Dimensions: 24.25 × 17.25cm
Medium: Watercolour on paper
Collection: Niland Collection
Provenance: Josephine C. Healy Collection, donated by James A. Healy to Sligo Corporation in 1975
This early watercolour shows a view of the hill of Mountpellier, seen from Tibradden in south county Dublin.
Visible on the summit are the large ruins of the Hell Fire Club, an 18th century sporting lodge, which subsequently developed a notorious reputation for gambling and carousing.
Painted just after the Second World War, when le Brocquy was about to embark on a career in London, the painting reveals his knowledge of contemporary British art. The dark tones most evident in the foreground and the subject matter are influenced by the neo-romanticist movement. A number of artists associated with this style, most notably John Piper, exhibited in Dublin during the war.
The isolation of these years when continental Europe was inaccessible encouraged more modernist artists like le Brocquy to find their subjects within Ireland. Here the artist presents the landscape in terms of simple geometric forms which ultimately derive from cubism.
The low viewpoint accentuates the large scale of the mountain and the dark ambiguous forms of the trees transform the landscape into something strange and unfamiliar.
Written by Roisin Kennedy