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    Thursday, January 16th, 2020

    It is, according to the auctioneers Christie’s, in paintings like The Sky Lovers that we see the roots of Yeats’ most emotional and highly evocative works.  The 1947 work provides a striking example of his late painting style. Early in 1947 Yeats lost Cottie, his wife of 53 years, and when he returned to his easel it was with a new found emotional intensity.  In this work two figures are depicted looking to the sky as one raises his hands imploringly to the heavens. Through light and vigorous brushstrokes the artist brings energy to the work, a sense of desolation and a yearning for something lost.  The Sky Lovers comes up at the Modern British Art evening sale  at Christie’s in London on January 21 with an estimate of £200,000-300,000.

    Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957) The Sky Lovers


    Monday, June 3rd, 2019

    A Yeats painting based on the last scene of Gounod’s 1867 opera Romeo and Juliet based on Shakespeare’s tragedy is a highlight at Bonham’s Modern British and Irish art sale in London on June 12.  Painted in 1927 the much exhibited work depicts the ending of the play in the Capulet family mausoleum.  Waking from a drugged coma Juliet finds the lifeless body of Romeo, who had committed suicide believing his wife to be dead. Stricken with grief Juliet takes her own life.  Yeats shows the bodies of the star crossed lovers slumped at the front of the tomb.  It is estimated at £80,000-120,000.  The sale features two drawings of Londonderry by L.S. Lowry dated 1961 and 1962.  Each is estimated at £20,000-30,000.



    Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

    The evening sale of Important Irish Art by James Adam in Dublin on May 31 contains 161 lots and includes art from the collection of the late Gillian Bowler.  She collected Irish art from the late ’70’s onwards by artists including Louis le Brocquy, Barrie Cooke, Tony O’Malley, Basil Blackshaw, T.P. Flanagan, Patrick Collins, Stephen McKenna, Rowan Gillespie and others.  Bowler was founding chairman of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957)
    Early Morning, Cliffony (1941) (25,000-35,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 70,000 AT HAMMER

    Paul Henry RHA (1877-1958) Gubellaunaun from the Bog (30,000-40,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 36,000 AT HAMMER

    Sean Keating PRHA HRSA HRA (1889-1978)
    The Turf Quay, Aran (40,000-60,000)UPDATE: THIS MADE 40,000 AT HAMMER

    Nathaniel Hone RHA (1831-1917)
    Dans Les Vignes (20,000-30,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 32,000 AT HAMMER

    Louis le Brocquy HRHA (1916-2012)
    Fan Tailed Pigeons (528) (40,000-60,000) UPDATE: THIS MADE 58,000 AT HAMMER

    Tony O’Malley HRHA (1913-2003)
    Winter Lines and Shapes UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,900 AT HAMMER (2,000-4,000)



    Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

    Louis le Brocquy, Jack Butler Yeats, Roderic O’Conor, Colin Middleton, Dan O’Neill, Barrie Cooke, Patrick Collins, John Luke, Gladys MacCabe, Markey Robinson, Arthur Maderson, Harry Kernoff, Maurice Wilks, Percy French, all feature at the sale of Important Irish Art at James Adam in Dublin on March 23.  The cover lot is A Connemara Village by Paul Henry (70,000-100,000).  The catalogue, which lists 211 lots, is online.  Here is a small selection. This being Cheltenham Week we have included a couple of horse images:

    (See post on for January 8, 2016)

    Louis le Brocquy (1916-2012) Being, watercolour (10,000-15,000)

    Louis le Brocquy (1916-2012) Being, watercolour (10,000-15,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 17,000 AT HAMMER

    Man Reading by Jack Butler Yeats (1871-1947) - (60,000-90,000).

    Man Reading by Jack Butler Yeats (1871-1947) – (60,000-90,000).  UPDATE: THIS MADE 92,000 AT HAMMER

    Nassau Blair Brown (1867-1940) - Charmer, Skipaway and Skipoker, a set of three from 1913 (3,000-5,000)

    Nassau Blair Brown (1867-1940) – Charmer, Skipaway and Skipoker, a set of three from 1913 (3,000-5,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 3,800 AT HAMMER

    Roderic O'Conor, Nu Brun Assis (8,000-12,000)

    Roderic O’Conor, Nu Brun Assis (8,000-12,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 30,000 AT HAMMER

    Liam O'Neill (b 1954) Hometurn (4,000-6,000)

    Liam O’Neill (b 1954) Hometurn (4,000-6,000)  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 8,000 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

    Yeats, le Brocquy, McWilliam, Leech are among the artists who feature at what de Veres describe as their highest quality art auction of 2015 in Dublin on December 1  After viewing a 35 Kildare St.  de Veres will return to the RHA for the auction on Tuesday evening. This is the first time the auction is to be held at the RHA since 2007.  The catalogue is on line. Here is a small selection:

    Man in a train, Thinking by Jack Butler Yeats 9200,000-300,000).

    Man in a train, Thinking by Jack Butler Yeats (200,000-300,000).  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 220,000

    Louis le Brocquy - Still Life, Lemons (15,000-20,000).

    Louis le Brocquy – Still Life, Lemons (15,000-20,000).   UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 22,000

    F.E. McWilliam - Box Four 1969 (14,000-18,000).

    F.E. McWilliam – Box Four 1969 (14,000-18,000).  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 14,500

    Colin Middleton - Red Landscape (15,000-20,000).

    Colin Middleton – Red Landscape (15,000-20,000).  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 18,000

    Peter Curling - The Open Ditch (6,000-9,000).

    Peter Curling – The Open Ditch (6,000-9,000) UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 7,500


    Monday, November 16th, 2015

    Works by Lavery and Yeats feature at Christie’s modern British and Irish art sale in London on November 25 and 26.  The evening sale on November 25 features The Boat Builder by Jack B. Yeats and The Maid was in the garden hanging out clothes by Sir John Lavery.  Each work is estimated at £300,000-500,000.  The boat builder was for many years in the collection of Sir Peter Scott, who was credited with designing the North Atlantic Fleet camouflage scheme during the Second World War.  He was a son of Scott of the Antarctic.

    There is work by le Brocquy, Yeats, Paul Henry, Roderic O’Conor and William Scott at various estimates from £15,000-80,000.

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

    Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957)
    The Boat Builder UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £422,500

    Sir John Lavery, R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A. (1856-1941) The Maid was in the Garden Hanging out the Clothes

    Sir John Lavery, R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A. (1856-1941)
    The Maid was in the Garden Hanging out the Clothes  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £338,500


    Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

    In the belief that the outlook for Irish art is encouraging Sotheby‘s resumed sale of Irish art in London on October 21 features work by Sir John Lavery, Sir William Orpen, Jack Butler Yeats, Walter Osbore, Paul Henry, Louis le Brocquy and Roderic O’Conor.  In the 20th anniversary year since the inaugural stand alone sale of Irish art in London there is also a selection of work by contemporary Irish artists. There are 71 lots in total and the catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    SIR JOHN LAVERY, R.A., R.H.A., R.S.A. JAPANESE SWITZERLAND £300,000-500,000)

    JAPANESE SWITZERLAND £300,000-500,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE £509,000

    BASIL BLACKSHAW, H.R.H.A FOINAVON (£18,000-25,000)

    FOINAVON (£18,000-25,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE £23,750

    Barrie Cooke - Elk Meets Sweeney (a portion) - £12,000-18,000)

    Barrie Cooke – Elk Meets Sweeney (a portion) – £12,000-18,000)

    (See post on for June 23, 2015).

    BARRIE COOKE ELK MEETS SWEENEY (SMALL VERSION) (A portion) - (£12,000-18,000).

    ELK MEETS SWEENEY (SMALL VERSION) (A portion) – (£12,000-18,000).  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    JACK BUTLER YEATS, R.H.A. THE TALKERS )£150,000-250,000)

    JACK BUTLER YEATS, R.H.A. THE TALKERS )£150,000-250,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE £209,000


    Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

    Jazz Babies, a 1929 work by Jack B. Yeats at Adams. (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: THIS MADE A HAMMER PRICE OF 480,000.

    An key transitional work by Jack B. Yeats  – Jazz Babies from 1929 – features at the James Adam sale of important Irish art in Dublin on December 5.  The pre-sale estimate is 500,000-700,000.  Adams achieved one million euro for A Fair Day, Mayo, a 1925 work by Yeats, at their sale in September. Jazz Babies demonstrates a move from his early realism to the more expressionist approach of his later work.   It was first shown at the RHA exhibition of 1929.

    Another Yeats in this sale, Evening Kildare (1936), once belonged to George Bernard Shaw. It is one of 14 works from the Beaulieu House collection.  They are being sold to finance continuing restoration of the finest and best preserved 17th century house in Ireland.

    Beaulieu House in Drogheda remains in the ownership of the family who built it in 1660/7.  Works from here include Mary Swanzy’s lush Gauguinesque view of a banana grove in Samoa dating from 1919/25.  When first exhibited in Paris in 1925 this work received positive reviews from New York Herald critic Georges Bal.  It is estimated at 20,000-30,000. There are two works by Norah McGuinness, a pair of early works by Dan O’Neill and art from Kitty Wilmer O’Brien, Cecil French Salkeld and Colin Middleton from Beaulieu in this auction.

    UPDATE:  Jazz Babies sold for 480,000 at hammer, Evening Kildare made 36,000 and the auction realised 2 million euro, with 80 per cent of lots on offer sold.


    Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

    The Silver Apples of the Moon by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR £115,250

    THE Silver Apples of the Moon, a re-discovered watercolour by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, features at Christie’s sale of 20th Century Decorative Art & Design in London on October 25.  As with so many Symbolist works, The Silver Apples of the Moon is inspired by poetry, taking its title from W. B. Yeats’ poem  The Song of Wandering Aengus.  This is a twilight scene depicting the poem’s character: “a glimmering girl, With apple blossom in her hair  …..   The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.”

    Margaret  Macdonald Mackintosh and W. B. Yeats had a common interest in mysticism and the occult, as well as being influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites. The Silver Apples of the Moon is known to have been exhibited in 1912 at the 33rd Annual Exhibition of The Royal Scottish Societies of Watercolours and subsequently in 1913 at the 52nd Exhibition Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts.

    Macdonald Mackintosh exhibited at the 1900 Vienna Secession, where she undoubtedly influenced the Secessionists Gustav Klimt and Josef Hoffmann.  She was wife of pioneering Glasgow architect, interior decorator and painter Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The Silver Apples of the Moon is estimated at £50,000-£70,000.

    Here is Yeats’ poem The Song of Wandering Aengus:

    I went out to the hazel wood,
    Because a fire was in my head,
    And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
    And hooked a berry to a thread;
    And when white moths were on the wing,
    And moth-like stars were flicking out,
    I dropped the berry in a stream
    And caught a little silver trout.
    When I had laid it on the floor
    I went to blow the fire aflame,
    But something rustled on the floor,
    And some one called me by my name:
    It had become a glimmering girl
    With apple blossom in her hair
    Who called me by my name and ran
    And faded through the brightening air.
    Though I am old with wandering
    Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
    I will find out where she has gone,
    And kiss her lips and take her hands;
    And walk among long dappled grass,
    And pluck till time and times are done
    The silver apples of the moon,
    The golden apples of the sun.


    Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

    A Fair Day, Mayo by Jack Yeats sold for one million at Adams.

    A Jack Yeats masterpiece made a hammer price of one million euro at the James Adam auction of Irish art this evening to become the most expensive Irish picture to sell at auction this year. This gives an Irish art market a much needed shot in the arm.  The Irish market has lingered in the recessionary despite a strong recovery in the international art market.

    A Fair Day, Mayo which dates to 1925 also became the highest priced painting ever sold at auction in Ireland.  The best of Irish art has made its top prices at the London Irish art sales.

    The painting, which once hung in the office of Eamon de Valera, had been in the same family for 67 years.  It was chased by four bidders. The underbidder was a London agent acting on behalf of an unnamed client. A number of telephone lines were booked in advance of the sale.  There was spirited bidding in the room before the painting eventually wold on the telephone to an anonymous bidder.  Adams believe the picture will stay in Ireland.   A Fair Day, Mayo’, was originally sold for IR£250 to Mr. J. P. Reihill Snr in 1944 by Leo Smith and has remained in the Reihill family ever since.    After it was painted, the artist lent the picture to the leader of the new Fianna Fail party, Eamon de Valera who displayed it in his offices at Suffolk Place in Dublin. The subject is a bustling country fair and probably appealed to de Valera’s vision of Ireland.

    “The 24 x 36” work had never been on the market before, yet had been seen in a number of very prestigious exhibitions including “Images in Yeats” at Monte Carlo in 1990 and at  “The Moderns” at IMMA earlier this year.” A second painting by  Yeats – ‘The Dawn” – also featured in the sale and made 80,000.

    Adams managing director James O’Halloran said: “This picture was one of the largest and most valuable works by Yeats to appear on the market for many years and this evening’s result now proves that the market for Irish art is clearly here in Dublin, with Adam’s.

    See posts for September 19 and September 23.