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    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.


    Monday, September 19th, 2011

    JACK B YEATS RHA (1871-1957), A Fair Day, Mayo. (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR ONE MILLION EURO.

    THIS 1925 oil by Jack B. Yeats, once lent by the artist to Éamon De Valera for his office in Suffolk Place, Dublin, is the top lot at the James Adam art auction in Dublin on Wednesday, September 28 at 6 p.m.  A Fair Day, Mayo last changed hands in 1944 when it was purchased at the Dawson Gallery for £250. The work is estimated at 500,000-800,000 now.

    In 1944 it was bought by J.P. Reihill senior, then resident at Deepwell in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. It has been in the Reihill family ever since. It has featured in a number of exhibitions, most notably Images of Yeats in Monte Carlo in 1990. Altogether there are 212 lots in the Adams sale.


    UPDATE:  This made one million euro at hammer to become the highest priced painting ever sold at auction in Ireland.


    Friday, July 8th, 2011

    Letters from Theodore Roosevelt at Mealy's book sale. (Click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,800

    US President Theodore Roosevelt and Irish poet William Butler Yeats are among the personalities to feature at a Mealy’s sale in Dublin on July 19. An archive of Yeats letters and a presidential correspondence  are among outstanding items in the 670 lot auction of the Fred Hanna Collection at the D4 Hotel.
    The Yeats archive comprises 13 letters and cards mostly from 1898 to journalist and former MP Thomas Gill.  T.P. Gill (1858 – 1931), from Co. Tipperary was an Irish Party M.P. 1885 – 1892. He resigned after failing to heal the breach over Parnell. In August 1898 he became editor of the Dublin Daily Express, with a brief to expand its arts coverage. Until he lost the job in Sept. 1899 he had considerable powers of artistic patronage, and so was of great interest to Yeats, and his literary colleagues. In 1900 Gill became Secretary of the Dept. of Agriculture and Technical Instruction in Dublin, another influential post which he held for 20 years.

    The Yeats Archive at Mealy's book sale. (Click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: THIS LOT WAS WITHDRAWN.

    The letters show how, in 1899, Gill was consulted  over a disagreement with Edward Martyn over the theological soundness of ‘The Countess Cathleen’ (a verse drama by Yeats dedicated to Maud Gonne). In a letter of May 22 of that year Yeats suggests that the Express might quote Max Beerbohm’s comments on the play. In a 1900 note Yeats says he thinks George Moore would accept a seat in Parliament, ‘if he had a definite offer of a seat without a contest.’ An unsigned typescript letter to Yeats, probably from Gill, advises him to go ahead with ‘The Countess Cathleen’ and to pay no heed to the theologians.  The correspondence is estimated at 8,000-14,000.
    Lot 495 is a correspondence from Theordore Roosevelt to T.P. Gill, with whom there is apparently a family connection.  It includes a typescript signed letter on White House headed paper from Roosevelt to Gill, Sept. 1903, thanking him for sending the ‘Cucullain Saga.’ ‘I had ordered it myself and have now cancelled the order and have ordered Douglas Hyde’s “A Literary History of Ireland”. There is a presidential Visiting Card inscribed by Roosevelt  ‘With hearty thanks for your congratulations’ addressed to T.P. Gill, Department of Agriculture, Dublin.
    A typed signed letter from Roosevelt (in London) to Gill, 28 May 1910 confirms arrangements for a meeting, ‘It is as you know, the most difficult thing in the world for me to get any time for myself. But come in at 5.30 on Thursday next .. and I will do my best.’  There is banquet programme for Eighth Annual Banquet of New York Society of the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America, April, 29, 1904 and a collection of  Presidential documents and memorabilia.  The estimate for the correspondence is 2,000-3,000.
    The catalogue for the sale is on-line at


    Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

    Roundabout Ponies by Jack B. Yeats. (click to enlarge) IT SOLD FOR £5,760

    The last sketch by Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) has been consigned by the family of his former nurse to Bonhams first Irish art sale in London on February 9 next.  The pen and ink drawing, `Roundabout ponies’, measures just over 5 x 4 inches and is estimated at £1,500-2,000.

    It was gifted by the artist to the matron of Portobello Nursing Home in Dublin, where he died. They had been friends for a long time.
    Yeats Catalogue Raisonne author Hilary Pyle says of it: “He died on 28 March 1957. His last drawing, a tiny gay swirling sketch of two roundabout ponies on writing paper, was drawn two days before.”

    Penny Day, head of Irish art at Bonhams, said:  ”This little gem exhibits the unique artistic vitality he had right to the end.”
    See posts on for September 15 and December 22.


    Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

    Lingering Sun, O'Connell Bridge, Dublin by Jack B. Yeats at Adams on December 6. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE 140,000

    Jack Yeats’ Lingering Sun, O’Connell Bridge, Dublin, once in the collection of film director John Huston, features at Adams sale of Important Irish Art in Dublin on December 6.  Set along the quays in the centre of Dublin in the 1920’s it is a significant work from the artists mature style.

    Huston, an avid art collector whose great grandfather had emigrated from Co. Armagh in 1840, returned in 1952. He finally settled in St. Cleran’s House, Co. Galway for over 18 years.  He brought Marlon Brando to Ireland and shot Moby Dick in Youghal with Gregory Peck. John Huston owned Ireland’s first Monet and a Juan Gris. He bought the work of many Irish artists, but Yeats reflected his feelings for this country. He was forced to sell most of his collection before his death.
    This painting is estimated at 150,000-250,000.
    UDATE:  This was the top lot in sale which realised 1.53 million and where 80 per cent of lots found buyers.  It made 140,000.


    Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

    A horseman enters a town at night by Jack B. Yeats, owned by the novelist Graham Greene, will feature at Christie's sale of British and Irish art in London on November 11. UPDATE: IT MADE £349,250 AND WAS SOLD TO A EUROPEAN PRIVATE BUYER.

    The Christie’s sale of British and Irish art at King St. in London on November 11 features two works

    Man in a room thinking by Jack B. Yeats from the Christie's sale in London on November 11. UPDATE: IT MADE 77,560 Euro

    by Jack B. Yeats from the collection of the novelist Graham Greene. The estimate for A horseman enters a town at night is, at £300,00-£500,000, perhaps a little on the ambitious side.  It is a dark work painted in 1948, the year after the death of the artists wife Cottie.  A horseman enters a town at night shows a weary traveller, slumped on his steed, walking through an empty street perhaps in search of an inn before continuing his journey in the morning. It was sold through Leo Smith in 1949 to Graham Greene in Paris.

    The second Yeats work in the sale, Man in a Room Thinking, dates from 1947. It is estimated at £30,000-£50,000.  According to a note in Christie’s catalogue the Model Museum, Sligo, requests that the purchaser of this work allow its inclusion in a major exhibition of the artist’s work to take place between February and April 2011.

    The 143 lot sale, headlined by works by L.S. Lowry, a much loved British artist whose parents were Irish, features works by Augustus John, William Scott, Sean Scully, Markey Robinson, Sir John Lavery and George Campbell.

    The sale realised £9,897,625 and was 93% sold by value and 79% sold by lot.  The top lot was a 1928 work by L.S. Lowry which realised £713,250.