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New to the auction market: Images of boats at sea by Ireland's leading artists offered at Bonhams
Jack Butler Yeats (Irish, 1871-1957) Island Men Returning, 1919. Oil on panel. Estimate: £60,000-80,000. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- Two stunning paintings by Jack Butler Yeats and Paul Henry R.H.A will be offered for sale at Bonhams flagship salerooms in London’s New Bond Street on 28th May.

Both valued at £60,000-80,000, these two works, consigned from private collections in the UK and Canada, are among the top lots of Bonhams Modern British & Irish Art Sale.

Jack Butler Yeats’ Island Men Returning is an oil on panel painted in 1919, depicting two currachs pulling back into harbour. Yeats is considered the most important Irish artist of the 20th century, and was the first Irish painter to sell a work for over £1 million.

Though not politically active, Yeats was sympathetic to the Irish Republican cause. He was the brother of W.B Yeats who, in 1923, received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Despite his position as a titan of Irish art, he took no pupils and allowed no one to watch him work. He was a good friend of Samuel Beckett who, when Yeats died, wrote that "Yeats is the great of our time...he brings light as only the great dare to bring light to the issueless predicament of existence."

Another highlight in the sale is Boats at Sea, a peaceful oil on canvas by Paul Henry R.H.A., finished in 1936 and signed ‘Paul Henry’ on the lower left corner of the painting.

In light of the spare and sketchy style of his landscapes, Paul Henry can be seen as one of Ireland’s first post-impressionist artists and Ireland’s leading landscape painter.

Penny Day, Bonhams Head of Irish Art says “We are thrilled to be offering these two exceptional works by such stellar Irish names. Both featuring boats at sea and never before offered at auction, they present a golden opportunity to acquire a fresh and rare marine painting by two of Ireland’s most famous artists”.

Both works, among other highlights from the auction, will be on public view at Bonhams Dublin Gallery on Molesworth Street from 11 – 14 May.

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