Important Irish Art auction goes on view Saturday to Monday 25-27 November at the RDS Ballsbridge and includes a stellar selection by Irelands most sought-after artists. Among the highlights of the winter sale is a significant collection of 8 works by the late Basil Blackshaw. Varying in guide price from 2,000-3,000 [lot 74, Jet] to 50,000-70,000 [lot 69, Grey Horse in a Stable] this body of work offers all budgets an opportunity to acquire an example by the County Antrim native. Included in the catalogue is an insightful essay on the collection by author and dramatist Brian McAvera whose musings on the paintings, coupled with his knowledge of the artist and his place in the history of art, presents bidders with a greater understanding of the pictures that catch their eye. The dynamic Horses Exercising [lot 68, 30,000-40,000] graces the cover of the auction catalogue and is described by McAvera as
reminiscent of Yeats
a remarkably powerful depiction of movement and energy. It sports an excellent provenance, having been acquired directly from the artist by the present owner, and demonstrates Blackshaws innate understanding of an animal with which his name has become synonymous.
A PEONY TRANSFUSED WITH LOVE
Lot 66, Peony, 1991 by Louis le Brocquy guides 35,000-45,000 and depicts the last blossoming of the flower grown by the artists wife Anne and painted in homage to her. It was inspired by the work of French artist Édouard Manet, whose work le Brocquy had viewed in Paris in 1938. The painting delights on several levels, for its expression of love, its personal significance to the artist as well as its mesmerising painterliness. An accompanying catalogue entry by the artists friend and former Abbot of Glenstal, Dom Mark Patrick Hederman explores the significance of the work and its history. A beautiful early work on paper by le Brocquy [lot 37, 6,000-8,000] guides at a more affordable level for an original artwork and depicts a Flower Seller, Ann Street, Dublin in Christmas Eve, 1944. Two beautiful examples in bronze by the artists sister, Melanie le Brocquy, are also included in this sale, lots 63 & 64 guiding 2,000-3,000 each.
A striking example by Daniel ONeill entitled Girls and Dogs is offered as lot 50 [25,000-35,000] and is beautifully preserved and presented in its original hand carved Waddington Gallery frame. The painting has not been seen publicly since it was acquired by the present owners parents from the Waddington Gallery. The size, subject and original presentation of this outstanding example by ONeill is sure to appeal to collectors of this artist who are drawn to his enigmatic depiction of his subjects and expressionistic use of colour.
MOUNTAIN VIEWS BY LAVERY AND HENRY
The top lot by value in the November auction is Evening, Montreux by Sir John Lavery [lot 20, 80,000-100,000] depicting Lake of Geneva with the twinkling lights of the town off to the left. The Laverys were keen visitors to the Swiss Riviera and in December 1923 they arrived in Montreux where they stayed at the Palace Hotel. The exceptional character of the setting capitvated the artist who, liberated from the studio, would ignore medical advice and trek to Caux to paint what he described as 'the airman's view' above the clouds. Clouds are the principal characters in Paul Henrys painting of the West of Ireland, which, like Lavery, see nature dominate the majority of the composition. Two examples by Henry are included in the sale Coomasaharn, County Kerry, 1930-1935 [lot 11, 50,000-70,000] and an earlier work, thought to depict a view from Rosroe, County Mayo, lot 14, 50,000-60,000.
Another artist to draw on the West of Ireland for inspiration was Gerard Dillon and there are several examples by him in this sale. The star lot by value, however, takes inspiration from the artists time spent in Italy in the summer of 1947. This masterpiece Italian with Fowl, 1948 [lot 4, 50,000-70,000] - was painted the following year and exhibited in 1949 at the prestigious Irish Exhibition of Living Art in Dublin. A later work, Holy Island [lot 46, 30,000-50,000] brings together Dillons favourite themes the West and Celtic relief sculpture with the technical innovation of adding sand to oil paint that he developed during the late 1950s. This work was loaned by the present owner to the important exhibition, 'Gerard Dillon, Painter, Dreamer, Clown', at the Ulster Museum, Belfast last year.
A view of The Dodder in Flood, Ballsbridge, Dublin, 1929 by Jack B. Yeats [lot 24, 30,000-40,000] is a powerful work which compacts the crushing flow of the river into a punchy oil sure to attract buyers from this salubrious area of the capital. Although the palette is composed predominately of blacks and greys, close examination reveals, like most Yeats, a vibrant and colourful underbelly where reds, pinks, yellows and blues peek through the licks and scrapes shaped on the board.
Other famous artists represented in the auction are William John Leech with St. Giles, Holburn, from Charing Cross Road, London [lot 19, 9,000-12,000] which exudes light and warmth through Leechs masterful use of colour. Traditional landscapes by Percy French, Frank McKelvey, Maurice Canning Wilks, George Gillespie and Charles Lamb will satisfy those keen on quality pastoral scenes while Aloysius C. OKelly explores North African terrain in his painting Desert Charge. Contemporaries Arthur Armstrong, George Campbell, Basil Rákóczi and Kenneth Hall all feature with works in oil and watercolour. Other names to watch out for include Barrie Cooke, Tony OMalley, Felim Egan, William Scott and works from the estate of Robert Taylor Carson among many others.