Whyte’s glorious summer art auction delivers over 120 outstanding works by the most desirable Irish & International artists valued at €1.8m
This May Whyte’s presents a carefully curated 122 lots showcasing the very best in Irish and International art to collectors in Ireland and around the globe.
A trio of magnificent works in oil by Jack Butler Yeats will command the attention of bidders this month, particularly those interested in the later works of the artist. The first and largest example – in both size (24 by 36in) and estimate – is lot 23, Glory to the Brave Singer, 1950 (guide €300,000-€400,000) (illustrated above). This late, visionary work depicts a woman reclining in a landscape pointing towards a songbird. Yeats expert Dr Róisín Kennedy describes it as “…a highly romantic work, part of a series of Yeats’ later paintings that portray the enduring beauty of nature and its power over humanity… it has rarely been seen in public since becoming part of a private collection in 1971. It belongs firmly with the other great epic paintings of Yeats’ late work.”
The two other oil paintings by Jack Yeats are lot 26, Justice 1946 (€150,000-200,000) and lot 29, The Waterfall Gate, 1944 (€70,000-90,000).
Museum Worthy: Le Loing at Sundown, c.1902 (lot 15, €200,000-300,000) by Roderic O’Conor
In autumn 1902 O’Conor revisited Montigny, a small town on the edge of the forest of Fontainebleau, and it was here that he captured the mysterious half light with the sun sitting low on the horizon. O’Conor author Jonathan Benington describes how the works executed at this time were “…characterised by a highly painterly handling of the oil medium, from translucent stains to textured scumblings and thicker calligraphic strokes.” He continues, “…Whilst this radical technique would have shocked many in 1902, its derivation can be traced back to the artist’s precocious allegiances with Van Gogh (via his brother Theo) and Gauguin (via personal friendship) in the early 1890s.”
Another sale highlight where nature plays the leading role is lot 20, Turf Bog, c.1930-40 (€70,000-90,000) by Paul Henry, illustrated right. It depicts a moody Irish sky of thick cumulous clouds above a bog landscape. It was paintings such as this one that came to represent Ireland to a global audience from the 1930s onwards.
Watercolours by Louis le Brocquy of three giants of the literary world - W.B. Yeats (lot 42, €12,000-18,000), Federico García Lorca (lot 43, €8,000-12,000) and Seamus Heaney – are included in this sale. The top lot by value is Image of Seamus Heaney, 1992 (lot 41, €20,000-30,000, illustrated above). Heaney himself described the le Brocquy’s portrait of poets as ‘an image that has seized hold of the eye and will not let it go’. Art critic Aidan Dunne notes in the catalogue that this is “…a fitting description of the artist’s study of Heaney himself, dreamy and ethereal.” Those collectors interested in le Brocquy’s early works from the Presences period will be delighted with the inclusion of Man, 1956 (lot 40, €15,000-20,000).
The late Camille Souter is represented in Whyte’s sale with two works from the 1960s. She too represented Ireland on the international stage. Pregnancy, 1968 (lot 36, €20,000-30,000) was shown in 1971 at ROSC - an international exhibition of modern art in Dublin - in the company of works by household names such as Jasper Johns, René Magritte, Niki de Saint Phalle, Mark Rothko among others. Lot 38, Pelting Rain Near Ashford, Co. Wicklow, 1966 – also by Souter - guides €12,000-18,000.
A magnificent, large oil on board (48 by 24in) by Tony O’Malley titled Summer Breeze, Callan, Co. Kilkenny (lot 55 , €15,000-20,000) was painted in 1981 and marries two important components in his ouevre, the influence of his native Callan and the light and palette of the Bahamas where he visited from the mid-1970s. Another, earlier Kilkenny work in watercolour guides a more modest €5,000-7,000.
Another striking contemporary work can be found in John Shinnors’ Back to the Lighthouse, Lighthouse No. 5, 2008 (lot 70, €8,000-12,000).
Perhaps one of the most recognised names in art history, Andy Warhol, leads the international dimension of Whyte’s auction with his portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong, lot 45 Mao (F & S II.92), 1972 €35,000-45,000, illustrated above left. In 1972 US President Richard Nixon travelled to China to meet Chairman Mao. This historic event captured the imagination of the artist, who, between 1972 and 1973, created 199 silkscreen paintings of him in five scales. This screen print is number 245 from a limited edition of 250.
Although born in Ireland there is no denying the international reach of Francis Bacon. From a small edition (no. 3 from 15 artist’s proofs in a total edition of 95) his 1981 Metropolitan Triptych (lot 49 €10,000-15,000 illustrated above right) is a rare example of a landscape element in his ouevre and relates to the death of his lover George Dyer in 1971. The oil painting sold in 2008 for over £26 million GBP.
One of Australia's leading 20th century artists, Sidney Nolan was of Irish descent. He established his reputation at home and internationally in the post-WWII years with his first series of works on the theme of Ned Kelly.
Lot 39, Ned Kelly Landscape, c.1968 (illustrated above is an original crayon and gouache measuring 20.5 by 30in. and guides €15,000-20,000.
The silhouette of Kelly's armour, and particularly the helmet with its postbox slit – seen in lot 39 - stood in for the man himself, and became an immediately recognisable symbol in Australian art. Nolan first visited the Burren in the early 1970s, knowing his ancestors had lived there. In their memory, he donated a body of six works on the theme of the Wild Geese to the IMMA collection.
Music legend and artist Bob Dylan features with lot 63 Man on a Bridge – Portfolio [Set of Four] [The Drawn Blank Series] 2008 (€4,000-6,000) and, guiding in the same region is British artist Laurence Stephen Lowry made famous by his scenes of industrial districts in North West England, lot 48 The Contraption (€3,000-4,000).
Watch out for…
A wonderful collection of 8 views of Dublin in watercolour and ink by Flora Mitchell. Her book Vanishing Dublin (1966) – now a rare and sought-after book – offered a glimpse of old Dublin and many streetscapes long since demolished. Lots 1-8, guides from €1,500-3,000 and include views of Trinity College, Marsh’s Library, Smyth’s on the Green, Fitzwilliam Street and others.
Exceptional early examples by Basil Blackshaw (from the collection of the artist’s family, include lot 30, Pratie Field near Magherafelt, Co. Derry, 1953 €10,000-15,000).
Other early examples by Barrie Cooke, William Crozier and Cecil Maguire are sure to attract collectors of their work.
Other notable lots include a large 1970s tapestry by Patrick Scott (lot 53, €8,000-12,000), an intriguing “cut out” lot 50, Release Mona Lisa, €3,000-5,000 by Patrick Collins, Mary Swanzy, Evie Hone, a Bust of James Joyce by Marjorie Fitzgibbon (lot 80 €1,000-1,500) and a Special Facsimile copy of The Book of Kells (lot 82, €6,000-8,000) among others.
The ever-popular Arthur Maderson, Mark O’Neill, Kenneth Webb, Ciaran Clear, Graham Knuttel, Elizabeth Brophy and Markey Robinson also feature widely.
Sculptures include interesting works by F.E. McWilliam (lot 75, Birdwatcher, 1964 €8,000-12,000), John Henry Foley, John Behan, Rory Breslin, Michael Foley and Joseph Sloan.
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, 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.
The live auction will take place at the Freemasons Hall, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 and online at bid.whytes.ie. Viewing takes place at Whyte’s Galleries in Molesworth Street from Monday 22 May to Friday 26 May, 10am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 27 & 28 May, 1pm to 5pm and Monday 29 May – day of sale - 10am to 4pm. Bidders and browsers can avail of useful auction features on Whytes.ie such as extra photographs of each work, including in domestic settings, as well the free Art Realizer App allowing you to project pictures to scale on walls to see if a work will suit your home or office; frame sizes and condition reports for every lot are published on our website, and, most importantly, Whyte’s provide a lifetime guarantee for every lot in the sale.