Celtic Head Image, New York, 1981, pp. 24-6). For le Brocquy handprints are themselves a personality, and the hand is of equal importance to the eye and the brain in the creation of the image.

    We are very grateful to Pierre le Brocquy for his assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.

    Special Notice

    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Provenance

    Purchased by the present owner's father, Pierre Matisse, at the 1971 exhibition, and by descent.


    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that the present lot is illustrated incorrectly in the catalogue. The image should be rotated 90 degrees clockwise.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY OF THE ESTATE OF PIERRE-NOËL MATISSE

    The grandson of Henri Matisse and younger son of the dealer Pierre Matisse, Pierre-Noël Matisse inherited an important and impressive collection of pictures, objects and sculpture. This formidable family must have provided a fascinating childhood. While his father Pierre Matisse is considered one of the most influential dealers of the 20th Century, having introduced artists such as Joan Miró, Alberto Giacometti and Jean Dubuffet to America, his mother, Alexina "Teeny" Duchamp, led an adventurous life having later married the artist Marcel Duchamp.

    In addition to the present lot, Christie's are also offering for sale an exceptional group of paintings, drawings and sculpture by Henri Matisse in New York on 7 November 2007. This rare assortment of works offers an intimate glimpse into the prolific and varied oeuvre of Henri Matisse. The works range from rare pre-fauve paintings that demonstrate his mastery of colour and distinctive gestural brushwork to his iconic odalisques and masterful portraiture in a range of media to a striking self-portrait that truly encapsulates the spirit of the artist. The Estate of Pierre-Noël Matisse offers collectors the rare opportunity to acquire exceptional works of art that have until now remained quiet treasures of the artist's family.


    Exhibited

    New York, Gimpel Weitzenhoffer, Louis le Brocquy, April - May 1971, no. 23.