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Whyte's announces Irish & International Art auction to take place 27-29 February
Paul Henry RHA (1876-1958), A Kerry Bog, 1934-1935 [Estimate €60,000 to €80,000].

DUBLIN.- Whyte’s Irish & International Art auction is the inaugural sale of 2016 and will include not only the most sought-after names in Irish art but also a flavour from the international market. The sale will take place at the RDS, Ballsbridge on Monday 29 February at 6pm, viewing will be open to the public from Saturday to Monday (27-29 February, 10am-6pm).

On the back of enormously encouraging results for sales of Irish art in 2015 – with selling rates as high as 90% in some sales and the most desired works fetching two and three times in excess of their estimates – it is with great pleasure that Whyte’s presents yet another robust offering to collectors. By value, the two top lots in the sale are by the most enduring names on the market: Paul Henry and Jack Butler Yeats. The former is represented with lot 20, A Kerry Bog, 1934-1935 [Estimate €60,000 to €80,000] and the latter, The Quay Worker's Home, 1927 [lot 33, €60,000 to €80,000].

The Quay Worker's Home has been described by the leading scholar on Jack Yeats – Dr Róisín Kennedy - as “…a remarkably poignant and rare depiction of urban life in 1920s Ireland.” The wonderful oil shows an ashen faced quay worker standing in the dim interior of his modest home warming his hands by the fire. Yeats felt a deep empathy towards the plight of working men and women and the present work is testament to this. The importance of this work in the artist’s oeuvre is unquestionable. It has been widely exhibited since its first showing in 1927 to include retrospectives (Montreal, 1969) and major shows at the RHA, Dublin (1995), Douglas Hyde Gallery, TCD (2004) among others. With a shortage of such pieces on the market, this particular example is sure to attract judicious bidders.

Paul Henry was enchanted with Kerry, “It is lovely” he told James Healy, a friend in New York, “Wherever one turns there is material for dozens of pictures … I felt that if I spent a lifetime … I would never exhaust all the possible subjects.” The fruits of his time in ‘The Kingdom’ were exhibited at Combridge’s Dublin where lot 20, A Kerry Bog was purchased by the present owner’s father. This painting is possibly one of the earliest pictures inspired by Henry’s trip there according to Henry expert Dr. S.B. Kennedy. Whyte’s viewing will mark its first public appearance in more than 80 years.

For another example by Henry in this sale see lot 18 Cabins by a Lough: West Of Ireland, c.1934-1939 [€30,000-€50,000]. Another familiar name in the auction is Frederick Walter Osborne who, throughout his life, was attracted by village and harbour scenes. A charming example by him can be found in Harbour Scene, c.1898 [lot 19, €20,000-€30,000]. It has remained in the same family since the turn of the century and - judging by Whyte’s recent results for the artist - there should be competitive bidding on this gem.

Seán Keating’s A Study of Dustman Reilly for The Key Men, c.1958-1960 [lot 39, €20,000-€30,000] is an important work related to Keating’s allegorical master piece The Key Men. It features a well-known Dublin character, Dustman Reilly, who was a bin man but was also the chairman of the George Bernard Shaw branch of the Irish Labour Party in Dublin. The recently-built dam at Poulaphouca provided the backdrop of the final picture which included pivotal or “key” men involved in running the country. Lot 39 focuses on one of these “key” figures and should generate interest from Keating aficionados as well as history buffs.

More contemporary highlights can be found in Basil Blackshaw’s expressive The Old Orchard, 1956 [lot 43, €15,000-€20,000] and Patrick Hennessy’s dramatic The Wild Ponies of Connemara [lot 61, €8,000-€10,000. Hennessy will be the subject of a major exhibition in the Irish Museum of Modern Art this spring; a fact that won’t go unnoticed by the astute buyer.

One of the highlights providing the international dimension to the spring sale is a fantastic original work by Catalan artist Joan Miró. Sin Título [Untitled], 1973 [lot 57, €18,000-€20,000] is a colourful and dynamic drawing which displays all the hallmarks one would associate with the famous Surrealist. A lithograph, also by Miró [lot 56, €1,500-€2,000], will appeal to a more modest budget. Sean Scully enthusiasts will be keen on Pomes Penyeach, 1993 [lot 58, €6,000-€8,000] while affordable examples by “YBA’s” Tracey Emin & Damien Hirst as well as Dame Elisabeth Frink and David Hockey will appeal to modern tastes.

Flemish artist Edmond Delrenne recorded scenes during The 1916 Rising and his oil painting Henry Street, Dublin, During The 1916 Rising [lot 120, €8,000-€10,000] will be one of the key works in a section of the sale dedicated to this theme. Other artists featured include Thomas Ryan, Breon O’Casey and Brett McEntaggart.

Lots 155 to 167 comprise The Christy Brown Collection [estimates from €300 to €3,000] most of which was on loan recently to the “Dear Christy” exhibition at The Little Museum in Dublin and the Irish American Historical Society in New York. A fine bronze of Christy Brown features in the sale as well as other striking sculptures by John Behan, Melanie le Brocquy and Graham Knuttel.

Other names to look out for include: Percy French, Nathaniel Hone, Harry Kernoff, Frank McKelvey, George Campbell, Markey Robinson, Seán McSweeney, John Skelton, Tony O’Malley and Patrick Scott.

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