Irish masterpieces in frame at James Adam and Whyte’s
What almost amounts to an embarrassment of the wealth of Irish art confronts collectors at upcoming sales at James Adam on June 1 and at Whyte’s on June 6.
The undisputed highlight of these sales are the two rediscovered masterpieces of 18th century Dublin Bay by William Ashford, displayed here last Saturday.
Eighteenth-century landscapes, such as these two views and A view of Liege by John Butts at the Crawford Gallery, are extremely rare and important. Ashford, the first president of the Royal Hibernian Academy, offers a glimpse of Dublin Bay when city and port were one, there was no coastal route to Clontarf and, in 1774-75 when these views were painted, the Drogheda railway embankment was almost 70 years in the future.
The paintings, which have been privately owned since they were attributed to Peter Monamy and sold at Christie’s in 1887, are estimated between €500,000 and €700,000.
There are 118 lots at Adam’s, and one of the most recent is by Hughie O’Donoghue Yellow Man II from 2008. His Yellow Man series is inspired by a Van Gogh self-portrait known only from photographs and thought lost in a fire. This is estimated between 40,000 and 60,000 €.
Another remarkable work of the 21st century is that of Barry Flanagan Horse on anvil (€20,000-€30,000). Best known for his sculptural hares displayed around O’Connell St during his Dublin retrospective in 2006, Flanagan is also famous for his sculpted horses, cougars and elephants.
There are prominent horse sculptures in Cambridge and Montreal. The Skibbereen Bridge (1919) and The bent heart (1943) by Jack Butler Yeats are estimated at €400,000-600,000 and €250,000-350,000 respectively.
by Gerard Dillon In front of Innislacken (€60,000-€80,000) dates from around 1951, while that of Tony O’Malley Arrieta-Orzola (Lanzarote) from 1988 is estimated between €25,000 and €35,000.
Sunrise, a vast woodland landscape with fishermen by George Barret (€100,000-€150,000) is described by Adams as a masterpiece of 18th-century Irish art. Chiswick Baths by Sir John Lavery is estimated between €80,000 and €120,000.
Adam’s sale, which includes a 1916 copy of The Proclamation (€150,000 – €200,000), can be viewed in St Stephen’s Green today and daily until next Wednesday at 4pm and online. The sale begins Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Viewing of Whyte’s sale of 156 lots of Irish and International Art at RDS Monday Week (June 6) begins next Saturday. The catalog is online.
Among the Yeats is a particularly tender oil. The Gang’s Little Sister (Fitzwilliam Square) (1944) (€150,000-€200,000) shows one of the boys holding hands and attentively tending to a much younger yellow-haired girl. The Yeats is very distinctive and immediately identifiable.
Patrick Heron Emerald with Reds and Cerulean (1977) (€150,000-€200,000) is the opposite. The two works exemplify the very different styles of art offered by Whyte’s, ranging from a Untitled 1977 Tuft Wall Hanging from Patrick Scott (€15,000 – €20,000) to A fair in Goresbridge, Co Kilkenny, by Peter Curling (€30,000-€40,000).
Patrick Scott’s work was commissioned by McGarry Ni Eanaigh for the S3 Building in Leopardstown in 1997 and it was produced by V’Soske Joyce of Oughterard. All proceeds from the sale of this lot will be donated to the Irish Red Cross Ukraine Appeal Courtesy of S3 Connected Health and Whyte’s.
There’s also an unusual four-part portrait of Penelope Collins, daughter of artist Patrick Collins, by Basil Blackshaw (€10,000-€15,000) among an exciting collection of art and sculpture at Whyte’s.
The catalog cover lot is Fair Day, Westport, Co Mayo, c1943 by Lillian Lucy Davidson (€20,000 – €30,000).
We just have to wait and see if the incredibly buoyant global art market – which generated sales of more than $2 billion at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips in New York this month – will be reflected also on the home front.
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