Bargains are back at Dublin auctions

Pre-summer art auctions at Adam’s and Whyte’s mark a return to more affordable prices

After this week's record-breaking auctions in New York, the publication of catalogues for the pre-summer Dublin art auctions at Adam's and Whyte's mark a return to infinitely more affordable and realistic prices for collectors and investors. Adam's said there "seems to be a lift in the Irish art market since the beginning of this year with viewing numbers up and many new buyers entering the market". But so far in 2015 there has been a noticeable shortage of top-quality works coming to market.

First up of the two sales is at Whyte's whose "Important Irish Art" auction takes place in the RDS on Monday week (May 25th) and where viewing begins next Saturday. The top lot is a portrait of British actress Gladys Cooper by Sir William Orpen, estimated at €80,000-€120,000. Gladys Cooper sat for Orpen in 1924 when both were at the height of their fame. The Stillorgan-born Orpen was London's most renowned portraitist of his day and Cooper was a star of the West End stage. Whyte's said "the painting is a testament to her beauty. She is depicted seated, arms folded and gazing off into the distance. Her long elegant neck is accentuated by her fashionable 'flapper' hairstyle and a string of glittering beads on her neckline add a hint of glamour to her modest attire."

Hollywood success Gladys Cooper – no longer a household name even in Britain – was born in London in 1888. After a successful career in British theatre and cinema, she moved to live in California and enjoyed some success in Hollywood appearing in films including My Fair Lady (as Mrs Higgins for which she was nominated for an Oscar). In 1967, at the age of 79, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She returned to live in England and died in 1971.

Whyte's is also selling a Sir John Lavery portrait, titled A Bacchante (estimate €60,000-€80,000) and dated 1910. The subject was Frances Vera Ruby Lindsay (1884-1951), wife of the diplomat, Ralph Harding Peto. She is thought to have been introduced to Lavery through his wife Hazel who moved in similar circles. See online catalogue at


Selection of paintings Adam's is also titling its auction – two days later on Wednesday, May 27th, as Important Irish Art and the top lot is a Jack B Yeats painting Roundstone, Connemara dating from 1916 and estimated at €25,000-€35,000. It was once owned by Oliver St John Gogarty – the poet, surgeon and inspiration for Buck Mulligan in Joyce's Ulysses and inherited by his daughter Mrs Desmond Williams of Tullamore.

Paintings by Northern artists include A Farmstead, Co Armagh by John Luke (€20,000- €30,000, see below) that won second prize and the sum of £5 in the 1928 Summer Prize Competition at the Slade School in London. See online catalogues at