€1 MILLON IRISH & INTERNATIONAL ART TO BE AUCTIONED ON 7 MARCH
Whyte’s spring auction of Irish & International art promises to deliver another exciting opportunity for collectors to acquire rare artworks of outstanding quality and enduring value. On Monday 7 March 2022 146 lots of Irish & International art will be offered for auction.
One popular name at auction recently is North County Dublin artist Ciarán Clear. Two works offered at Whyte’s in September and November sold for €7,500 (estimate €2,500-€3,500) and €6,600 (estimate €3,000-€5,000) respectively. The artist is best known for dramatic moonlight scenes of his native Rush and of Connemara. He was a founding member of the Fingal Artists Group in 1963, which included Maurice MacGonigal, Fergus O'Ryan, Bea Orpen, Patrick Leonard and Tom Nisbet. Together they held exhibitions throughout Ireland in a bid to make art more accessible to wider audiences. His first solo exhibition took place at the Goodwin gallery in Limerick and his last with Gerald Davis in Dublin in 1999. His work was part of the painting event in the art competition at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. The sale opens with five examples from the artist including The Night Tide guiding at €3,500-€4,500 and Donegal Nocturne guiding at €2,500-€3,500.
In November 2021, Whyte’s set the world record for a Grace Henry painting sold at auction when The Fortune Teller fetched €37,000 against an estimate of €5,000-€7,000. With interest in the artist at an all-time high, there are two very different but striking examples from the artist on offer on 7 March. Similar to The Fortune Teller, Woman in Train on Way to Market, Glens of Antrim (lot 47, €6,000-€8,000) depicts a solitary figure going about her daily business. At an attractive estimate compared to recent prices this work is sure to pique bidder’s interests. Lot 48, Fair Day, Connemara (€15,000-€20,000) depicts a busier scene and the influence of the artist’s husband Paul can be seen in the cottages and blue mountains beyond.
Another solitary figure is depicted in Daniel O’Neill’s striking work Girl With a Tambourine (lot 56, €30,000-€50,000). In the catalogue note Professor Liam Kelly writes ‘Portraits of women constitute a sub-theme in the oeuvre of Dan O'Neill whether mother, wife, lover, muse with the penumbra of 'Madonna' often filtering through his imagery. With Girl with a Tambourine we have an almost full length portrait in which the subject's face demurely looks out with 'Picasso' eyes, cast a little downwards. Her face is partly in light and partly in shade. Light always plays an important role in O'Neill's painting. Girl with a Tambourine is a fine example of O'Neill's purposeful exuberant use of paint and the romantic leanings of the artist. The work was previously purchased at auction in 2006 for €42,000.
The American market was an important platform and lucrative revenue stream for Patrick Hennessy. His relationship with the prestigious Guildhall Galleries on Michigan Boulevard, Chicago began in 1966. The Killarney Boy (lot 58, €12,000-€18,000) bears a label from the Chicago based Gallery and is one of a small number of Kerry paintings by Hennessy to have appeared at auction. The Killarney Boy, uses a device typical of the artist, placing a figure of a young man in the foreground of a rural setting. The adolescent gazes out from the canvas, a woolen jumper knotted across a white, neatly buttoned shirt. He appears in the landscape without being part of it a recurring theme in Hennessy's oeuvre.
“THE MOST PAINTABLE - NOT TO SAY THE BEST DRESSED - ENGLISHMAN I KNEW…”
This is how Sir John Lavery recalled Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale [lot 22, €25,000-€40,000]. In 1929 Lavery was commission by the city of Doncaster to paint a large portrait of the “The Yellow Earl” to hang in its Mansion House. A ‘state portrait’ followed a set of conventions which focused chiefly on status and power rather than personality. This work - an oil sketch for the commission, now in the Doncaster Museum - marries these requirements with a lively rendering of a true character. In his face, marked by years in the boxing ring, Lavery’s gift for translating personality into paint comes to the fore.
The Earl was not expected to inherit the title and in his youth had to be rescued from unwise entanglements by his family - he ran away from Eton to join the circus, and then sold his inheritance to invest in a cattle ranch in Wyoming which failed and later he disgraced himself by having an affair with an actress. In his later years he settled down to enjoy himself in sporting activities, becoming first President of the National Sporting Club, then inaugurating the Lonsdale Belt for boxing in 1909 and becoming a Senior Steward at the Jockey Club. Later he chaired both the Automobile Association and Arsenal Football Club. Lonsdale’s name was immortalised in 1959 when it was used for a range of boxing equipment and clothing, further cementing the Earl’s name to the sport to this day. Lot 22 was an essential and important work in terms of recording detail required in the Earl’s regalia. As is often the case, works of this type have a freshness and spontaneity which grand manner productions sometimes lack.
Roderic O’Conor is represented in the sale with A Breton Interior (lot 21, €40,000-€60,000, illustrated above, left) while there is a delightful oil sketch of Galway by Walter Osborne estimated at €15,000-€20,000 (lot 20, illustrated above, right). The work comes from the collection of Nelly O’Brien, once of 123 Stephen’s Green. O'Brien was born Ellen Lucy O'Brien on 4 June 1864, at Cahermoyle, County Limerick. Her siblings were Lucy and Dermod, with Dermod also becoming an artist. O'Brien's grandfather was William Smith O'Brien. She attended school in England from 1879, and later enrolled to study painting at the Slade School of Art. O'Brien met Walter Osborne through her brother Dermod, and considered herself engaged to him, but Osborne died in 1903. A portrait of O'Brien by Osborne is held in the Hugh Lane Gallery.
This sale includes a fascinating selection of art from the collection of Lady Augusta Gregory, friend of the talented Yeats family and co-founder with W.B. of The Abbey Theatre. These include works by John Butler Yeats, Jack Butler Yeats – including one of his brother William swimming in the lake at Coole Park (illustrated right, lot 36, €2,000-€3,000) – George Russell, another regular house guest, and her son Robert Gregory, subject of W.B. Yeats poem An Irish Airman Foresees His Death.
Watch out for… notable works by John Shinnors, Colin Middleton, Neville Johnson, George Campbell, Patrick Scott, and Louis le Brocquy. Auction favourites include Arthur Maderson, Cecil Maguire, Peter Collis and a number of examples from Mark O’Neill, Patrick Leonard and Markey Robinson. Aidan Harte was in the news recently when his public sculpture depicting the Púca was rejected by the town of Ennistymon. His less controversial but equally distinguishable Rooster is lot 96 guiding at €3,000-€5,000. Other sculpture includes works by Michael Foely, Rory Breslin and three stoneware pieces by Nigerian potter Ladi Kwali, purchased from her studio in the 1970s.
All the artworks are on display with full descriptions and several with insightful notes from art experts at www.whytes.ie. The auction will be broadcast live on the internet at bid.whytes.ie, invaluable.com, auctionzip.com, encheres.lefigaro.fr; collectors around the world can bid live from their computers, smart TV’s, mobile phones or android devices. There is no extra charge for bidding on-line.