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Fall for beautiful art at Whyte's Important Art Auction
Frank McKelvey RHA RUA (1895-1974), On The River Bann. Oil on canvas, signed lower left; titled on reverse, 16 by 20in. (40.64 by 50.80cm). Provenance: Sotheby’s, London, 6 May 2010, lot 7; Where purchased by the present owner. €7,000-€9,000 (£5,980-£7,690 approx.).

DUBLIN.- Whyte’s lead the autumn auction season with striking examples by Ireland’s master artists particularly in the genre of portraiture. Astute collectors have been turning to art for investment and a climbing percentage of lots sold per sale prove that art is once again a lucrative and rewarding asset. Viewing for this auction takes place from 28 to 30 September at the RDS Ballsbridge, Dublin.

Pportraits with a past
Whyte’s is proud to be offering three outstanding examples of portraiture this autumn from Ireland’s leading artists in the genre; Sir William Orpen, Sir John Lavery and Walter Frederick Osborne.

Portrait of Captain Colin David Brodie, 1928 [lot 29, estimate €20,000-€30,000] was given as a wedding present to the sitter by the artist; Orpen was unable to attend the wedding but his wife, Lady Grace Orpen, and their daughter were guests at the ceremony. The portrait shows Brodie, a proud Scotsman, as handsome and debonair, dressed in a 'Balmoral' bonnet with his clan insignia and an 'Argyll' waistcoat and jacket, traditionally worn for stalking in the Highlands. Orpen adopts a favoured pose in this work - one often used for his own self-portraits - and shows Brodie facing right and turning to engage the viewer. A striking example with an excellent provenance this work is sure to attract bidders. Similarly, Walter Frederick Osborne’s Portrait of Eileen M. Le Poer Trench, 1903 [lot 35, €20,000-€30,000] has an interesting history. It was one of the last works painted by Osborne who died in 1903 and the sitter, Miss le Poer Trench, was a young artist from Dublin about whom there is very little known except that she lived for a time in Hatch St., Dublin and exhibited twice with the RHA. The painting once belonged to prominent Dublin art collectors Justice James and Alice Murnaghan and it was from their home it was stolen along with some eighty other paintings by Martin Cahill, ‘The General’ in 1988. Recovered at a later date and returned to its owners, it was auctioned in the Murnaghan estate eleven years later.

Lavery’s The Lady Parmoor, 1919 [lot 33, €30,000-€50,000] may also have been a wedding gift to the sitter (Marian Cripps née Ellis) in this case from her husband, the 1st Baron Parmoor Charles Cripps. The Lady Parmoor is shown here in fine furs, composed and appropriately serious but beautiful and recalls the artist’s first portrait of Hazel Trudeau (later Lady Lavery) c.1906. Lady Parmoor was a staunch anti-war campaigner who would later go on to lead the World YWCA and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Gracing the front cover is a charming landscape by Walter Osborne dating between 1886 and 1888. A Corner of the Farmyard is lot 34 and guides €20,000-€30,000. This type of scene, with its prominent cabbages and pecking hens, was typical for Osborne, whose spirit shines through equally strong in these concentrated smaller oils as it does in large examples from the genre, such as Landscape with Child in White (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin), which includes a little girl and a cabbage patch.

The enduring charm of Paul Henry can be seen in this typically unpopulated bog landscape entitled An Achill Bog, c.1928-1930 [lot 18, €30,000-€40,000]. Henry is at the height of his powers at this juncture in his career. The strong composition and confident execution of this work, particularly in the foreground with its buttery impasto is testament to his knowledge of and passion for the landscape of the West. It is recorded in Dr S.B. Kennedy’s catalogue raisonné of Henry’s work and would represent a very shrewd investment opportunity for the discerning collector. Other strong exponents in this genre include Frank McKelvey with On the River Bann [lot 17, €7,000-€9,000]. His adept treatment of light and muted tones present a tranquil scene typical of his style. His contemporary, James Humbert Craig is represented with three works ranging in guide from €2,000 to €8,000. A large example in watercolour by Percy French titled The Purple Moor [lot 45, €8,000-€12,000] dates to 1905 and was exhibited in the Oriel Gallery Anniversary exhibition in 2002 and recorded in a specially published text marking the occasion which celebrated thirty-five years of French’s work being shown in their galleries. Another artist supported by the Oriel, George Russell Æ, and offered for auction is Contemplation [lot 48, €7,000-€9,000]. Similarly, it was one of the examples showcased in their 1989 exhibition celebrating their association with Æ since 1968.

Le Brocquy spanning 60 years begins with the celebrated ‘Tinker Series’ from the 1940s which is represented by Head of Girl, 1947 [lot 63, €5,000-€7,000] a delightful, quirky portrait of a traveller girl with pointed features and quizzical eyes. Later examples in watercolour from his ‘Head Series’ include a portrait of James Joyce, 1978 [lot 78, €10,000-€15,000] and from the ‘Presences Series’ Being, 1998 [lot 79, €10,000-€15,000]. Rare, limited edition publications with illustrations by le Brocquy include, Dubliners by James Joyce [1986] lot 87, €2,000-€3,000 and his iconic lithographs for Eight Irish Writers, 1981 lot 81 €5,000-€7,000.

Northern artists have traditionally found a favourable audience down South and this autumn auction presents a selection to suit all tastes, regardless of the collector’s address. Strong examples by Daniel O’Neill include two striking female portraits, lots 66 & 69 both estimated at €8,000-€12,000 and two landscape scenes demonstrating an early and late reading of the Northern landscape through his eyes, lot 67 a Co. Down scene, €6,000-€8,000 and lot 72 Evening Storm €5,000-€7,000. Northern contemporaries include Basil Blackshaw with Head of Man, lot 76, €5,000-€7,000 and Willie Doherty with an early work, Mesh, Crowded Full of Heaven’s Angels, 1986, lot 75 €1,800-2,200. Both artists have been celebrated recently with retrospectives in the RHA and IMMA, respectively (Mesh, lot 75 was loaned to IMMA).

Whyte’s is privileged to be offering paintings from the estate of the late Desmond Carrick RHA. The collection [lots 105-143] offers a range of paintings in oil and watercolour of varying sizes, subjects – Irish, Spanish and French landscapes – spanning the length of his celebrated career [Guides from €300 up to €1,500] .

International names such as Andy Warhol [Ted Kennedy, 1980 lot 89, €4,000-€6,000] Salvador Dalí [printed tapestry, lot 99, €1,000-1,500], Astérix illustrator Albert Uderzo [Drawing & comic, lot 100 €1,000-€1,500] offer a unique opportunity to buyers in Ireland to acquire works with global appeal.

Watch out for Harry Kernoff’s topographical scenes, a vibrant William Leech, Charles Lamb, Niccolo Carraciolo, Basil Rákóczi, Kenneth Hall, L.S. Lowry, William Conor, Gerard Dillon, Colin Middleton, Maurice MacGonigal, Henry Robertson Craig, Charles Brady, Mildred Anne Butler and her father Capt. Henry Butler, George Gillespie, William Crozier, Sean Scully, Peter Collis, Markey Robinson, Gladys Maccabe, Graham Knuttel, Pauline Bewick, John Behan and many many more.

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