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Works by Ireland's master artists for auction this spring at Whyte's
Liam O’Neill (b.1954), Three Men in a Boat. Oil on canvas signed lower right 14 by 18in. (35.6 by 45.7cm). Est: €2,000-€3,000 (£1,430-£2,140 approx.).

DUBLIN.- The 2018 auction season launches at Whyte’s with an impressive offering of Irish art which includes all the most sought-after names as well as coveted international artists. The auction will be on view at the RDS, Ballsbridge Dublin from Saturday through Monday (24-26 February) from 10am-6pm daily, including Monday 26 February, the day of the sale.

Among the highlights of the sale - and featuring on the catalogue cover - is the striking painting Reaching. Homage to John Montague by Louis le Brocquy (lot 52, estimate €40,000-€60,000). Dating to 1968 - and presented, as the artist intended, in its original frame - this strikingly modern work demonstrates the artist’s unique reading of the poet which he constructed in six canvases. The sinews of the figure’s limbs and the economic use of paint echo the work of Francis Bacon while the preoccupation with the head and spirit of the sitter resonates with le Brocquy’s later work an example of which can be found in Image of Samuel Beckett, 1994, lot 76 €15,000-€20,000).

That Landscape painter who does not make his skies a very material part of his composition - neglects to avail himself of one of his greatest aids, thus commented 19th Century landscapist John Constable and while Paul Henry and Nathaniel Hone both adhere to this direction, each offers the viewer something different from the Irish landscape. The highest lot by value in the auction is commanded by Henry’s large, striking panorama of the West of Ireland, lot 30, €80,000-€120,000 dating to c.1915-1918 and replete with thick cumulous clouds above modest lakeside cottages. It is thought to be an Achill scene executed near Grace O’Malley’s cottage where Henry and his artist wife lived. Hone’s Landscape (North County Dublin) lot 29, €8,000-€12,000 captures less threatening weather with its single, puffy cloud hovering above the sand. It is one of a series of coastal subjects depicting scenes in Malahide, one of which can be found in the National Gallery of Ireland.

Weather also dominates in lot 28, Kaid Macleans' Camp. A Wet Day by Sir John Lavery, €10,000- €15,000 which was exhibited in the artist’s solo exhibition at The Goupil Gallery, London, 1908. The title refers to General Sir Harry Aubrey de Vere 'Kaid' Maclean KCMG (1848-1920) who, at the time the present work was painted, had resigned from the British Army to take up the post of training officer in the Sultan of Morocco's army. Lavery met the Scottish general through The Times Tangier correspondent, Walter Harris, when they rode via Tetuan, to Fez. A large portrait of the Kaid by Lavery now hangs in the El Minzah Hotel, Tangier.

Two works depicting life in the West of Ireland can be found in lot 22, Seán Keating’s The Aran Island Turf Boat €50,000-€70,000 and lot 31 by Jack Butler Yeats, Old Men Bathing, 1922 €40,000-€60,000. Both connect their subjects to the water and draw in the viewer through an engaging use of composition. Keating's paintings of the Aran Island people were in constant demand throughout his working life. This impressive oil on canvas captures for posterity the traditions of the Aran Island people which were dying out at the time when this peaceful scene was painted. Yeats’ painting immerses viewer and subject into bracing waters and captures the exhilaration of open water swimming. The western landscape can be seen on the horizon while the foreground captures the muscular figure of a man, his hands pink from the cold. Another oil – a pure landscape – also by Yeats Winter In Galway, From Lady Gregory's House, Coole Park, 1944, guides €25,000-€35,000 as lot 36.

A number of works by Daniel O’Neill cater to different genres in his oeuvre and different price ranges for bidders. From landscape, Horn Head, Donegal, lot 38 guides €6,000-€8,000 to a sensual nude lot 39, Summer Night, €20,000€30,000.

Of the contemporary artists featured in the sale, a range of works (lots 95-100) by Basil Blackshaw stand out with guides from €2,000 to €8,000, while two examples by Kenneth Webb dominate early in the sale, Lazy Afternoon €7,000-€9,000 and Dragon's Hill €8,000-€12,000 lots 4 & 5, respectively.

One of the most intriguing lots in the sale, which offers a fascinating insight into arts circles in London of the period, is lot 120, An Important Scrapbook of Art and Music compiled by a young Jewish woman, Abigail Cohen, in London in the 1830s. It guides €15,000-€20,000. Among its contributors are: Daniel O’Connell, composers Michael William Balfe, George Alexander Osborne & Samuel Lover, British artist John Martin and many others. James Malton’s A Picturesque and Descriptive View of The City of Dublin; (24) is offered as lot 114 and guides €8,000-€10,000 while a view of the Grand Canal, Dublin from 1896 by Percy French is one of five delicate watercolours by the artist and musician. Top lots by International Artists include lot 41, Dorothea Sharp, Still Life with Lilies €8,000-€10,000 and Baghdad Street Scene, 1988, lot 48 by Iraqi artist Hafidh Al-Droubi, €5,000-€7,000. Other famous artists represented include: John Butler Yeats, Leo Whelan, William Conor, Aloysius C. O’Kelly, Martin Gale, Charles Brady, Cecil Maguire, Tony O’Malley, Felim Egan, William Scott, Banksy and works from the estate of Theo McNab among many others. All the artworks are on display with full descriptions and many interesting notes from art experts at This fabulous auction – comprising nearly 200 works of art – will be on view at the RDS Anglesea Road entrance, Ballsbridge, Saturday to Monday, 24-26 February 2018, 10am to 6pm daily; admission and parking is free.

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