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  • ONE OF THE GREATEST COLLECTIONS OF IRISH ART

    Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) – A Misty Morning, 1942.

    The paintings amassed by Brian P. Burns, billed as one of the greatest collections of Irish art in private hands, will come up at Sotheby’s in London on November 21.  It spans artists from the 18th century to the present day reaching over 200 works at its peak.  More than forty years ago, Brian P. Burns made a bet with himself: “Isn’t it possible that the Irish could be just as brilliant in the visual arts as they have been in music and literature?” His collection is a personal response to the challenge he set and he has been generous with loans of his art to exhibitions in America and Ireland. Sotheby’s will offer 100 works form the collection with estimates ranging from £1,000 to £300,000.

    Brian P. Burns, whose grandfather emigrated to Boston from Sneem in 1892, remarked: “Some have asked why Eileen and I have chosen this time to return a large group of paintings from our Irish art collection to the market. Many years ago, when I started collecting, I was advised by Desmond Fitzgerald, the 29th Knight of Glin; Desmond Guinness, and other art advisors in Ireland to remember that no matter how many paintings I might acquire, I was only a custodian of them during my lifetime. Now at 80-plus years old, and with a collection of more than 200 works, it seemed an appropriate time. We have ensured that a number of paintings will be displayed in Chicago, New York and Boston before they “go across the pond” to be exhibited in Dublin and London before their sale this November.

    There are works by Yeats, Roderic O’Conor, Sir John Lavery, Sir William Orpen, Walter Osborne, William Leech, Nathaniel Hone, James Brenan, Rowan Gillespie and many other Irish artists and sculptors. Highlights will be exhibited at the RHA in Dublin from August 30 to September 1.

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