Our most recent ‘Important Irish Art’ sale took place this week on Wednesday 27thSeptember. Headlining the sale was ‘On a Western Quay/Sligo Quay’ by Jack Butler Yeats (1923), selling at €110,000.
Other top lots include works by Paul Henry, Louis le Brocquy, Norah O’Kelly, Camille Souter, and Rowan Gillespie.
In our Auction Catalogue, Dr Róisín Kennedy writes:
‘Bounded by a spectacular West of Ireland landscape, a sailor leans against a wooden building, its planked construction giving a sense of structure and solidity to the right hand side of the painting. A high mountain dominates the vista with a large ascendancy house to its left. In the centre huddled along a causeway are a line of comparatively tiny cottages. Hilary Pyle has identified the location as Drumcliffe, the area north of Sligo town, under the shadow of Ben Bulben, where W. B. Yeats was later buried and where the Yeats’s paternal grandfather was once the clergyman. The rugged shaped mountain has also been identified as Knocknarea, to the south of Sligo town, on a note on a label on the reverse. It is not possible to identify the specific location. The juxtaposition of the large house and the sheer limestone cliff face of the mountainside convey a familiar congruence of manmade splendour and the more sublime beauty of nature as it exists in the West of Ireland. This, as in all Yeats’s work, is painted from memory and may combine different elements in the one composition. The details are probably gleaned partly from the perusal of earlier sketches.
The man is dressed in a dark double breasted, marine style jacket and a peaked cap, like that of the pilot, a recurring figure in the work of Yeats. The pilot is based on Michel Gillen, who worked at Rosses Point when Yeats was a child living with his grandparents in Sligo. Gillen’s job was to guide merchant ships from Rosses Point along the Garavogue River to the quayside in Sligo town. The pilot appears in several of Yeats’s drawings and paintings; in Sligo Quay, he appears as an outsider in the depths of the countryside, his pose retaining a nautical stance. He contemplates the incoming tide instead of the magnificent landlocked world beside him. The mixture of the building types in this space – the large colonial mansion and modest dwellings - denotes the complex history of rural Ireland. When the painting was made in 1923, the conflict generated by this past was raging throughout the land, and the solemn pose of the figure and the quiet calm of the view could be seen to reflect contemporary political and social tension.
The painting was exhibited in Dublin in 1923, at the Society of Independent Artists in New York in 1924,at the Goupil Gallery, London in 1925 and in the Leger Galleries in London in 1942. It belonged to the Scottish politician and art collector, Sir Patrick Ford for many years.’
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Yvonne Aupicq had met Orpen, we understand, while working as a nurse during the war. He had been admitted to hospital with a suspected case of scabies which ended up being a far more serious case of blood poisoning as he recounts in his wartime memoir ‘An Onlooker in France’. Their relationship continued after 1918 when Orpen was appointed as the official artist to The Paris Peace Conference. They relocated to capital and over the following decade he painted her numerous times, often nude as in Amiens 1914, or The Rape and Nude Girl Reading (1921). Working with her as his model during these early years after the war allowed Orpen an opportunity to re-fuel his creativity.
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Our upcoming Fine Jewellery & Watches auction on September 13th features a prime example of Van Cleef & Arpel's renowned 'Mystery Setting'
Our June auction offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire one of the great masterpieces of Irish art and icons of Dublin’s history.
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"Beating the bounds is a tradition that can be traced back to the medieval period. At this time, land was divided into parishes and the clergy and church wardens held the responsibility for its upkeep and management. It was up to the Church to ensure that its parishioners knew the local boundary lines and, before maps became commonplace, this had to be kept as a mental record."
Adam’s in conjunction with Suzanne MacDougald are proud to host an online timed auction of artworks to aid the Irish Red Cross’s humanitarian work in delivering vital services to millions of people impacted by the conflict in Ukraine. With no buyers premium 100% of the hammer price will go directly to the Irish Red Cross.
Ros Drinkwater writes of Jack B Yeats' 'The Boat' in the Business Post:
With a consolidated result of €320,000,the At Home sale in Stephan’s Green, was a great success.