A Jack Yeats masterpiece made a hammer price of one million euro at the James Adam auction of Irish art this evening to become the most expensive Irish picture to sell at auction this year. This gives an Irish art market a much needed shot in the arm. The Irish market has lingered in the recessionary despite a strong recovery in the international art market.
A Fair Day, Mayo which dates to 1925 also became the highest priced painting ever sold at auction in Ireland. The best of Irish art has made its top prices at the London Irish art sales.
The painting, which once hung in the office of Eamon de Valera, had been in the same family for 67 years. It was chased by four bidders. The underbidder was a London agent acting on behalf of an unnamed client. A number of telephone lines were booked in advance of the sale. There was spirited bidding in the room before the painting eventually wold on the telephone to an anonymous bidder. Adams believe the picture will stay in Ireland. A Fair Day, Mayo’, was originally sold for IR£250 to Mr. J. P. Reihill Snr in 1944 by Leo Smith and has remained in the Reihill family ever since. After it was painted, the artist lent the picture to the leader of the new Fianna Fail party, Eamon de Valera who displayed it in his offices at Suffolk Place in Dublin. The subject is a bustling country fair and probably appealed to de Valera’s vision of Ireland.
“The 24 x 36” work had never been on the market before, yet had been seen in a number of very prestigious exhibitions including “Images in Yeats” at Monte Carlo in 1990 and at “The Moderns” at IMMA earlier this year.” A second painting by Yeats – ‘The Dawn” – also featured in the sale and made 80,000.
Adams managing director James O’Halloran said: “This picture was one of the largest and most valuable works by Yeats to appear on the market for many years and this evening’s result now proves that the market for Irish art is clearly here in Dublin, with Adam’s.
See antiquesandartireland.com posts for September 19 and September 23.
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