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    Saturday, September 5th, 2020

    INTERNATIONAL interest in the Irish art market will be tested at Sotheby’s Irish art sale in London on September 9. This auction of 60 lots features a roll call of the most beloved and esteemed names in the field. The  pre-sale estimate of £3.2 million makes it the highest value auction since Sotheby’s re-introduced dedicated sales of Irish art in 2015. More than 1,000 people attended three and a half days of viewing at the RHA Gallery in Dublin.  The sale is distinguished by 18 works from the collection of Sir Michael Smurfit and some of these have been displayed at the K Club in Co. Kildare.
    Arabella Bishop, head of Sotheby’s Ireland, remarked: “It is a market that was catapulted onto the global platform in the 1990’s by advocates such as Sir Michael, who has played a key role in bestowing Irish artists with the reputation they deserved and still deserve today.”  Sotheby’s hope that this sale will appeal to and excite collectors worldwide.   Sir Michael Smurfit’s passion for Irish artists like Yeats, Lavery and Orpen is reflected in a number of significant works by these figures.   The collection is distinguished further by one of le Brocquy’s most significant works, Travelling Woman with Newspaper (£700,000-£1,000,000) and William Conor’s depiction of The Dublin Horse Show (£80,000-£120,000).The sale opens with twelve works from the Yeats family including sketches by John Butler Yeats and Jack B. Yeats.  Lot 10, Three Girls listening to music by the former, created significant interest at the Dublin view. It is estimated at £4,000-£6,000.  Many other works have emerged from long held private collections including Houses by the Sea (£50,000-£70,000) and Kerry Fisherman (£70,000-£100,000), both by Jack B. Yeats and Tory Island (£18,000-£25,000) and The Dreamer (£100,000-£150,000) both by Gerard Dillon.  Artists like Sir John Lavery and William Scott have a significant international following.  Lavery’s Tennis under the orange trees, Cannes (£300,000-£500,000) and Poem for a Jug, No. 23 (£70,000-£100,000) are both certain to perform well at this sale.The selection on offer is completed by artists and sculptors like Tony O’Malley, Peter Curling, John Kingerlee, Patrick O’Reilly, John Behan, Elizabeth Magill and Mainie Jellett.  Sotheby’s will offer over 50 items from the collection of Sir Michael Smurfit at various auctions over the coming year.

    UPDATE: Travelling Woman with Newspaper and The Dublin Horse show failed to sell. Works from the Yeats family collection all sold. The Dreamer by Gerard Dillon made £378,000 and Kerry Fisherman made £81,500.

     A portrait of WB Yeats by Augustus John from the Smurfit Collection (£70,000-£100,000). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £88,200


    Saturday, August 29th, 2020

    This painting of a Kerry Fisherman by Jack B. Yeats has been in a private family collection in Canada for over fifty years. It comes up at Sotheby’s annual Irish Art sale in London on September 9 with an estimate of £70,000-£100,000.  Dating to the late 1920’s Sotheby’s say it has not been at auction before.  The strong features and confident stance offer a heroic figure,  Yeats’s wonder and admiration for such figures was instilled in him during a childhood near the quays of Sligo.  The work anticipates the looser brushwork and dissolving forms of his later work. The sale, which includes 18 works from the collection of Sir Michael Smurfit, is on view by appointment only at the RHA in Dublin from 10 am to 5 pm today and from 10 am to 3 pm tomorrow. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £81,900


    Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

    A first edition of The Crescent Moon, a 1913 book by the world renowned Bengali Poet Tagore Rabindranath Tagore with an introduction by the Irish poet W. B. Yeats, comes up at Fonsie Mealy’s summer collectors sale online until July 15. They met in 1912 and Yeats was instrumental in promoting Tagore to western audiences. Song Offerings was published by MacMillan and Co. and the book is estimated at 100-150.


    Sunday, March 8th, 2020

    Some of the most celebrated Irish artists including Yeats, le Brocquy, Paul Henry, Tony O’Malley, Barrie Cooke, Nathanial Hone, Donald Teskey and many more feature at the evening sale of Irish and International art by Whyte’s in Dublin on March 9. There is a selection of American artists from the defunct Anglo Irish Bank collection, a print from a box set by Banksy and Mastiff from the renowned Polish artist Tadeusz Brzozowski (1918-1987).  The catalogue is online.

    UPDATE: Mastiff by Polish artist Tadeusz Brzozwski was the top lot of the sale. It made 190,000 at hammer. This price equals the world record set in 2017 by Desa Unicom in Warsaw. Rusty Gates by Jack B. Yeats made 120,000 and The Bog Road by Paul Henry made 54,000. The auction grossed €1.1 million with 82% of lots sold.

    Wedding at Joy St., Belfast c1923 by William Conor. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Sunday, March 1st, 2020

    Art auctioneers Whyte’s, who enjoyed a record breaking year in 2019, will kick off their 2020 art selling season on March 9.  The evening sale of Irish and International Art at the RDS in Dublin includes works by Yeats, Paul Henry, William Conor, Beatrice Glenavy, William Sadler, Nathaniel Hone the elder, Louis le Brocquy, Tony O’Malley, Donald Teskey, Barrie Cooke and many more. Whyte’s results in 2019 were aided in no small part by the record breaking November sale of the Ernie O’Malley Collection at which two works by Yeats soared past the million euro barrier.  A 1948 Yeats, Rusty Gates, is the most expensively estimated lot in this upcoming sale with an estimate of €100,000-150,000.  It depicts two elderly gentleman standing before a gateway in a high stone wall in a setting reminiscent of Co. Wicklow with a Sugar Loaf like mountain in the background.The first ROSC exhibition in Dublin at the RDS in 1967 was built around 50 of the “best” living artists at that time and included Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso.  Among those exhibiting was Polish artist Tadeusz Brzozowski (1918-1987).  His work Mastiff from that show returns to the RDS to go under the hammer as Lot 53 with an estimate of €80,000-100,000.  The Bog Road by Paul Henry dates to 1917-1923 and is estimated at €50,000-70,000, Stage Girls by Daniel O’Neill is estimated at €30,000-50,000 and works by Sir John Lavery include two portraits and a painting of two cigarette girls in Seville in colourful costume.  There is art by Gerard Dillon, Colin Middleton and George Campbell and Reclining Woman by Roderic O’Conor is estimated at €15,000-20,000. Large oils by John Shinnors and Donald Teskey, Sculptor’s Scarecrow and Coastal Report II are each estimated at €10,000-15,000, Mayo Summer by Tony O’Malley is estimated at €15,000-20,000, Rakaia Gorge I by Barrie Cooke is estimated at €6,000-8,000 as is  an Aubusson tapestry from the 1970’s by Patrick Scott.The Embarkation of King George IV at Kingstown 1821 by William Sadler II is full of minute detail recording the historic visit to Ireland by the British monarch. The King arrived drunk and suspicions persisted that the main purpose of the trip was to visit his mistress, Lady Conyngham at Slane Castle.  The visit was presented as a success and Lot 98 is estimated at €12,000-18,000.There are 200 lots on the catalogue, which is online.

    Rakaia Gorge I by Barrie Cooke  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    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 . UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £225,000


    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