first art auction of the year takes place at the RDS from 2 - 4 March 2013. With an outstanding collection of works by all the best known names in Irish and British art astute collectors are sure to find superior examples offered at realistic guides.
MERVYN & PAT SOLOMON COLLECTION
The prestigious Belfast collectors, known in the art world for generations, are also synonymous with the music industry in the North; Mervyn was the first to record Rory Gallagher and Van Morrison. Their collection represents a shrewd collecting practice and demonstrates a support for Northern visual artists and an interest in Irish artists working abroad. Among the compilation are 11 oil paintings and 6 prints by Roderic O'Conor spanning 30 years of the artist's career and encompassing many of his favourite subjects executed in the high-keyed palette for which he is famous. Leading the collection is Nature Morte, 1909 [lot 36, 30,000-40,000] a superb still life showing the influence of Cézanne in composition and tone, while the earlier Chrysanthemums, 1896 [lot 38, 20,000-30,000], shows a more controlled execution. The Frenchmans influence can also be seen in OConors Montagne Sainte-Victoire [lot 43, 1,500-1,800] a modest but strikingly coloured landscape; while his time in Montigny is recorded in Avenue of Trees [lot 39, 8,000-10,000]. Arresting female subjects take the form of a sumptuous nude, Nu Allongé, c.1915 [lot 37, 15,000-20,000] and a poised lady Seated Model, c.1923-1926 [lot 40, 8,000-10,000]. Van Gough-inspired etchings, comprise two lots, each temptingly guide 1,000-1,500 [lots 42 & 44]
Artist and activist, Aloysius OKelly graces the catalogue cover with English Peasant Chopping Swedes, 1887/8 [lot 45, 6,000-8,000] the title in the artists own hand being a barb from a committed Irish revolutionary; one of 9 works by him in the sale. His politics also shine through in a watercolour of fellow Fenian, Edmond ODonovan As An Oriental, c. 1883-84 [lot 46, 800-1,000] exhibited at the artists retrospective at the Hugh Lane, Dublin in 1999. His love of France resonates in views of Concarneau Harbour [lots 46, 47, 51 2,000-3,000 each] and in his recording of Fêtes de Jeanne Darc, Religious Procession, Orléans, [lot 54, 2,500-3,500 (another owner)].
Strong examples of Northern artists from the 1950s are found in Daniel ONeills Interior with Nude [lot 34, 15,000-20,000] with his typically cool palette and magnetic, brooding female. Colin Middletons 1951 oil Manna [lot 35, 20,000-30,000] delights with an energetic palette of reds and blues. Other artists from the Solomon collection include: Markey Robinson, Martin Mooney, Cecil Maguire, Sandra Bell and Michael Leventis.
EARLY IMPRESSION OF ACHILL - PAUL HENRY
Keel Village, Achill Island, 1911 [lot 62, 50,000-70,000] packs a punch with its inviting composition and vast Whistlerian sky; everything you would expect from the master of Irish landscape painting. This example boldly highlights Henrys excitement at his new-found environment; there is an almost identical, albeit smaller, example of this view in the Ulster Museum, Belfast. The quintessential cottages rendered here would become a hallmark for his mature style and a sought-after element for collectors of his largely unpopulated paintings. It was scenes like these that captured the imagination of the Irish people and were later used in advertising campaigns to draw visitors to the emerald isle. Fierce bidding on recent offerings at auction are proof that Paul Henrys appeal remains.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL YEATS PLAYBILL, 1900
A delicately painted watercolour of a man staring into a grocers window is the subject for The Playbill [lot 64, 12,000-15,000]. Looking closely at the scene reveals a startling amount of detail; the proprietors name Nulty or McNulty, advertisements for sailings to New York, a theatre companys production of The Corsican Brothers and what appear to be religious icons standing prominently towards the front of the display. Close examination exposes a figure within the store peering out at the oblivious window-shopper. A curious scene, it shows Yeats dedication to meticulously recording the everyday. A celebration of such work from the artists sketchbooks is currently on view at the National Gallery of Ireland.
A LADY OF MYSTERY BY LAVERY
A 14 by 9 ¾ inch oil on board Thought to be Margrit Höllrigl [lot 69, 10,000-15,000] could be the missing link in a puzzle that has been capturing the imagination of both German historians and Lavery expert Prof Kenneth McConkey in recent years. Margrit Höllrigl an actress and later salon hostess was a notorious character in German society. Trading on her looks and magnetic personality, she received patronage from Adolph Friedrich, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg in Berlin and other wealthy aristocratic male admirers, living in style up to the Great War on the proceeds of blackmail. During the twenties she moved to America, where all records of her disappeared. The present work is thought to be a study for a portrait of her. The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin holds in its collection a rare portrait of Ms Höllrigl as La Dame aux Perles, 1899 another, also in Ireland, Lady in a Green Coat (Private collection) are the only other known oils of this mysterious courtesan.
VICTORIAN CHARM - FRIEND OR FOE?
Court painter to Queen Victoria and the affluent London set, Charles Burton Barber enjoyed an enormously prosperous if short-lived career at the top of his genre in the 1800s. Friend or Foe? [lot 70, 25,000-35,000] is a wonderful example from his oeuvre which shows his magnificent handling of paint, attention to detail and reverence for his charismatic little subjects. Sure to tug at the heartstrings of bidders, this oil represents an opportunity to own work coveted by the Royals and used by astute advertisers of the 1800s.
FOREMOST IRISH IMPRESSIONIST- WILLIAM JOHN LEECH
An urban retreat near the artists London studio inspired a number of exquisite canvases by Dublin born William John Leech. In The Lake, Regent's Park, London [Lot 66, 15,000-20,000] we see Leech at his very best. The light palette and buttery impasto recalls the foreground of the artist's masterpiece Convent Garden, Brittany (NGI, Dublin) but here, instead of breaking the dizzying labyrinth of brushstrokes, Leech submerges the viewer into a web of colour and paint to be consumed by the power of this city sanctuary. The handling of the paint, treatment of light and the sense of a fleeting moment are all captured in this en plein air oil. Purchased from the artists sole agent in Ireland, Leo Smith (Dawson Gallery, Dublin) this work has been unseen in a single private collection for over 50 years.
IRISH PRIDE - MY FOUR GREEN FIELDS by EVIE HONE
Installed under Haugheys Government in the 1990s, the historically significant stained-glass window by Evie Hone entitled My Four Green Fields, was resurrected from storage, restored and installed at the top of the ceremonial staircase at government buildings. A large study in watercolour for this window is offered as My Four Green Fields, New York - Design For Stained Glass Window, c.1937-1938 [lot 23, 3,000-5,000]. The window was commissioned by the Department of Industry and Commerce for the Irish Government's Pavilion at the New York World Trade Fair in 1939. It was installed in the CIE Head Office in 1960 and later removed to storage at the request of the OPW in 1983. The study shows the artists concept for the work which originally depicted a round tower surrounded by symbols of the four provinces flanked by cascading curtains. Interestingly, the tower was omitted from the final design.
ALSO INCLUDED IN THE AUCTION:
A large oil of Irish Trawlers In Dublin Bay by Edwin Hayes [lot 80] reasonably guided at 20,000-30,000] Three extraordinary examples by Patrick Collins from the collection of distinguished art aficionado Vincent Ferguson include Beyond the Bog, 1966 [lot 108, 12,000-15,000] and two later cut-out works [lots 106 & 107, 1,800-2,200 and 2,500-3,500 respectively]; this excellent provenance is sure to attract bidders.
Other names to entice include: Erskine Nicol, James Humbert Craig, Frank McKelvey, Joseph Poole Addey, Mildred Anne Butler, Percy French, Countess Markievicz, Sir William Orpen, Rudolph Ihlee, Louis le Brocquy, Kenneth Hall, Basil Rákóczi, Gerard Dillon, Harry Kernoff, George Campbell, Tony OMalley, Ciarán Clear, William Crozier, Paula Rego, Sean Scully, Peter Collis, Hughie ODonoghue, Robert Ballagh, Gladys Maccabe, Graham Knuttel, American artist Jeff Koons, sculptors: John Henry Foley, Lawrence Campbell, John Behan, Joseph Sloan and many more.