It was not until the 1970s that Le Brocquy fully embarked on the famous theme of identifiable Portrait Heads for which he is now perhaps best known. Evocative heads of literary figures and fellow artists were to be his mainstay from then right up until his recent death - Yeats, Joyce, Bacon, Heaney, Bono and of course Beckett to name just a few of his favoured sitters. Louis met Samuel Beckett through a mutual friend at Trinity College in Dublin and they were firm friends until the playwright's death in 1989. Speaking of painting the great man, he commented "I'm not making a statement at all, you know, I'm simply trying to discover, to uncover, aspects of the Beckettness of Beckett".
Evoked through faint strokes and daubs of colour, Le Brocquy's skill in capturing Beckett's unmistakable likeness is formidable. The colour white is central to the artist's aesthetic and here an ethereal rendering of Beckett emerges from the white background, at once part of it and yet also distinct from it. The artist seeks to convey the very souls of his sitters in paint, each variant slightly different, always trying to show the person from the inside out.
Over the years, Le Brocquy absorbed many influences from different periods of art history but retained a style that was singularly his own. His artistic achievement spanned a lifetime and his work is venerated today by connoisseurs, collectors and critics alike. One of Ireland's finest painters, his pictures are celebrated on an international level and he remains one of the few Irish artists to have commanded seven figure sums on the open market.