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    Roderic O'Conor's Landscape, Cassis made £337,250. (click on image to enlarge)

    There are signs of a recovery in the appeal of the Irish art market to an international audience in the results from Sotheby’s annual Irish sale today.  On the face of it a sale that was 63.4 per cent sold by lot and 74.5 per cent sold by value might not seem great news.  But the grand total of £1,907,475 sterling, (2,171,849 euro) was the highest by far of any Irish art auction worldwide for the past two years.

    The top lot, Roderic O’Conor’s Landscape, Cassis made  £337,250 over a conservative estimate of £120,000-£180,000.  It went to an Irish private buyer.  Eight of the next nine lots in order of value all went to UK  buyers.  Grant Ford, Sotheby’s Head of Irish Pictures, said afterwards:  “We saw a fabulous price for the O’Conor and a resurgence of interest in Yeats. Of notice is the fact that we witnessed an influx of new buyers and bidders from Ireland, the UK, the US as well as China”.
    He also commented on the reappearance of certain buyers from Sotheby’s Irish sales during the 1990’s.  In fact this has been a feature of all latter day Irish art auctions.  Various auction houses have remarked on the reappearance of serious collectors and art lovers who had been driven out by skyrocketing prices during the boom.
    In all 45 of the 71 lots on offer found buyers and most of the main pictures got away.  There is much post sale negotiation over many of the unsold lots and some of them will definitely get away as well.
    Jack Butler Yeats’ The Child of the Sea made £229,250 over a top estimate of £150,000 while Sir John Lavery’s A Lady in Brown made £121,250, well within the estimate of £100,000-£150,000.  William Scott’s Double Grey Fish Still Life made £99,250 and Mary Swanzy’s Sunlit Landscape made £91,250.  Each of these works had been estimated at £60,000-£80,000.  The Swanzy went to an Irish private buyer.  Works by Louis le Brocquy (two),  Sir William Orpen, William Scott and Paul Henry made up the remainder of the top ten lots sold.
    Among the artists whose works remained unsold were William Ashford, Aloysius O’Kelly, George Russell, Norah McGuinness, George Campbell, Daniel O’Neill, Gerard Dillon, Patrick Swift, John Shinnors and Tony O’Malley.
    See posts for March 26, March 6, February 16 and February 2.

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