LONDON.- The Irish art market steps out of its comfort zone this month with the first London viewing of an Irish fine art auction. Highlights from Morgan ODriscoll Fine Arts International and Fine Art Auction to be held in Dublin on April 20 will be on show at La Galleria, Pall Mall, London SW1 April 13 - 15.
The sale will have 161 lots, estimates ranging from 500 - 90,000. Leading lot is an abstract by Riverdance supremo, Michael Flatley, the first artist to create paintings by literally tap dancing on to paint-spattered canvas. The Power, a representation of the power of the universe, measures 150 x 150 centimetres and is expected to fetch 70,000 - 90,000. Flatleys first art exhibition will take place in London in June.
A US highlight is Andy Warhols 1986 screenprint tribute to the mother of modern dance, Martha Graham: Letter to the World (The Kick). Graham described him as a gifted, strange maverick who crossed my life with great generosity, one of Warhols last acts was the gift of three portraits to help Grahams company meet its financial needs. A unique colour variant aside from the edition of 100, it measures 91.25 x 91.25 centimetres and has a guide price of 25,000 - 35,000.
Paintings by twentieth century Irish artists include works by Daniel ONeill, Tony OMalley, William Crozier, John Shinnors, William Scott and a water colour by Louis le Brocquy, The Bistro Lemon, inscribed to Paul Michelin of the Michelin Tyre family after whom the restaurant guide was named, 21 x 16 centimetres (5,000 - 7,000).
For lovers of traditional Irish art the sale has a wide selection of landscapes. Theres Maurice Canning Wilks archetypal rural scene complete with thatched cottage, Near Doochary, Co. Donegal 51 x 61 centimetres (6,000 - 9,000), Frank McKelvie on a favourite theme, Feeding Chickens at the Back of the House, 45.5 x 61 centimetres (15,000 - 20,000) and Liam ONeills depiction of a shepherd with his flock, Pastures New, 76 x 101 centimetres (12,000 - 15,000).
Two bronze sculpture highlights (viewable 360º online) are John Behans Weld Bull, 39 x 51 x 26 centimetres (3,000 - 5,000), and the heartrending Woman Searching for Potatoes, a unique piece measuring 41 x 36 x 19 centimetres (2,000 - 3,000).
Established in West Cork in 1994, what began as a small provincial operation has grown to become one of Irelands leading fine art auction houses, selling more art in 2013 and 2014 than any other auction house in Ireland. In 2011 ODriscolls was the first Irish auction house to do online only auctions, the latest in March of this year selling 96 per cent to bidders from five continents.
With the combination of global internet bidders and the current value of the euro against sterling and the US dollar, Irish fine art auction houses are experiencing the best spring results they have seen in years. ODriscolls London viewing should help fuel the trend.