The first auctions of the autumn sales season may not have featured any record-breaking prices but the various auction houses have reported strong volume sales. Whyte's sold 65 per cent of the 216 lots in its Irish and International Art sale at the RDS on September 25th. The following evening, at de Veres Irish Art & Design auction in Bewley's Hotel, Ballsbridge, 75 per cent of lots sold. Last week, at Sheppard's three-day Legacy of the Big House auction, 78 per cent of the more than 1,700 lots sold. And Adam's said at its auction of Important Irish Art on October 2nd, the sold rate was a healthy 82 per cent.
Adam's also said that three Roderic O'Conor paintings which failed to sell during the auction were sold privately the day after the auction. The prices were "lower than expected" – which is putting it mildly – and will likely send shivers down the spine of anyone hoping to sell a picture by the Roscommon-born artist (1860-1940). All three sold for just half their lower pre-auction estimates: Étude de Femme €30,000 (€60,000-€80,000); Le Châle Bleu €10,000 (€20,000- €40,000); and, Landscape with Red Haystacks €10,000 (€20,000-€30,000). The paintings had been in the collection of the late businessman John Reihill, who lived at Deepwell, Blackrock, in Dublin.