Monday 19 March 2018

Art world mourns death of sculptor

Sculptor Eamonn O'Doherty, who
died yesterday, pictured in December with one of his most popular works, the Anna Livia fountain
Sculptor Eamonn O'Doherty, who died yesterday, pictured in December with one of his most popular works, the Anna Livia fountain
Tourists walking past the James Connolly Memorial in Dublin yesterday

THE arts community has reacted with sadness to news of the death of leading sculptor Eamonn O'Doherty.

O'Doherty passed away in St Luke's Hospital in Rathgar, Dublin, yesterday following a long battle with throat cancer.

He is survived by his wife Barbara and children. No funeral arrangements have yet been made.

O'Doherty, who was born in Derry in 1939, was responsible for some of the best-known and loved works of public art around the country, including the Quincentennial Sculpture in Galway's Eyre Square, the James Connolly Memorial across from Dublin's Liberty Hall -- and, of course, the Anna Livia fountain (aka, The Floozie In The Jacuzzi), which was relocated to Croppy Acre Memorial Park near Heuston Station last December.

His friend and fellow artist Robert Ballagh paid tribute O'Doherty last night.

"People who ramble around our streets will be very familiar with Eamonn O'Doherty's work as the creator of extraordinary public sculptures.

"But those of us in the arts business also know of his talents as a painter and a graphic artist.

"It's hard to say how long I've known Eamonn, when didn't I know Eamonn? We go right back to when I started off in the art business myself, which would have been the late '60s, early '70s.

"Eamonn's background was similar to mine in that he was an architect; in fact, he went one better than me because I studied architecture but didn't qualify. Eamonn qualified and for many, many years taught architecture in Bolton Street, where he was greatly loved by the students.

"Eamonn will be remembered for his work. His piece 'The Tree of Gold' on the Central Bank plaza on Dame Street is a great example and is important in the context of the city as all sorts of people, from political protesters to punks, gather under the shade of Eamonn's tree.

"On a personal level, Eamonn was one of those people in whose company you couldn't spend an evening without going home saying that you had a great night.

"When I went home at tea time yesterday my post was there. I opened up an envelope and I discovered I had been sent an invitation to attend an exhibition by Eamonn O'Doherty in the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery on August 18. Sadly Eamonn's not going to be able to attend his last exhibition but there is a certain poignancy that people all over the country will be receiving this invitation.

"My sympathies go out to his wife Barbara, who has been a friend over the years."

Irish Independent

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