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Bonhams Launch Irish Art Department with First Sale in February
Jack Butler Yeats (Irish, 1871-1957), The Cat Among The Stars, signed 'JACK B/YEATS' (lower left), further inscribed 'THE CAT/AMONG THE STARS' (verso), oil on board, 23 x 36 cm. (9 x 14 in.) Painted in 1939. Estimate: £50,000-70,000. Photo: Bonhams.
LONDON.- Bonhams will hold its first sale of Irish Art on 9th February 2011 in New Bond Street, marking the end of the company’s long-standing association with Adams Auctioneers in Dublin. After twelve years of working jointly on Irish Art auctions, Bonhams and Adams have decided to hold separate sales.

Bonhams Irish Art Department is headed by Penny Day, also a Senior Specialist in the 20th Century British Department at Bonhams. She joined 20thCentury British & Irish Art at Bonhams in 2006, following a year with Christie’s British & Irish Art division. Although combining these two disciplines successfully, it is her particular passion and focus on developing Irish art within the company that has led to tangible results over the last few years.

Penny holds a B.A. Hons Degree in History of Art from Trinity College Dublin and a Diploma in Fine & Decorative Art from The Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (also in Dublin).

The Department will offer an annual sale including traditional and modern paintings, works on paper and sculpture, representing the very best of Irish art. The forthcoming sale on February 9th will include exceptional examples by Yeats, Lavery, O’Neill, Dillon and Nicol, among others.

Among leading Irish artists sold by Bonhams in previous years is the esteemed Louis le Brocquy, arguably Ireland’s finest living artist. Both ‘Study for Reconstructed Head of Samuel Beckett’ and ‘Fantail Pigeon’ commanded six figure prices.

The charming ‘Dooega’ by Paul Henry was discovered on the Antiques Roadshow and Bonhams later sold the little landscape for almost five times the low estimate. Valued at £40,000-60,000, competitive bidding saw it achieve over £170,000.

Sculpture as well as pictures have performed well, ‘Patriarch’ by F.E. McWilliam fetched over £50,000 against an estimate of £15,000-20,000.

Matthew Girling, Bonhams CEO Europe and the Middle East, comments: “Irish Art at Bonhams has a distinguished track record so I am delighted that we will now have our own dedicated Irish Art Department to celebrate the work of leading Irish artists.”

Bonhams | Penny Day | Matthew Girling | Irish Art Department |


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