€2 MILLION EXPECTED FOR THE MOST VALUABLE IRISH PAINTING EVER OFFERED AT AUCTION
Whyte’s winter auction of Important Irish art promises to deliver another exciting opportunity for collectors to acquire rare artworks of outstanding quality and enduring value. On Monday 29 November 2021, at the RDS Dublin, 155 lots of Irish art will be offered for auction.
Whyte’s set new world records for Jack Yeats in an historic auction - held in association with Christie’s in 2019 - of the Ernie O’Malley Collection. Now Whyte’s is out to break their own records with what is billed as the most valuable Irish picture ever to come to auction.
Entitled ‘Shouting’ the very large 1951 canvas [lot 37] could make €2 million, or possibly more. At over 100 by 150cm it is the largest size canvas that Yeats ever painted. He created six of these, of which only two - of which this is one - are in private hands.
Ian Whyte says “this truly magnificent masterpiece by Ireland’s greatest artist is certainly one of his best ever works, and it is appropriate that we offer it for sale in this, his 150th Anniversary year. It is truly a Yeats painting of epic proportions and an Irish art trophy of significant national importance”.
Hilary Pyle, Yeats’ historian and compiler of Yeats’ Catalogue Raisonné calls it “one of the artist's finest achievements”.
Another Yeats scholar and writer, Dr Roisín Kennedy says, “This work, like Yeats’s other great paintings, evokes both a profound sense of optimism and an appreciation of the precariousness of the human condition”.
Yeats’ biographer, Bruce Arnold wrote: “Yeats makes the viewer aware of a larger vision, a greater sense of grand design and universal purpose”.
It is hoped that the painting will remain in Ireland where it has been since 1986. It was previously in a London collection from 1951. The painting was loaned to The University of Limerick for the past ten years. However Whyte’s have several interested parties outside the country. According to Ian Whyte, “Yeats was not just Ireland’s greatest painter, he was one of Europe’s greatest Expressionists, and rightfully attracts major collectors from outside Ireland and the Irish diaspora”.
While demand for Paul Henry’s work is stronger than ever, the same can also be said of his first wife Grace Henry, with a still life Marigolds selling for €8,000 in September against an estimate of €2,000-€3,000. Lot 34 is titled Fortune Teller (€5,000-€7,000). While in some respects one could argue that there are similarities between this subject and works by her husband - the stocky peasant figure, the blues and reds reminiscent of his Potato Diggers - there can be no denying that her depiction of this solitary female figure exudes a bolder, European influence in terms of style and composition. The work has an interesting provenance, coming from the collection of a fellow female artist, Letitia Marion Hamilton, whose works are also commanding high prices at present. A Cove on Lake Garda [Lot 27, €8,000-€12,000] dates to the early 1920s when the artist visited Italy. The works from this trip - especially her scenes of Venice and Lake Garda - are considered amongst her best, with her exploration of light effects, pastel shades, and strong outlines. The artist later employed these elements into her works on Irish landscapes. Hamilton came from a family of pioneering female artists, her great-grandmother Caroline Hamilton (1771-1861) was a celebrated artist, as was her sister Eva (1876-1960) and cousin, watercolourist Rose Barton RWS (1856-1929). An example from the latter, Carriages on a Street at Evening, 1894 is lot 24 [€4,000-€6,000] in the sale.
As is the fate of so many disciples of famous artists, Moila Powell's name will always be synonymous with that of her teacher, mentor and close friend, Norah McGuinness. Moila was the only pupil of Norah McGuinness and became a professional artist, establishing a long list of credits to her name with works exhibited at the Goupil Gallery and Wertheim Gallery, London, the Paris Salon, the Harborough Gallery in Leicestershire and the Duncalfe Galleries in Harrogate, Yorkshire. ‘Norah McGuinness Painting’ [lot 25, €1,000-€1,500] depicts her tutor painting en plein air. There are notable examples by other female artists such as Anne Primrose Jury, Estella Solomons, Evie Hone, Noreen Rice, as well as contemporary works from Helen Comerford, Patricia Burns, Mary Therese Keown and others. Another artist who has at times been overshadowed by her husband, is Anne Madden, widow of Louis le Brocquy. Deep Stream [lot 64, €10,000-€15,000], an impressive, large diptych was painted towards the end of Madden's Pompeii and Garden series (1980-1990) and is related to the Portal and Window series begun in 1982. Blue is a key colour in diptych, polyptych and triptych works from this time. Streams of light, pathways, and apertures predominate. Madden attended the Chelsea School of Arts and Crafts. She exhibited at the Irish Exhibition of Living Arts in 1964 and represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale in 1965.
An exceptional example by Belfast artist Daniel O’Neill, Bathers [€40,000-€60,000] is lot 40 in the sale. Professor Liam Kelly writes in the catalogue, ‘O’Neill was clearly attracted to the sea which often plays an atmospheric mood-setting role in many of his paintings. It may be noted that he lived in County Down for a period and painted Tyrella beach including The Black Rocks Of Tyrella, (late 1950s). Figures on a beach (single or in small groupings) allowed O'Neill to indulge in a more sensuous portrayal of the female figure. In Bathers the controlled orchestration of the variety of colours and forms contributes to the painting's classical elegance and repose and as such look more Venetian stylistically - a beautifully contrived moment out of time.’
In many ways 1960 was a seminal year for Patrick Scott. He was involved in two major international art events, representing Ireland at the Venice Biennale with a group of eighteen works, and participating along with four other Irish artists (Nano Reid, Louis le Brocquy, Dan O'Neill and Richard Kingston) in the invitation-only Guggenheim International Award in New York, where he won the National Award. Magnetic Field, 1960 [lot 45, €10,000-€15,000] was shown at the annual Irish Exhibition of Living Artists (IELA) where avant-garde Irish art was showcased from 1943 until the 1970s. A similar but much larger work sold earlier this year in Hill Auctions, Florida for $110,000.
Knuttel began exhibiting in the 1980s, at Hugh Charleton's Duke Street Gallery (later renamed The Apollo Gallery), and it was there his work attracted the attention of Sylvester Stallone who started to collect his work and through him Knuttel's work began to be hung in Hollywood mansions of Stallone's friends.
Watch out for… wonderful paintings by Tony O’Malley, Louis le Brocquy and William Crozier as well as works by Cecil Maguire, Ciaran Clear and Anthony Scott all of whom have enjoyed particular success at auction recently. Some delightful examples of Percy French’s work are on offer as well as a complete set of James Malton’s Picturesque and Descriptive View of the City of Dublin. For autograph hunters a rare copy of Thomas Bodkin’s Twelve Irish Artists is hand-signed by each of the artists featured. There are also works of quality by Sir John Lavery, Harry Kernoff, Arthur Armstrong, Barrie Cooke, Thomas Ryan, Peter Collis, James Brohan, Patrick Leonard, Liam O’Neill and many more.
Also during the early 1960s, Patrick Collins was undergoing a significant shift. Dublin Bay, 1963 [lot 46, €15,000-€20,000] demonstrates the artist’s move from a more expressionist style towards a calm, atmospheric evocation of space - a hallmark of his mature style. The impressively rugged-looking mounds of the trees dominate the dark foreground and partly obscure the distant north shore of the bay, sparkling with lights in the encroaching dusk, evident in the subtle grey halo that frames the composition. The work was also exhibited in IELA in 1963 and having been purchased at the Ritchie Hendriks Gallery a year later has been in the same private collection since.
John Shinnors studied at the Limerick School of Art and Design from 1970 to 1972. He has exhibited extensively in both solo and group shows since the 1980s including exhibitions in the Vangard Gallery, The Hunt Museum, and the RHA annual exhibitions. Towel and Snowman [lot 77, €25,000-€35,000] is a fine and typical example of his later work which is very popular with collectors of contemporary Irish art.
The brainchild of Louis Murray, a well-known Dublin nightclub owner and entrepreneur, La Stampa opened as a brasserie in 1990. The restaurant quickly became one of Dublin's most fashionable places to dine. In that same year Graham Knuttel met up with Louis Murray and came to an arrangement to display his paintings in La Stampa, where they were admired and purchased by many of the celebrities who wined and dined there. A collection of five works [lots 143-147] offered in the auction are from the walls of La Stampa, including Planet Hollywood [€10,000-€15,000] which depicts famous faces such as Sylvester Stallone and Bono on a sizeable 100 by 72in. canvas. La Stampa closed in 2007 and these works are colourful totems of the Celtic Tiger days of the mid-nineties to the mid-noughties.
Whyte’s and its staff are delighted to return to the RDS after a 21 month absence due to the COVID pandemic. All the artworks are on view at the RDS Hall 3, Anglesea Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Saturday 27 to Monday 29 November 10am to 5pm daily. The catalogue with full descriptions and insightful notes from art experts at www.whytes.ie. The auction will take place at 6pm at the RDS and 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.