'Anna Livia' sculptor O'Doherty dies, aged 72


EAMONN O’DOHERTY, the Derry-born artist best known for his public sculptures, 30 of which stand in Ireland, died yesterday in Gorey District Hospital. He was 72.

His Anna Liviaon Dublin’s O’Connell Street was fondly known as the Floozie in the Jacuzzi, and was removed by the city council in 2002. The bronze figure was reinstated, without the fountain, near Heuston Station earlier this year.

His diverse work includes Crann an Oir(1991) outside the Central Bank, the James Connolly Memorial(1995) beside Liberty Hall, Galway Hookers(1984) in Eyre Square, and Swans(1994) at New Antrim Hospital. His most recent sculpture is the 20ft-high bronze Protogonosin St James’s Hospital, Dublin, which was unveiled by President Mary McAleese in 2010, and his work can be found from Inisturk to Oslo and Westchester County, New York.

O’Doherty was also a painter, printmaker, musician, photographer, architect and teacher. Born in Derry in 1939, he attended St Columb’s College, graduated with a degree in architecture from UCD, and was a visiting scholar at Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1973-4.

Throughout his career he supported himself as an academic and was for many years a senior lecturer in architecture at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

He taught at the University of Jordan, the University of Nebraska, at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris and hadbeen an external examiner at the Ecole Supérieure d’Arts Graphiques, Paris, and the Dún Laoghaire School of Art.

An exhibition of drawings and maquettes for sculpture and other small works from 1960 was due to open at the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery in Dublin later this month.

“Thought I’d have one more exhibition before I pop off,” he said at a Graphic Studio Gallery show of his work in June, knowing he was terminally ill.

In the catalogue for that exhibition, which included many a satirical image of clergy, he admitted to being fascinated by “the gaudy rituals, the strange outfits and the glittering artefacts” that accompanied a Catholic upbringing. “These images are now tinged with absurdity, but if nothing else, the robes and uniforms are a gift for the painter or sculptor.”

The singer Paul Brady yesterday remembered Eamonn and his wife Barbara’s “welcoming household” in Donnybrook where many of Ireland’s best musicians often congregated.

The painter Mick O’Dea remembered him as “a maker, shaper, lover of life”. “He has left a legacy of iconic sculptures and a body of first-class drawings, prints and paintings. His contribution to Irish artistic life has been enormous.”

He is survived by his wife, Barbara O’Brolchain, daughters Aisling, Meghan and Rosie, and son Eoin.