A Family
Louis Le Brocquy, A Family © Estate of Louis Le Brocquy. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

'A Family' by Louis le Brocquy

147 x 185 cm
Oil on canvas
Heritage Gift, Lochlann and Brenda Quinn, 2002

Stop 8 on the First Fortnight Art Trail

In this painting, Le Brocquy suggests psychological unease, most obviously through the dejected body language of the father figure on the right, who sits with his back turned to his family. This atmosphere is reinforced by the surroundings which resemble a concrete bunker. However, the painting also contains a hopeful message: the child holds a bright bouquet which can be read as a symbol of both happiness and hope for the future. The theme of psychological angst foreshadows Le Brocquy’s own struggles with mental health in 1963 which he described as ‘a very bad year, a blind year’. However, it was also during this period that he visited Paris and saw Polynesian artwork which inspired his famous series of ‘portrait heads’.

On display in Room 15, Milltown Wing, Level 1

About First Fortnight Festival

First Fortnight is a charity that challenges mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action. In January 2019, the National Gallery of Ireland is offering an education and engagement programme of events focusing on mindfulness and mental health. This Art Trail is part of the programme. See the full programme of First Fortnight events at the Gallery