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    Tinkers Enter the City by Louis le Brocquy. (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: THIS FAILED TO SELL.

    A small le Brocquy to be sold at Sotheby’s in London in November offers a measure of how deeply the recession has reduced expectations for Irish art prices. Tinkers Enter the City, a pen, ink and watercolour drawing from 1946, changed hands at a Dolan’s Irish Art sale in Galway for 165,000 euro in 2006.  At Sotheby’s the work is now estimated at just £18,000-25,000.

    Tinkers Enter the City is lot 163 at Sotheby’s sale of Modern & Post-War British Art on November 15-16 next.  It features in the second day of this auction. The same work was sold at Sotheby’s Irish Sale in May 2006 for £78,000. Afterwards it featured in the Louis le Brocquy exhibition at the Hunt Museum in Limerick.  Subsequent to that it was sold at Dolans in what turned out to be the most successful Irish art sale ever to take place west of the Shannon.  In those heady days Tinkers Enter the City was the top lot in a sale which realised over one million euro.

    Louis le Brocquy, who turns 95 on November 10, 2011, must be regarded as one of the most bankable of Irish artists.  He is one of a very select group of Irish and British artists whose works have made more than £1 million in their own lifetime. Tinkers Enter the City is a work of immense appeal to le Brocquy collectors. In this buyer’s market the lower estimate might not be everything sellers hoped for but it is at least good news for lovers of Irish art as it underlines the value to be had right now.

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