With works of enduring value and historical importance Whyte’s 28 November sale of Important Irish Art offers over 220 examples by some of the most renowned names in Irish Art over the past 100 years some of which reflect significant and profound personal, historical and cultural changes.
A SELF PORTRAIT OF JACK B. YEATS & HIS WIFE COTTIE
The Street In Shadow, 1932 [lot 20, estimated at €50,000-€70,000] by Jack B. Yeats shows the artist accompanied by his wife, Cottie, standing on O’Connell Street in the shade of the GPO, looking directly out at the viewer. Their pose is silhouetted against two of the city’s most famous landmarks, the distinctive Clerys department store and spiralling Nelson’s Pillar and is reminiscent of the kind of portrait snapshot taken by on-street photographers, a familiar feature of O’Connell Street until relatively recently. This oil is a daring example from the artist’s oeuvre with delightfully exaggerated colours and ebullient paint application which create movement and excitement in the work. Yeats saw this energy as parallel to the vitality of nature, in this case the capital city, which for him was a familiar and accessible space where he could observe the interaction of different social groups and types. When it was exhibited at the Leger Galleries in 1932 it attracted a great deal of critical interest with the London press praising Yeats’ work for its unity of purpose and joyousness of colour and craftsmanship.
An early example in watercolour by Yeats can be found in lot 12, A Young Man’s Troubles, 1900, estimated at €20,000-€30,000. Purchased by the famed art collector John Quinn – then Chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Museum and a great supporter of European modernists – this view depicts a shop interior in a Connaught town with a sad-faced young man brooding at a bar counter with emigration notices pasted on the walls around him, a topical subject in the current climate.
Jack Butler Yeats, The Street in Shadow, 1932, Lot 20
RECORDS OF DUBLIN, THE WEST & RARELY SEEN VIEWS OF PARIS
Rare watercolours of Dublin’s Baggot Street, Killarney Co. Kerry and the French Capital, purchased by the current owner from Harry Kernoff at his studio in 13 Stamer Street, Dublin in the 1970s, are minutely detailed records of lost streetscapes from the artist’s travels in the 1930s and 40s. Catalogued as Lots 1-11 they are keenly estimated between €1,500- €4,000. Each contain the artist’s ubiquitous lively figures and animals and show forgotten shop fronts of places like Cronin’s, off Bagott street, Moriarty’s Drapers and The Handy Shop, Killarney and houses on Foynes Island, Limerick. The Parisian scenes show the artistic centres Kernoff visited in the 1930s including, Canal Jean-Jaurès, Rue de Seine and the area of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Jardin du Luxembourg.
LOUGH ALTAN, DONEGAL THROUGH HENRY’S EYES
Paul Henry will charm bidders with his enduring view of Donegal’s Lough Altan, or ‘Lake of the Hillock’. Estimated at €40,000-€50,000 and lot 28 in the forthcoming sale, this work exudes all the qualities which make the artist so sought after; a dramatic execution, bold use of strong colours and a masterful handling of light. Henry and his elder brother Bob holidayed in the area which he visited a number of times during his career staying at the McFadden’s Hotel in Gortahork in the late 1920s. The foremost expert on Henry, Dr SB Kennedy, dates the work to c.1933-4 on stylistic grounds and draws comparisons with a similar earlier example in the prestigious collection of Allied Irish Bank. A beautiful Wicklow landscape where Paul Henry and his second wife, Mabel Young, lived is also offered in the sale, lot 26 estimated at €1,000-€1,500.
IRISH FREE STATE BACON
Seán Keating played a crucial role in shaping the identity of the Irish Free State. Lot 15, Irish Free State Bacon, 1928, estimated at €15,000-€20,000 demonstrates the artist’s responsibility with a commission for an advertisement poster from The British Empire Marketing Board (EMB) to promote the sale of Irish produce from the newly formed State. The existence of this original design is exceptionally rare and is a remarkable surviving example from the artist’s extensive body of work in this ephemeral genre. Unlike previous renderings of Ireland, with green rolling hills, shamrocks, shillelaghs and white thatched cottages, here Keating shows a peaceful and prosperous peasantry within a well maintained farmyard, which refutes the age-old vision of misery and deprivation in Ireland of the 1920s.
BALLAGH’S MASTERPIECE FROM 1982
Lot 58, Inside No.3 After Modernisation, 1982, estimated at €50,000-€70,000 is a large landmark work by Robert Ballagh. From a series of “No. 3 Paintings” referring to the artist’s home/studio address in Temple Cottages, near The Four Courts, this bold canvas is a visual pun on the situation of contemporary art after Modernism. It shows Ballagh seated at a table in his home amid a plethora of artistic styles from abstract expressionism, punk, Cubism to Art Deco among others. It relates the idea of modernising a home to the whole concept of post-Modernism. The plurality of styles reflecting a satire on the reality artists experiencing in the 1980s: no longer under the pressure to fit in with any particular ‘ism’ they could draw on all sorts of different influences to make images they considered relevant.
A number of other works by Ballagh come from the collection of Druids Glen Resort. These were commissioned by the founder of the famous golf course and hotel, Hugo Flinn, who had a passionate interest in modern Irish history, and include portraits of the 1916 Rising leaders (Lot 59) and of one of Northern Ireland’s most famous activists, Bernadette Devlin McAliskey (Lot 62). A series of watercolours of the famous golf course (Lot 64) are also on offer.
VALUE FOR MONEY – IT’S A BUYER’S MARKET
Three exceptional examples of value in the current market are offered in works that have been priced keenly to sell to today’s collector. The first, Sir John Lavery’s exotic The House-Tops, Tangier, 1912 [lot 19] guiding €20,000-€25,000. This scene depicts rooftops at dusk in the ‘White City’ in 1891 and is an example of his skill at en plein air painting. In 1917 Lavery donated it to the Belfast Red Cross Fund, most likely at the instigation of his glamorous wife Hazel who was then heavily involved with war charity work. The second and third works are by Louis le Brocquy. Lot 43A Reconstructed Head of a Young Woman, 1968 is an early example of the artist’s preoccupation with the head. His later series on this subject, which featured well-known arts and literary figures such as Bacon, Joyce, Beckett and Bono, sent the art market into frenzy with the demand for these iconic images driving prices through the roof. Lot 29, Tinker Children at a Fair, 1946 is an early watercolour from le Brocquy’s important and distinct Tinker Period which celebrated the Irish travelling community within a wider re-discovery in “primitive” cultures. Works from this era can be found in the National Gallery of Ireland. Now, with a more modest pocket but equal tastes, these leading examples offer bidders an opportunity to buy works which mark the genesis of this master’s legacy. These tour de force works in oil and watercolour are sure to secure interest from shrewd collectors looking for tangible investments; Reconstructed Head is Estimated at €50,000-€70,000 and Children at a Fair at €20,000-€25,000
RARE PICTURE OF OLD-WORLD PRACTICES IN THE WEST
Lot 107, The Return From The Seal-Hunt, 1881 by William H. Bartlett, estimated at €8,000-€12,000, is a magnificent example showing the lost tradition of seal fishing in the west of Ireland. Seal hunting was commonplace in 19th century Ireland and earlier when their skins made excellent coats and waistcoats as well as floats for fishing net and for covering boats. The hunting was dangerous and difficult as Tomás Ó Criomhthainn recounted in his book, An tOileánach (The Islandman). The hunters on the Blasket Islands would often have to swim into caves in pursuit of their quarry. Bartlett himself recounts in graphic detail how the inhabitants of Connemara tracked the seals in parties by boat and on foot to uninhabited islands off the mainland for their prized oil which was said to be ‘grand for rheumatics’. This oil painting, exhibited in the Royal Academy in London in 1881 was a superior work within the artist’s oeuvre, the only example he showed at the Academy that year.
OLD AND NEW MASTERS
Some other artists within the sale which will delight bidders include watercolours by JW Carey and Percy French, landscapes by James Humbert Craig, Eva Hamilton and George Gillespie and well as work by William Orpen and Walter Osborne. The more contemporary styles of Gerard Dillon, Camille Souter, Cecil King, Basil Blackshaw are also present, while, names such as Pauline Bewick, Patrick Leonard, Markey Robinson, Neil Shawcross, Brian Ballard, Graham Knuttel and Gladys Maccabe and sculpture from Melanie le Brocquy, John Coen and Seamus Murphy are sure to attract bidders.
Viewing for this auction will be at the RDS Clyde Hall, off Anglesea Road, Ballsbridge from Saturday to Monday, 26-28 November 10am to 6pm daily. The auction will take place in the same venue on Monday 28 November at 6pm, and will be broadcast live at www.whytes.ie A superbly produced and expertly researched catalogue will be available by post (€5 to Ireland and Britain) or download free at www.whytes.ie prior to the sale.
Further information from Ian Whyte or Adelle Hughes – Tel: (01) 676 2888 or 087 2323214. [Please note: High resolution colour or b&w scans can be supplied on CD as JPEG or TIFF format files in either RGB or CMYK mode. Please indicate which ones you want, the format and mode required, the address and contact and we will deliver].