Monthly Archives: November 2011

28 November 2011 – Important Irish Art – Prices Realised


Grossing over €800,000 this was a very successful sale. The top price was €75,000 for lot 28, Paul Henry Altan Lough, sold to an internet bidder. Other notable results were €72,000 for Jack Yeats Street in Shadow (lot 20), €29,000 for Gerard Dillon Girl on Beach (lot 35) €24,000 for Jim Fitzpatrick Strange Days (lot 65) and €23,000 for Sir John Lavery The House-tops Tangier. The following are prices at which lots were sold. Lots for which no prices are given were withdrawn and some may be available for sale by private treaty – enquiries welcome. “T” indicates a tie bid, sold to the first of two equal bids received. Lot 182 was withdrawn prior to auction. All prices exclude buyers’ commission and VAT. Errors and omissions excepted.

1          €3000

2          €5400

3          €5900

4          €4200

5          €5200

6          €2000

7          €2700

8          €1500

10        €2300

11        €4800

12        €24000

16        €1200

17        €570

19        €23000

20        €72000

22        €1900

24        €1000

25        €5800

27        €2000

28        €75000

30        €2200

31        €1150

35        €29000

38        €13000

39        €2000

41        €950

42        €2000

43        €5800

44        €3400

45        €2100

47        €2000

48        €1000

49        €1500

50        €2000

51        €2500

52        €2200

54        €550

55        €1900

56        €10000

57        €15000

59        €18000

60        €1800

61        €1300

62        €8000

64        €950

65        €24000

66        €1500

68        €750

69        €5200

70        €4000

72        €3000

75        €4200

76        €2200

77        €1450

78        €8000

80        €700

82        €1200

83        €850

84        €2100

85        €1500

87        €600

89        €2400

90        €1800

91        €800

92        €800

93        €4000

94        €4600

95        €1500

96        €1100

100      €1400

101      €600

102      €4000

103      €1400

104      €14000

106      €1500

107      €14000

108      €900

111      €2300

115      €3000

116      €1500

117      €1500

118      €1500

119      €1150

120      €8500

122      €500

123      €800

124      €650

126      €400

127      €800

128      €2500

129      €1000

130      €1900

133      €850

134      €700   

137      €800T

139      €2900

140      €700

141      €1050

142      €1600

143      €1000

144      €1250

145      €1000

146      €800

149      €650

151      €700

155      €2150

156      €400

157      €13000

158      €7500

160      €2500

162      €800

163      €1700

164      €1800

165      €1000

166      €4400

167      €1500

168      €1000

169      €3600

170      €6700

171      €1200

179      €5200

180      €950

181      €800

183      €1400

184      €1050

185      €1400

186      €850

188      €2000

189      €800

190      €1000

191      €1000

193      €800T

194      €2800

195      €1500

196      €1500

197      €1100

198      €1000

199      €1400

200      €1400

201      €2100

202      €6400

204      €4000

205      €3800

206      €4000

208      €1500

209      €3800

211      €1150

212      €1900

213      €800

216      €800

217      €2900

218      €1000

219      €800

220      €600

223      €1500

224      €750


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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.

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

Jack Butler Yeats, The Street in Shadow, 1932, Lot 20

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 A superbly produced and expertly researched catalogue will be available by post (€5 to Ireland and Britain) or download free at 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].

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Important Irish Art 28 November catalogue now available

Robert Ballagh, Inside No.3 After Modernism, 1982

Robert Ballagh, Inside No.3 After Modernism, 1982

Whyte’s Important Irish Art Catalogue for our 28 November Auction now available. Call into our Molesworth St. Offices form Monday 21 November to collect a copy.

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Now Inviting Consignments for Auctions in Spring 2012

6 MARCH 2012 – Irish & British Art at the RDS Ballsbridge. Closing 31 January 2012

25 MARCH 2012 History & Collectibles – closing for entries on 28 January

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