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    Saturday, June 1st, 2024

    Poster for cancelled Nirvana concert in Dublin in April 1994. UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,900 AT HAMMER

    An historic poster for a cancelled Nirvana concert at the RDS in Dublin on April 8, 1994, the day Kurt Cobain’s body was found in Seattle, the original manuscript from The Fianna of Fionn by Padraig Pearse, the magnificent sporting collection of Ed Hayes of Two Mile Borris, captain of the winning All-Ireland hurling team in 1900 and a letter to General Lauriston dictated and signed by Napoleon  are highlights at Whyte’s.   The timed online Eclectic Collector auction is open for bidding and runs until June 7.

    The sale of 582 lots at Whytes includes historical artefacts, manuscripts, documents, photographs, books, militaria and medals, weapons and  memorabilia.

    The 1809 letter from Emperor Napoleon, Pádraig Pearse’s original handwritten manuscript of 23 pages, a 1966 Rising Jubilee 4 ounce gold medal, the British War medals to awarded to Captain G.T. Baggallay, assassinated by Michael Collins’ squad on Bloody Sunday, a 1921 grocer’s account for ‘The Irish Delegation to the Treaty Talks in London’ and the 1900-1910 Hurling, collection of Ed Hayes including All-Ireland, Tipperary and Munster Championships medals and two cups will attract many bidders. 

    The scarce Nirvana poster relates to a Dublin concert poignantly dated on the 1994 day Kurt Cobain’s body was found, three days after his suicide in Seattle. The artwork is based on the transparent anatomical mannikin with superimposed angel wings used on the cover of In Utero, the bands third and final studio album.

    The oldest items are south Italian pot lids and a candle holder from c300 BC.  There is a range of 17th century maps of Ireland and a Penal Cross from 1745, items from modern history including the Troubles and a Libyan munitions box seized on the MV Claudia in 1973.

    The 1900-1910 medal and cup collection of Ed Hayes, Two Mile Borris including All Ireland, Tipperary and Munster Championships. UPDATE: THESE MADE 6,200 AT HAMMER


    Saturday, May 25th, 2024

    The Fourth Estate (1945) by Yeats at Whytes features the interior of a newsagents shop and a cat sitting on a row of books.  The cat can be taken to represent a reporter on the press gallery. UPDATE: THIS MADE 85,000 AT HAMMER

    IT may not be strictly accurate to compare art sales to buses.  But three of them are arriving one after the other in Dublin next week – at Whyte’s on Monday, de Veres on Tuesday and Adams on Wednesday.  Millions of euro worth of Irish art will come under the hammer in a market that has expanded steadily rather than spectacularly over the years.

    The old stalwarts still tend to hold sway – even more so in times of global uncertainty – and this mirrors the situation of the art market internationally.  The most expensively estimated work in Dublin next week is a 1952 Yeats at Whyte’s entitled Discovery. The estimate is €300,000-€500,000.

    A c1891 still life by Roderic O’Conor – Flowers, Bottle and Two Jugs would, at €120,000-€180,000, have been the highest estimated lot at de Veres, but it has been sold prior to auction and the sale will now be led by an Orpen estimated at €100,000-€150,000.

    Another Yeats, The Water Steps from 1947, will lead the sale at Adams with an estimate of €120,000-€180,000.  Yeats, Osborne, Paul Henry and Sir John Lavery – among the blue chip artists whose work continues to dominate Irish sales – are all represented in Dublin next week. It might create an impression that nothing ever changes but in fact many changes are afoot in an Irish market which is dynamic.  Tastes are evolving and new artists are emerging with access to international cutting edge work in a way that their older counterparts did not.

    Game of Chance by Colin Middleton at de Veres. UPDATE: THIS MADE 40,000 AT HAMMER

    The market evolves more quickly on the international front but there are resemblances.  For instance the six marquee week sales at Christie’s in New York last week brought in more than $640 million (587.46 million).  The highest individual sale total, at $413.3 million (€379.21 million), was the 20th century evening sale led by Andy Warhol’s Flowers which made $35.5 million (€32.59 million) followed by blue chip artists like Van Gogh, David Hockney and Alberto Giacometti in a sale where 15 works made more than $10 million (€9.18 million).

    Next Monday evening Whyte’s will offer a carefully curated sale of 131 lots.  Along with Yeats there are two significant paintings by Paul Henry with works by Louis le Brocquy, F E McWiliam, Mary Swanzy, William Scott, Donald Teskey and Genieve Figgis featuring strongly.

    At de Veres, where Dan O’Neill, William Crozier, Louis le Brocquy, Orla de Bri, Colin Middleton, Stephen McKenna and Harry Kernoff are among the leading artists on offer, there will be over 100 lots in a timed sale closing from 6 pm on Tuesday.

    On Wednesday evening Adams will offer fresh to market work like Early Market, Quimperle by Walter Osborne.  Painted in 1883 it has been in the same family since being acquired directly from the artist and is estimated at €120,000-€160,000. Another painting by Osborne not on the market before is Sheep in a Field, acquired directly by fellow artist Sarah Purser from Osborne (€60,000-€80,000). There is value to be had in quality Irish landscapes from earlier periods. The catalogue includes more contemporary art by Patrick Scott, Sean Keating, John Shinnors, Tony O’Malley, F E McWilliam, Felim Egan, James Dixon, Basil Blackshaw, Martin Mooney and many others.

    Gold Painting by Patrick Scott at Adams. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024

    1809 (21 June). Letter from Emperor Napoleon to General Lauriston. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    A rare 1809 letter dictated and signed by Napoleon comes up at Whyte’s Eclectic Collector online timed auction which runs until June 7. Napoleon writes from Schonbrunn ordering Lauriston to move 80 carriages of munitions to Vienna and to return other munitions he may have back to the corps they belong to, as well as returning the out of service cannon to be restored in Vienna. The letter was dictated to and written by a secretary and clearly signed by the Emperor.
    This very rare Napoleonic letter in the midst of his conquests is framed with a translation of the letter into English, and an Archives de France export permit. The estimate is €5,000-€7,000. The auction of 582 lots includes historical artefacts, manuscripts, documents, photographs, books, militaria and medals, weapons, memorabilia including advertising, sport and entertainment, coins and banknotes.


    Sunday, March 24th, 2024

    K. Knitting by Colin Middleton at James Adam. UPDATE: THIS MADE 21,000 AT HAMMER

    This one or that one?  With sales of Irish art at de Veres on Tuesday on March 26, James Adam on the following evening and a Spring online art sale running at Whyte’s until March 25 the key decision facing many collectors of Irish art in the coming week is what to choose.

    If like so many collectors you love John Behan’s Famine Ships and have not yet got around to acquiring one there will be an opportunity to do so at de Veres.  Lot 21, a signed and dated bronze Famine Ship from 2021, is estimated at €8,000-€12,000.  The most expensively estimated lot is Sean Keating’s Eliza Doolittle in Dublin (€50,000-€70,000).  Art by Keating, Colin Middleton, Patrick Collins, John Behan, John B Vallely, Felim Egan and George Russell head up the catalogue at de Veres.  

    Famine Ship (2021) by John Behan at de Veres. UPDATE: THIS MADE 9,000 AT HAMMER

    The sale is characterised by a variety that encompasses fairly abstract works like  Menhirs on the Plain by Patrick Collins (€10,000-€15,000) and Pool by Felim Egan (€7,000-€10,000) to landscapes like Resting in the Wood by George Russell (€7,000-€10,000) and a Wind Blown Tree in Killary by Letitia Marion Hamilton (€4,000-€6,000). There is a collection of works on paper by Mainie Jellett and art by Tim Goulding, Peter Curling, Tony O’Malley, Sean McSweeney, Barrie Cooke, Desmond Carrick,  Roy Lyndsey, Arthur Maderson and many others with estimates from as little as €100.

    Painting and sculpture by many of Ireland’s best loved artists from the 19th century to the present day will feature at Wednesday evening’s sale of Important Irish Art at James Adam. The most expensively estimated lots are The Bog (1911) by Paul Henry (€60,000-€80,000), Spring Morning (1957) by Patrick Collins (€30,000-€50,000)  from the collection of Sir Basil Goulding and K. Knitting by Colin Middleton from the early 1960’s (€15,000-€20,000).  This modernist work in Cubist style depicts the artist’s wife Kathleen in an intimate domestic scene. 

    Aubusson Tapestry entitled Woman and Two Bantam Cocks by Pauline Bewick and Regine Bartsch at James Adam. UPDATE: THIS MADE 6,000 AT HAMMER

    There are estimates of from €10,000-€15,000 on Lot and his Daughters by Dan O’Neill, Being by Louis le Brocquy, Solitude, Lough Neagh by Dan O’Neill and Rebuilding of Monte Cassino by Patrick Hennessy which featured on these pages last Saturday. This work was exhibited at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2016 and is one of a number in the sale by Patrick Hennessy and Harry Robertson Craig from the collection of Dublin couple George and Pamela Fegan, friends of both artists. 

    There is a selection of work by women artists like sisters Eva and Letitia Hamilton, Grace Henry, Evie Hone and Pauline Bewick. Bewick is not widely known for her tapestries and the sale offers a collaboration with Kerry based artist Regine Bartsch titled Woman and Two Bantam Cocks.  Woven by Aubusson master weaver Bernard Battu in 2003 it is based on a tapestry woven by Bartsch for Bewick in the mid 1980’s and is estimated at €1,000-€2,000.

    The sale offers 19th century oils by James Arthur O’Connor, John Henry Campbell and Thomas Sautelle Roberts and 20th century sculpture by artists including John Behan, Bob Quinn, Oisin Kelly, Eamon O’Doherty and Patrick O’Reilly.

    The Spring art online sale at Whyte’s celebrates a selection of affordable art from Ireland and around the world. There should be Cork interest in two etchings by James Barry (€500-€700), a pencil drawing by Daniel Maclise (€150-€200) and a miniature portrait of a boy by Adam Buck (€400-€600). There are prints and etchings by William Crozier, Elizabeth Frink, Ronnie Wood, Jack B Yeats, Elizabeth Rivers and Bernard Dunston and a wide selection of work by acclaimed Irish artists.

    Catering for many tastes and both deep and shallow pockets these sales combine to present a fascinating and complex array of beautiful choices.  Now it is over to you….. 

    Wind Blown Tree, Killary by Letitia Marion Hamilton at de Veres. UPDATE: THIS MADE 12,000 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, March 14th, 2024

    There is something highly appropriate about this print by Peter Curling in this Cheltenham Festival week. Entitled Owners it comes up as lot 250 at Whyte’s Spring online art auction with an estimate of just 200-300. Numbered 139 from an edition of 500 it is one of three racing prints by the artist. The others are entitled Lads and Jockeys and all estimates are the same. The catalogue, with 284 lots, is online and bidding is underway. Viewing gets underway at Whyte’s at Molesworth St., Dublin on March 20.


    Saturday, March 9th, 2024
    Fortunino Matania –  The Last General Absolution of the Munsters at the Rue du Bois. UPDATE: THIS MADE 61,000 AT HAMMER

    In Flanders fields in May 1915 a battalion of soldiers from the Royal Munster Fusiliers lined up for a general absolution from a Tipperary priest on the day before the catastrophic Battle of Aubers Ridge on the Western Front.  The following day one in six of the soldiers were killed. A unique extant painting of the poignant scene by Fortunino Matania (1881-1963), the Italian artist noted for his realistic portrayal of trench warfare, comes up as lot 116 at Whyte’s evening sale of Important Irish Art in Dublin on March 11.
    The Last General Absolution of the Munsters at Rue du Bois is estimated at €30,000-€40,000.  The blessing was administered by the Jesuit Fr. Francis Gleeson (1884-1959) from Templemore, a then 31 year old who served with the Royal Munster Fusiliers at the first Battle of Ypres and is said to have taken command of the Battalion after all the officers were incapacitated by the enemy. The original painting was made at the request of the widow of the battalion’s commanding officer.  It was destroyed during World War II. This copy was painted by Matania in 1919 at the request of Alfred Robinson, whose son Edmond fought in the battle.  It was to celebrate Edmond’s safe return from the war. Exactly a  century later, on May 8, 2015, a memorial was placed at the site of the blessing. The auction at Whyte’s includes works by Paul Henry, Jack B. Yeats, Lilian Lucy Davidson, Frank McKelvey, Grace Henry, Harry Kernoff, Nano Reid, Patrick Collins, William Scott, Louis le Brocquy, Donald Teskey and many other well known artists. 


    Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

    Jug and Pear, an oil on canvas by William Scott, is among the highlights at Whyte’s sale of Important Irish Art on March 11. Signed and dated, and with exhibition labels on the reverse, it is estimated at €120,000-€180,000. The catalogue for the sale is online and it includes work by Paul Henry, Jack Butler Yeats, Lilian Lucy Davidson, Frank McKelvey, Grace Henry, Harry Kernoff, Nano Reid, Norah McGuinness, George Campbell, Daniel O’Neill, Barbara Warren, Patrick Collins, William Scott, Louis le Brocquy, Donald Teskey, Linda Brunker and many more well known artists.


    Friday, September 29th, 2023

    The artist Paul Henry was in his early ’20’s when this portrait was painted by Sir Robert Ponsonby Staples in 1898. Signed with a monogram and titled with a shamrock it comes up as lot 14 at Whyte’s sale of Irish and International Art in Dublin on October 2 with an estimate of €5,000-€7,000. Born in 1876 the year 1898 was the year the young artist moved to Paris to study at the Academie Julien and Whistler’s Academie Carmen. The portrait is from a private collection in California. Viewing for the auction continues all weekend at Whyte’s galleries on Molesworth St. in Dublin. Among the artists featured are  William Percy French, Letitia Hamilton, Rose Mary Barton, William Orpen, John Lavery, Paul Henry, William Leech, William Conor, Seán Keating, Gerard Dillon, Norah McGuinness, Patrick Collins, Louis le Brocquy, Tony O’Malley, Donald Teskey, John Shinnors, Genieve Figgis and Rowan Gillespie. 


    Saturday, September 16th, 2023
    A 19th gold charm featuring Napoleon, courtesy of Dublin jeweller JW Weldon, will be spotlighted at Ireland’s collection of statement pieces, Timeless, the Irish Antique Dealers Fair, which takes place in Dublin’s RDS from September 15-17. Details from

    With Timeless in full swing at the RDS in Dublin today and tomorrow and a number of upcoming sales of Important Irish art in prospect the busy autumn season continues on its merry way in Ireland. The annual Irish Antique Dealers’ Fair running for the 56th time offers an eclectic blend of contemporary and antique focused exhibitors and is designed to appeal to both young contemporaries and seasoned collectors.  With its eye watering results the Freddie Mercury sales at Sotheby’s this month (his Yamaha grand piano made just over €2 million) demonstrated once again the importance of celebrity and in this respect Timeless does not disappoint.  Statement pieces on offer include a rare bookcase favoured both by David Bowie and Karl Lagerfeld and a 400 year old diamond ring that would once have travelled to the UK along the old Silk Road.

    The Memphis Milano Carlton bookcase offered by Acquired was designed by Ettore Sottsass and once graced a Florence palazzo.  Its ground breaking form challenged existing rules, something immediately recognised by fashion and rock icons Lagerfeld and Bowie, both of whom had one.  It is priced at €17,000.  J.W. Weldon will offer a 17th century diamond ring crafted in England, the oldest ring they have ever handled. It is priced at €3,950.  Among other rarities is a 9th century French charm from a bracelet which features a cannon and a statue of Napoleon and a folding travelling silver chess set designed in 1972 to commemorate the Fischer-Spassky world championship. “The best of the past is also best for the future”, Garret Weldon, president of the IADA remarked. “Our trade is the original sustainable industry and helps the planet through a reduction in manufacturing and waste”.

    On a Western Quay by Jack B Yeats at Adams. UPDATE: THIS MADE 110,000 AT HAMMER

    Important Irish art sales are in the offing at James Adam on September 27 and at Whytes on October 2.  A 1923 oil on panel by Yeats – On a Western Quay – is a highlight at Adams and estimated at €100,000-€150,000. It depicts pilot Michael Gillen, who guided ships along the Garavogue River to the Sligo quayside, and who appears in several paintings and drawings by Yeats.  Another top lot with a similar estimate in this auction of 158 lots is Evening by Paul Henry c1924-25.  It comes from a private collection in Cork.  The sale offers highly collectible  art by artists like Louis le Brocquy, Gerard Dillon, William Conor and Rowan Gillespie.  Viewing gets underway on September 22 and the catalogue is online.

    The Currach, Kilronan by Gerard Dillon at Whyte’s. UPDATE: THIS MADE 50,000 AT HAMMER

    Still Waters by Sean Keating and The Currach, Kilronan by Gerard Dillon, each estimated at €60,000-€80,000 are highlights at Whyte’s sale of Irish and International art on October 2.  Lord George Hell by Sir William Orpen is based on a Regency reprobate, the principal character in Max Beerbohm’s 1896 story The Happy Hypocrite. Hell sets out to woo dancer Jenny Mere with whom he has fallen in love wearing a mask to cover his pock marked face.  When he succeeds and removes the mask his face has miraculously healed and become “saintly”, such is the power of love.  The story was dramatised into a one act play and in his oil on canvas Orpen set out to create the impression of a late 18th/early 19th century print (€10,000-€15,000).   Viewing at Whyte’s gets underway on September 25 and the catalogue is online.


    Saturday, July 8th, 2023
    Untitled IV by Willem de Kooning from the Macklowe Collection sold for $18.9 million (€17.4 million) in New York in 2021.

    The red/blue tonal palette of two artworks illustrated here is similar.  In art market terms the gulf between them amounts to millions and millions of euros and is to all intents unbridgeable. Willem de Kooning, the a Dutch born American based Abstract Expressionist, belongs in the canon of the greats, Gerard le Roux is a practically unknown French artist and sculptor born in 1942 and resident for many years in St. Tropez.
    When it comes to the art market comparisons are indeed odious.  Untitled IV by de Kooning sold at Sotheby’s in New York for a whopping $18.9 million in November 2021.  It was part of the Macklowe Collection, which sold for just under $1 billion, then the most valuable collection ever sold at auction. The sale of the collection of  Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen for $1.66 billion last November has eclipsed this result since.  Despite stellar sales like these the art market operates at many different levels.  You do not need to be an RTE “celebrity” in order to be able to dip into it.

    Three Women by Gerard le Roux has an estimate of €200-300 at Whyte’s. UPDATE: THIS MADE 250 AT HAMMER

    The market is for everyone as demonstrated by the second red/blue work Three Women by Gerard le Roux. It comes up at Whyte’s online summer evening art sale on July 10.  Colourful, appealing and charming enough to grace any wall it is estimated at a mere €200-€300.  An American influence is obvious in two works by him at this sale, lots 316 and 317.  There is a similar estimate on Couple on a Beach.  The artist spent a number of years in New York. The Mutualart website reports that work by le Roux has been offered at auction multiple times with prices ranging from $127 (€116) to $360 (€329), a record established for a beach scene at  Pourville near Dieppe at Pierre Berge and Associates in Paris in 2021.

    Summer art sales are brimful of interest and need not break the bank.  There is a selection of 337 works to choose from at Whyte’s.  The online sale offers an exciting array of accessible art from Ireland and around the world.  Among the artists represented are Paul Henry, Jack Yeats, Norah McGuinness, Graham Knuttel, Robert Ballagh, Markey Robinson and Pauline Bewick.  Le Grand Pavon (Peacock), a wool carpet by Salvador Dali was produced in 1979 by Ege Axminster, Denmark and comes with an estimate of €800-€1,200. A 1947 lithograph by American painter and  illustrator Norman Rockwell is estimated at €100-€150, the estimate for Ecce Homo, 16 offset colour lithographs by George Grosz dated 1923 is €2,000-€3,000 and a woodblock print portrait of a man by Otto Dix is estimated at €500-€700.

    Beached Boat by William Carron at Whyte’s (€500-€700). UPDATE: THIS MADE 480 AT HAMMER

    A view of Kilshannig, Castlegregory, Co. Kerry by Kenneth Webb is estimated at €3,000-€5,000, Mayo, a watercolour by Norah McGuinness, is estimated at €2,500-€3,500, an oil of Tory Harbour by Patsy Dan Rodgers is estimated at €600-€800, as is a watercolour of thatched cottages in the west of Ireland by Frank McKelvey.