Art: A colourful post-Cheltenham bet

Horse paintings by Patrick Hennessy in Adam’s art auction

The Long Road Home, Connemara   by Patrick Hennessy, €7,000-€10,000, at Adam’s

The Long Road Home, Connemara by Patrick Hennessy, €7,000-€10,000, at Adam’s


Irish racegoers returning from Cheltenham this weekend – those who didn’t lose their shirt – might consider investing some of their winnings in art. And there’s no more appropriately-titled picture currently for sale than The Long Road Home, Connemara in Adam’s art auction later this month. The oil-on-canvas, measuring 53.5cm by 75.5cm is by Patrick Hennessy and has a pre-sale estimate of €7,000-€10,000.

Hennessy could be a good long-term bet, he is probably currently undervalued and may well come to be regarded as one of Ireland’s better 20th-century artists. He was born in Cork in 1915, studied art in Dundee, Paris and Rome; regularly exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin; and died, in Portugal, in 1980. He is best-known as a painter of portraits, animals and still lifes.

There are two other paintings by Hennessy in Adam’s auction: The White Mare (€4,000-€6,000) depicting a young man and a horse; and Purple and Gold (€5,000-€8,000), a still life of fruit and a book on a tablecloth.

The sale also includes a watercolour of a racing scene, topically titled Ireland’s Best by well-known equestrian artist Peter Curling (€4,000-€6,000). It was one of the paintings used to illustrate the Injured Jockeys Fund calendar in 1998.

In all, 131 lots will go under the hammer in the St Stephen’s Green saleroom.

A selection of paintings by Northern Ireland artists, including TP Flanagan, Arthur Armstrong and Colin Middleton, once hung in Ely Lodge, Co Fermanagh and belonged to Viola, Duchess of Westminster until her death in a car accident in 1987.

Green shoots
This is Adam’s first art auction of 2014 and the company is optimistic. Auctioneer David Britton said: “In 2013, turnover at Adam’s grew by 12.5 per cent and it will be seen as the year when green shoots appeared back in the Irish art market with new world records for artists Paul Henry (€400,000 for The Potato Digger in May) and Erskine Nicol (€100,000 for A Shebeen At Donnybrook in September).”

Internet bidding at Adam’s, he said, only represents “a very small percentage of Irish art turnover and generally only on lower value items” and many buyers continue to “prefer to either bid on the phone or come to auctions in person”.

Viewing begins at Adam’s, 26 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 from Sunday, March, 23rd and the auction starts at 6pm on Wednesday, March 2 6th. The catalogue is at and the auction will be broadcast live on the internet.

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