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Large-scale le Brocquy tapestry for National Gallery of Ireland


The Triumph of Cuchulaínn unveiled at NGI Millennium Wing

'A gigantic tapestry with a sea of rainbow teardrops hangs to the side, like the building's personally tailored dream coat'. Brtan Lavery, New York Times 31/01/02

'The new Millenium Wing of the National Gallery of Ireland has been praised for its cool elegance. The buffed, plain walls are considerably enlivened by a magnificent tapestry designed by Louis le Brocquy'. Lisa Godson, Sunday Times 17/02/02


An Aubusson tapestry by Louis le Brocquy entitled The Triumph of Cúchulainn, was unveiled in the new Millennium wing of the National Gallery of Ireland, on the occasion of the opening of the the new 4,000 sq meter wing, designed by award winning architects Benson & Forsyth (Royal Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh). A portland stone clad modern architectural gem which stands out in contrast to the prevailing Georgian streetscape. Visitors to the Millennium Wing walk in through double doors into an orientation court at entrance level. The décor is solid stone and naturally rendered plaster and from the moment you step inside, the eye is drawn upwards to the natural light, which pervades the upper levels. A note of colour is added by the striking Aubusson tapestry, The Triumph of Cúchulainn by Louis le Brocquy.

The Triumph of Cúchulainn , based on the eighth-century epic the Tain Bo Cuailnge, was commissioned and donated as an integral feature of the new wing by the chairman Mrs Carmel Naughton. It is installed in the reception lobby of the building and hangs from a total height of 14 metres by the modern means of velcro. It represents some 37 sq metres and was woven in the historical region of Aubusson, France by the expert Lissiers and award winning studio, the Atelier René Duché, Meilleur Ouvrier de France. It is the largest single work designed by the artist to date and took some 3400 hours to complete involving four weavers for five months.

Part of the new accommodation in the 'Millennium Wing' includes a suite of galleries dedicated to the permanent collection of Irish art drawn from the first half of the 20th century. The fifth and last bay traces artistic trends in Irish art from 1930 to 1959. Noted works by Louis le Brocquy, William Scott, Patrick Collins, Gerard Dillon and Colin Middleton demonstrate the variety of artistic activity of the period.

Parallel to his interest in painting, le Brocquy has developed a strong interest in tapestry. In 1948, Edinburgh Tapestry Weavers invited a number of painters then working in London, each to design his first tapestry. The artists included Stanley Spencer, Graham Sutherland and Louis le Brocquy, who produced his now well known work Travellers.. The first weaving of this edition was exhibited by the Arts Council, London in 1950. It made an immediate impression among the critics. This was to be the starting point of a long colaboration with the seventeen century firm Tabard Frères et Soeurs, Aubusson in France. It is remarkable that the considerable reputation acquired by Louis le Brocquy as a designer of tapestries was early on in his career based on seven works. The artist has recently had two exhibitions of his tapestries go on display in Dublin and London, comprising twenty eight designs, resulting from four years of weaving.