Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Sunday, November 17th, 2019

    If the number of sales now underway in this busy season can be taken as a guide then the market for Irish art is in a healthy state across all levels.  Over the next few weeks million of euro worth of Irish art will change hands. It would be wrong to assume that this market exists only for the wealthy.  Big sales tend to grab the headlines.  But a small amount of discretionary income and a love or art, or even just a particular piece, can get anyone on board. There are prices to suit every pocket.The online sale by Morgan O’Driscoll on Monday will be followed by Sotheby’s annual Irish art sale in London on Tuesday, Bonhams in London on Wednesday and Dolan’s in Limerick on Sunday week.  Also on the schedule are sales by Whyte’s in association with Christie’s, de Veres, James Adam and further sales by O’Driscoll and Whyte’s.  Art will feature strongly in a variety of mainstream sales between now and Christmas, from Sheppards in Durrow to Lynes and Lynes in Carrigtwohill, Aidan Foley in Sixmilebridge and the James Adam Mid Century Modern sale in Dublin next Tuesday evening.The selection at Morgan O’Driscoll’s online sale on Monday evening includes work by Donald Teskey, Kenneth Webb, Roderic O’Conor, Patrick O’Reilly, John Shinnors, Sean Scully, Mark O’Neill and a wide variety of well known and less well known Irish artists.

    Sotheby’s has worked hard to promote their annual Irish sale, which will be the subject of considerable interest in London. Charlie Minter, head of Irish art at Sotheby’s, describes this years sale in the following words:  “The vibrancy of Ireland’s cultural and artistic scene has always been a cause for celebration. This year’s Irish Art sale celebrates both past and present, from legendary figures such as Jack B. Yeats, Paul Henry, William Orpen and Louis le Brocquy, to new blood from Ireland’s dynamic contemporary art scene. The heart of Irish culture is encapsulated in a diverse selection of works with subjects ranging from literary icons to immediately recognisable landscape motifs, many of them making their auction debut.”Among a strong selection of works by Irish artists at Bonhams sale of Modern British and Irish art in London on Wednesday are works by Paul Henry, William Scott, Rowan Gillespie, Basil Blackshaw, Dan O’Neill and William Crozier.
    The sale by Dolan’s at Castletroy Park Hotel in LImerick next Sunday week will include a studio collection of the work of Clare artist Michael Hanrahan, official artist for the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Ireland in 2011.  These paintings will be sold without reserve.  The auction goes on view next Friday.

    The Man in the Moon has Patience by Jack B. Yeats at Sotheby’s. UPDATE: THIS MADE £325,000 AT HAMMER


    Monday, November 11th, 2019

    There is an interesting story behind Cork Bowler, an oil on panel by Gabriel Hayes at Sotheby’s Irish Sale in London on November 19.  In a painting dating to c1941 a road bowler is poised, ready to release his steel ball.  Beside him another man stares with considerable concentration down the road.The setting is Lough Gur, Co. Limerick where the artists’ husband Sean P. O’Riordain, an archaeologist and lecturer at UCC, was excavating.  The model for the bowler was the foreman of the excavation, Jock Kiely and the onlooker is Lar Gorey, a local farmer.This is a very rare glimpse indeed of the art of road bowling expressed as pictorial art.  The artist and sculptor Gabriel Hayes (1909-1978) is best remembered for her sculptured panels on the Department of Industry on Kildare St. in Dublin. Remarkably for a woman in Ireland of that era she worked on these panels while suspended in a wooden cage 23 metres above ground level on the street.  Hayes also designed the coins for the new decimal currency introduced in Ireland in 1971. She was taught by Sean Keating at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin and his influence can be seen clearly in the realist tradition of this work. It is from the collection of Eddie Jordan and was previously owned by the Dwyer family of Monkstown, Cork.  It is estimated at £30,000-50,000.Works at Sotheby’s Irish sale this year span the 19th century to the present day from paintings to sculpture.  Many are appearing at auction for the first time.  There is art by Yeats, Orpen, Paul Henry, Nathaniel Hone, Roderic O’Conor, Sir John Lavery and a wide variety of more contemporary artists and sculptors.  Among these are Rowan Gillespie, F.E. MacWilliam, John Behan and Patrick O’Reilly.  Estimates range from £500 to £500,000 for the top Yeats’ in sale, A A Paris of the West.

    Cork Bowler by Gabriel Hayes. UPDATE: THIS MADE £81,250 AT HAMMER.


    Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

    Paintings, furniture, silver and art from the 44 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin home of one of Ireland’s more successful property developers, the late Paddy Kelly (1942-2011), will come up at Sotheby’s in London on March 18. There will be more than 120 lots on offer. Central to the collection are five paintings by Jack B. Yeats, including The Showground Revisited, painted in 1950 (est. £150,000-250,000 / €170,000-282,000) and Young Men, painted in 1929 (est. £150,000-250,000 / €170,000-282,000), and an exceptional work by William Scott, entitled Deep Blues (est. £300,000-500,000 / €339,000-565,000).

    The entire contents will be available for viewing in Dublin from October 24- 27 and 14 paintings will be public exhibition at the Royal Hibernian Academy alongside highlights from Sotheby’s forthcoming annual Irish Art sale in London on November 19. The rest of the collection will be on view by appointment at the Fitzwilliam Square house.

    Arabella Bishop, Head of Sotheby’s Dublin Office, commented: “I have known Patrick and his collection for many years. 44 Fitzwilliam Square was a truly stunning setting to showcase the paintings, furniture, and objects which he collected from around the world over a number of decades. In holding a dedicated auction, we are able to celebrate Patrick’s vision and look forward to sharing it with collectors not only in Ireland but internationally.”

    A view of the interior of the townhouse at 44 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin.


    Saturday, October 19th, 2019

    The selection of Irish art on offer at the James Adam evening sale in Dublin on October 23 is deeply impressive.  This private collection contains great examples of work by Yeats, Henry, Mainie Jellett, Evie Hone, May Guinness, Mary Swanzy, Nano Reid, Grace Henry, le Brocquy, Barrie Cook, Tony O’Malley and many more.Without resorting to much hyperbole Adams describe the Antoinette and Patrick Murphy collection as the most important single owner collection of Irish art ever to have taken place in Ireland.  They expect the auction of 200 lots to bring in more than a million euro.  Sotheby’s sold the US based Brian P. Burns collection of Irish art for more than £3.3 million in London last year and will offer 12 works from the Murphy collection at sales in London and Paris in the coming months. Patrick and Antoinette Murphy – he is a former chairman of the Arts Council, she opened the Peppercannister Gallery in 1999 – are downsizing.  Adams is impressed with the breadth and depth of their collection where early works by artists like Nathanial Hone were placed alongside contemporary artists like Basil Blackshaw. Estimates vary widely.  One of the highlights of the sale is Mary Swanzy’s White Tower which dates to 1926 and is estimated at 80,000-100,000. The catalogue is online.

    The White Tower by Mary Swanzy UPDATE: THIS MADE 90,000 AT HAMMER


    Sunday, September 8th, 2019

    This collection of portrait miniatures at Whyte’s sale at the RDS in Dublin on September 16 relates to the Swete family.  The portrait of a girl with short hair against a dark background is attributed to Henry Kirchhoffer RHA (1781-1860) and contains his signature and other works are attributed to Frederick Buck (1771-1839). The 12 portrait miniatures are accompanied by five Victorian photographs. The Swete family were prominent landowners in west Cork.  Various members were married into many local families over the generations.  They once owned Ballinacurra House, Kinsale and had estates in Bandon, Lissarda and east Carbery.  The miniatures are estimated at 4,000-6,000.  The catalogue for the auction is online. UPDATE: THE MINIATURE PORTRAITS MADE 4,200 AT HAMMER


    Friday, August 30th, 2019

    Modern and Contemporary British and Irish from the collection of Patrick and Antoinette Murphy will come under the hammer across a number of sales at Sotheby’s in Paris and London. He has served as chairman for the Arts Council in Ireland and Antoinette set up the Peppercannister Gallery in Dublin. More than 30 works from their extensive collection include art by Henry Moore, William Scott, Gillian Ayres, John Bellany, Alan Davie and Sir Matthew Smith.

    As a brewer for Guinness, Patrick travelled all over the world – from London and Paris, Tokyo and New York to Kuala Lumpur and Kumasi – acquiring artworks wherever possible. He was chair on the ROSC exhibitions which introduced artists like Picasso, Lichtenstein and Rothko to Irish audiences.

    Breon O’Casey – Jungle Bird (£3,000-5,000).
    Albert Irvin – Ellington 2005 (£10,000-15,000)


    Sunday, August 4th, 2019

    Holidaymakers in west Cork can view Morgan O’Driscoll’s online sale of Irish art for themselves this August weekend.  Much of the viewing for the regular online sales by the Skibbereen based auctioneer takes place online.  This one is one view right over the weekend and the online catalogue at lists 242 lots.A small Paul Henry of Turf Stacks in Connemara is one of more expensively estimated lots at 15,000-25,000 but there is much that the average punter will find more affordable than this. The sale offers contrasting styles of Irish art which includes work by Markey Robinson,Tony O’Malley, Louis le Brocquy, George Campbell, Maurice Wilks, Basil Blackshaw, Gerard Dillon, Lettia Marion Hamilton, Gladys MacCabe, Majella O’Neill Collins, Alice Maher, Sean McSweeney, Arthur Maderson and many more. 

    Paul Henry – Peat Stacks, Connemara  UPDATE: THIS MADE 36,000 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

    A selection of more than 400 lots of affordable Irish art is offered at Morgan O’Driscoll’s current online auction. The sale runs until July 1 between 6.30 p.m. and 11.30 p.m. and the catalogue is online.

    Banksy – Happy Chopper (print) (400-600) UPDATE: THIS MADE 500 AT HAMMER


    Monday, June 10th, 2019

    Rich pickings await collectors at two sales of Irish art in Dublin and one in London this week.  The evening sale of art and sculpture at de Veres on June 11 offers three tapestries by le Brocquy including Allegory from 1950 (60,000-90,000). This series rarely appears at auction.  There is as well a fine watercolour from his Tinkers series (40,000-60,000).The auction features work by artists like Patrick Scott, Mainie Jellett, Hughie O’Donoghue, Tony O’Malley, Robert Ballagh, Stephen McKenna and Sean McSweeney.A feature of this auction is the sculpture section, on view in the garden of The Merrion Hotel.  The first piece on view is a massive bronze GI Bear by Patrick O’Reilly standing outside the hotel on Merrion Street (80,000-120,000).

    Tinker Picking Whitethorn, a watercolour by Louis le Brocquy at de Veres  UPDATE: THIS MADE 42,000 AT HAMMER

    Interest in the work of Mary Swanzy has hugely increased in latter years, helped no doubt by her major exhibition currently at the Crawford in Cork previously on show at IMMA.  Her South of France Landscape dating from around 1915 is lot 38 at the James Adam evening sale of Important Irish Art in Dublin on June 1. It is estimated at 20,000-30,000.Low Water, Spring Tide, Clifden by Jack. B, Yeats dates to 1906 and is his first oil painting, created when he was moving on from watercolour. It is estimated at 40,000-60,000 at Adams.  The sale offers a number of fine 18th and 19th century landscapes by artists including William Sadler, John Henry Campbell, Frederick Brocas and William Ashford.  Lot 62 is a  monumental bronze by Edward Delaney featured in an RTE still photograph of the poet Patrick Kavanagh in 1962.  Titled Cathedral it is estimated at 15,000-20,000.  There are abstract works by Cecil King, William Scott, Felim Egan and Michael Farrell, A Connemara Landscape by Paul Henry and a 1920’s portrait by the English painter Gerald Leslie Brockhurst of Florence Forsythe. Adams point out that a portrait of film star Merle Oberon by Brockhurst sold last year for $290,000.  Adams has a more modest estimate of 20,000-40,000 on their example.The Irish selection on offer at Bonhams Modern British and Irish art sale in London on June 12 is headed by Yeats’ Romeo and Juliet.  There are two Irish sketches by L.S. Lowry as well as works by Louis le Brocquy, Colin Middleton, Rowan Gillespie, William Scott, Sean Scully and Sir John Lavery.

    South of France Landscape by Mary Swanzy at James Adam UPDATE: THIS MADE 32,000 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, June 6th, 2019

    Upcoming at de Veres art and sculpture sale in Dublin on June 11 is Rowan Gillespie’s Portrait of a Dreamer 1982 (Homage to John Lennon) with an estimate of 40,000-60,000. Other works in this sale include a complex gold painting by Patrick Scott and a Horse with Rider by Michael Quane.  Louis le Brocquy is represented by three tapestries including ‘Allegory’ from 1950. Among the artists in the sale are Patrick Scott, Mainie Jellet, Hughie O’Donoghue, Tony O’Malley, Robert Ballagh, Stephen McKenna and Sean McSweeney. Viewing of the sculpture in this auction is to take place in the garden of The Merrion Hotel. The catalogue is online.

    Portrait of a Dreamer by Rowan Gillespie UPDATE: THIS MADE 67,500 AT HAMMER