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    Thursday, November 8th, 2018

    Mask by Henry Moore will lead Bonhams Modern British and Irish art sale in London on November 14. Estimated at £1-1.7 million it is on the market for the first time in 80 years and has never before been at auction. Only four of the series of 12 masks remain in private hands with others at The Tate, Henry Moore Foundation and Leeds City Gallery.  There is a strong Irish representation in this sale with works by William Scott, Sir John Lavery and F.E. MacWilliam.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    Sir John Lavery – Study for Ascot in Rain. UPDATE: THIS MADE £187,500

    Henry Moore – Mask (£1-1.7 million)  UPDATE: THIS MADE £3,248,750

    William Scott – Still Life with Fish (££150,000-250,000)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Sir John Lavery – S.S. Ophir (£7,000-10,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE £21,250

    F E MacWilliam – Reclining Figure (£7,000-10,000) UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Sunday, November 26th, 2017
    A Swiss scene by Sir John Lavery is the leading lot at Whyte’s sale of Important Irish Art at the RDS at 6 pm on November 27.  Evening Montreux shows Lake Geneva and a mountainous landscape beyond.  Paul Henry’s Coomasaharn, Co. Kerry has an estimate of  €50,000-70,000 and a Mayo view by Henry is estimated at  €50,000-60,000.

    There are eight works by Basil Blackshow with estimates ranging from 2,000 to 70,000 for Grey Horse in a Stable. Peony 1991 by Louis le Brocquy (35,000-45,000), Girls and Dogs by Dan O’Neill ( €25,000-35,000) and The Dodder in Flood by Jack B. Yeats ( €30,000-40,000) are among the other top lots.  The catalogue cover is Italian with Fowl 1948 by Gerard Dillon ( €50,000-70,000).  A later work by Dillon, Holy Island is estimated at  €30,000-50,000. There are 183 lots in total from artists including William John Leech, Percy French, Frank McKelvey, Maurice Wilks, George Campbell, Barrie Cooke, Tony O’Malley, Felim Egan and works from the estate of Robert Taylor Carson.

    UPDATE:  THE sale grossed 810,000.  Ian Whyte commented:   “We are very pleased with the results, which brings the total of Irish art sold at auction in the past week to over €4 million, which demonstrates the continuing strength of the Irish art market and the confidence collectors have in it. It has been our best year since 2007, albeit still only 50% of our turnover in that year, so, hopefully, there is still potential to improve”

    Evening Montreux by Sir John Lavery  UPDATE:THIS MADE 90,000 AT HAMMER

    Grey Horse in a Stable by Basil Blackshaw  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

    Sir John Lavery, 1856-1941
    The Golf Course, North Berwick, oil on canvas, 1922.  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £187,500

    A 1922 view of the golf course at North Berwick by Sir John Lavery is one of a number of highlights at Sotheby’s Scottish art sale in London on November 21. Lavery painted a series of canvases depicting the famous golf links at North Berwick between 1919 and 1921.  Winston Churchill remarked of them: “He shows us sunlight in all its variety – buoyant and bracing, with a touch of grimness on a Scottish golf links…”   This one is estimated at £150,000-250,000.
    Thomas Podd, Sotheby’s head of Scottish art said:  “This is one of our strongest offerings of Scottish art in years. We’re thrilled to be able to present one of the most significant and diverse groups of works available on the market by Joan Eardley, whose recent retrospective at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art was a clear indication of how highly revered this visionary artist has become. The Scottish Colourists are headlined by truly great examples by all four proponents, including one of the best still lifes ever painted by George Leslie Hunter.  An exciting post-war section includes an absolute masterpiece by Anne Redpath, a top notch example of one of Robin Philipson’s paintings of red poppies, and a fantastic group of works by John Bellany from the 1970s. Last, but not least, one of John Lavery’s coveted golf course scenes make a welcome appearance, following the success of a painting from the same series in our sale last year”.


    Friday, September 1st, 2017


    A powerful and masterly landscape of Switzerland: The Summit of the Jungfrau, 1912 by the celebrated  painter Sir John Lavery (1856 – 1941) will come under the hammer at Sotheby’s Irish sale in London on September 27.

    The painting’s lyrical curves lead the eye up to the pinnacle whilst maintaining a sense of composure and innate design which hints at the influence of Japanese art. The British love of the Alps dates back to the early 19th century, to Turner, Byron, Shelley and Ruskin; it was actually on the recommendation of Winston Churchill’s niece, Lady Gwendoline, that Lavery travelled to the Alpine village of Wengen for a two-month stay. The highlight of the visit was a journey up to Jungfraujoch station, an enormous engineering feat that had fortuitously opened in August 1912 Lavery was able to make his ascent with a full painting kit, creating a temporary studio and setting in order to make a swift sketch of the visiting party.

    The painting, which is estiamted at £150,000-250,000, is from a Hampstead Collection  assembled and enjoyed over many years in a beautiful house in this leafy corner of London.  The collection will be offered across nine auctions in London and Hong Kong between September and December.

    (See post on for August 17, 2017)


    Thursday, August 17th, 2017


    A painting by John Luke considered by the artist to be his best work comes up at Sotheby’s Irish art auction in London on September 27. Luke remarked of the work, titled Northern Rhythm: “No painting has so much or so deeply expressed my own particular type or state of mind as Northern Rhythm”.

    Now estimated at £100,000-150,000 it was originally purchased from the artist in 1965.  Sotheby’s say that their sale on September 27 includes many examples of works that are either making their first appearance at auction or were last seen many years ago.  Other highlands include Sir John Lavery’s The Summit of the Jungfrau, Railway Refreshment Room by Jack B. Yeats and a newly discovered Yeats entitled A Fortune,  Mary Swanzy’s Sun on the Sails and Colin Middletons The Life Everlasting.


    Saturday, August 27th, 2016
    The Disasters of War 47 by Gottfried Helnwein (£30,000-50,000)

    The Disasters of War 47 by Gottfried Helnwein (£30,000-50,000)  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 115,000

    An innocent child caught up in war is the peculiarly appropriate focus of a work by the artist Gottfried Helnwein entitled The Disasters of War at Sotheby’s Irish art sale in London on September 13.  The painting is not about Syria, it is about humankind. The work of Helnwein, who lives and works at Gurteen Castle in Co. Tipperary, is informed by his upbringing in post war Austria where World War 2 cast a horrifying shadow.  This innocent child in this photo realist work bears the scars of adulthood’s violence and corruptibility.  Helnwein, whose works are in major public collections, moved to Ireland in 1997. His work was exhibited in Kilkenny (2001), at the Crawford in Cork (2004) and in Waterford (2008)

    An international platform like Sotheby’s  is an important springboard for Irish art.  Over the years and through booms and busts the auction house has found new buyers from countries around the world for our artists.  Modern and contemporary Irish art is to take centre stage again in London on September 13.  The roll call of artists in the sale includes Sir William Orpen, Paul Henry, Gerard Dillon, Mary Swanzy, Colin Middleton, F.E. MacWilliam, Rowan Gillespie and Gottfried Helnwein.

    Highlights from the auction, which features important work by stalwarts like Lavery, Yeats and O’Conor as well as more contemporary artists like Elizabeth Magill, Melita Denaro, Eilis O’Connell, John Doherty and Rita Duffy, will be on view at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin next week.  Viewing at the RHA is from 10 am to 5 pm on September 1, 2 and 3  and from 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday September 4. The Irish viewing will include four Irish art works from David Bowie’s collection to be sold in November, Sleep Sound by Yeats, a watercolour entitled James Joyce by le Brocquy and two works by William Scott, Girl Seated at a Table and Winter Still Life No. 2.

    Lazy Lady by Rowan Gillespie (£12,000-18,000)

    Lazy Lady by Rowan Gillespie (£12,000-18,000)  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £32,500

     Mary Borden and her family at Bisham Abbey by Sir John Lavery (£150,000-250,000)

    Mary Borden and her family at Bisham Abbey by Sir John Lavery (£150,000-250,000)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Sunday, June 26th, 2016

    irish sothPaintings by Yeats, Lavery and Henry are to be offered at Sotheby’s Irish art sale in London on September 13.  The three works were stolen from a house in Co. Wicklow in 2015 and are now being offered for sale by insurance company Chubb.  The combined estimate for the works is £47,000-70,000.

    The painting are Jack Butler Yeats’ The Fern in the Area, Paul Henry’s Landscape with Cottage, and Sir John Lavery’s Portrait de femme au chapeau.

    Charlie Minter, Sotheby’s Irish Art Specialist, said: “The remarkable recovery of these paintings has ensured that their fate looks immeasurably brighter and we look forward to finding new homes for them. The Lavery and Henry passed through our doors fifteen years ago and we’re thrilled to be able to offer them at auction again.”


    Thursday, May 12th, 2016
    SIR JOHN LAVERY (1856-1941) - MRS. OSLER

    SIR JOHN LAVERY (1856-1941) – MRS. OSLER

    A 1929 portrait by Sir John Lavery entitled Mrs. Osler comes up at Sotheby’s sale of 19th century European art in New York on May 18. In a catalogue note Professor Kenneth McConkey observes that the intimate interior and casual pose of the sitter epitomises the liberation that came with the Jazz Age.

    Before the Great War it would have been inconceivable to show a woman other than a courtesan lounging on a sofa with the abandon of the sitter.  The interior is interesting too.  Despite the growth of modernist decor after 1925 classical rococo room decoration signified high style and remained very much in vogue.

    This portrait was painted at the Osler’s villa in Cap d’Antibes.  On the recommendation of his painting pupil Winston Churchill, Lavery had replaced Tangier with the Cote d’Azur as a regular winter respite.  The estimate on the portrait, the property of a Canadian private collector, is $300,000-500,000.

    UPDATE:  This failed to sell.


    Thursday, November 26th, 2015
    Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957) The Boat Builder

    Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957) The Boat Builder

    There was a good curtain raiser to the four upcoming sales of Important Irish art in Dublin at Christie’s in London last night.  Works by Yeats, Lavery, Paul Henry and Roderic O’Conor all found buyers.  Christie’s was confident that their Yeats – The Boat Builder – would find a buyer as works by the artist from this period are rare. It was painted in 1913.  Estimated at £300,000-500,000 it sold for £422,500.

    Sir John Lavery’s similarly estimated The Maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes sold for £338,500. The Village by the Lake by Paul Henry made £182,500 and O’Conor’s Baigneuse a la mer sold for £134,500.

    There are upcoming sales of important Irish art at Whytes, de Veres, Adams and by Morgan O’Driscoll, starting with Whytes at the RDS on November 30.

    (See post on for November 16, 2015)


    Sunday, June 7th, 2015

    Works by Sir John Lavery, Paul Henry and William John Leech will feature at Bonhams sale of Modern British and Irish art in London on June 10.  Moonlight – the Bridge by Lavery is estimated at £25,000-35,000 while The Pool in the Bog by Paul Henry has an estimate of £15,000-20,000.  Les Enfants and les Ombres by William John Leech is estimated at £8,000-12,000.

    A brace of paintings by Walter Osborne, A boy on a donkey in a landscape and Joe the Swineherd come up at Bonhams sale of 19th century European, Victorian and British Impressionist Art in London on June 23.   Bonhams sale of Old Master Paintings in London on July 8 will include A Landscape Based on Dawson Grove, Co. Monaghan with the Artist Sketching by William Ashford.

    UPDATE:  William John Leech’s Les Enfants et les Ombres sold for £21,250 and The Bishop’s Castle Tearooms by Sir John Lavery sold for £37,500 over an estimate of £30,000-50,000.

    Moonlight - the Bridge by Sir John Lavery

    Moonlight – the Bridge by Sir John Lavery  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    The Pool in the Bog by Paul Henry

    The Pool in the Bog by Paul Henry  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £25,000