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    Best Buddies (1990) by Keith Haring  UPDATE: THIS MADE €56,000 AT HAMMER

    From Paul Henry to Robert Ballagh, Colin Middleton to Tony O’Malley, not to mention Keith Haring and Ai Weiwei the upcoming sale of Irish and International Art by Morgan O’Driscoll is one of the most interesting auctions of the year to date. A quintessential Paul Henry – An Irish Bog – will highlight the April 26 online auction of 183 lots. Henry’s painting dates to 1939 and it featured on the cover of An Irish Journey by Sean O’ Faolain.

    In the summer of 1939 the writer and the artist had toured Ireland together.  Each had become the source of some disapproval in a country grown increasingly narrow minded.  O’Faolain’s Bird Alone had been banned for indecency three years earlier and Henry, having separated from his wife Grace in 1930, was in a relationship with the painter Mabel Young.  Undaunted, the author went on to found the literary magazine The Bell in 1940 and Paul Henry is now one of our most celebrated painters.  An Irish Bog is estimated at €120,000-€180,000.In Ireland and elsewhere art and controversy are often intertwined. In the late 1970’s and early ’80’s the artist Robert Ballagh made a series of paintings around and inside his Broadstone home. In a nod to Duchamp one featured his wife Betty nude descending a spiral staircase, another has the artist clad only in socks and a tee shirt. Lot 68 in the auction, Inside No. 3 After Modernisation dates to 1982 and features Ballagh sitting at a table writing with a copy of  Marx’s Das Kapital and a book on post modernism. The painting, which juxtaposes styles like Cubism, Art Deco, Abstract Expressionism and Punk, is estimated at €30,000-€50,000.

    Inside No. 3 After Modernisation by Robert Ballagh. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Calvary No. I (1983) by Tony O’Malley (€20,000-€30,000), from the estate of the late Charlie Hennessy of Cork, bears the inscription ‘After Picasso – Grunewald and O’Tunney’.  This sombre work, regarded by some critics as among his most important, refers to the 16th century Irish memorial sculptor Rory O’Tunney from Callan.  Picasso generally avoided religious subjects but he painted a crucifixion in 1930 and made a series of monochrome drawings inspired by Grunewalds 16th century masterpiece the Isenheim Altarpiece.  Another O’Malley in the sale is a radiant view of hawks over a cornfield made when he was becoming an increasingly confident artist.  Hawks Searching Corn dates to 1968.

    Colin Middleton salutes Gauguin in an intensely coloured sun baked landscape from 1953.  Castle Park is estimated at €20,000-€30,000. Keith Haring’s Best Buddies (1990), a silkscreen numbered 134 out of 200, is estimated at 50,000-70,000.  River Crabs by world renowned Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei, a papercut from an edition of 250, is estimated at €3,000-€5,000.  Andy Warhols Marilyn, published by Castelli Graphics, New York as an invitation to ‘Warhol – A Print Retrospective 1963-1981’ has an estimate of €4,000-€6,000.There is work by Louis le Brocquy, Hughie O’Donoghue, George Campbell, Sean McSweeney, Dan O’Neill, Jack B Yeats, Power O’Malley, Letitia Hamilton, Neil Shawcross, John Shinnors, May Guinness, John Doherty, Gwen O’Dowd, John Behan, Edward Delaney and F E McWilliam.There is Easter viewing in Skibbereen today, tomorrow and Monday and at the Minerva Suite at the RDS from next Friday until 4 pm on April 25. 

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