Holiday art in an online auction

A novice collector could do well at an internet sale that emphasises affordable pieces

Art auctions in the principal Dublin salerooms won't resume until the autumn, but Whyte's is holding an online-only summer art sale that ends on Monday. Although bidding is via the internet only (see the pictures can be viewed in the gallery at 25 Molesworth Street. The emphasis is on affordable art and estimates for the 150 lots range from €100 up to €3,000. Auctioneer Adelle Hughes said the sale might appeal to a "novice collector dipping a toe into the auction scene" .

There's a wide range of artists and many of the paintings have, inevitably, a holiday theme. Examples include a selection by the late Dublin artist Patrick Leonard including Lot 1, After Sunset, Algarve (€800-€1,200); Lot 2, Quiet Evening, Wexford (€400- €600); and Lot 9, A Summer's Day, Farm Near Tervuren, Belgium (€800-€1,200).

Summer scenes of Dublin include Lot 11, Canal Lock at Percy Place, Dublin by Liam Treacy (€1,200-€1,500); Lot 92, Lovers by the Sea by William Mason (€300-€500); and Lot 94, Summer, Dún Laoghaire Main Street 2010 by Oisín Roche (€800-€1,200).

Interesting print

But, unusually for an art auction, one of the most interesting items is actually a print. Lot 139 is a “signed colour print” in its original frame of a painting entitled


Our Lady – Queen of Ireland


Leo Whelan

which dates from 1933. The original oil painting was commissioned by the Gill family of Dublin – owners of the publishing company that later became Gill and Macmillan – to mark the occasion of the Eucharistic Congress in Ireland in 1932.

A framed print, similar to the example in the auction, was presented to Pope Pius XI in the Vatican in 1934 and, according to the Catholic Bulletin, the artist was praised for depicting the Blessed Virgin for the first time, with “Gaelic features”.

The model for the infant Jesus, incidentally, was Justin Keating, son of the artist Seán Keating, and who, in later life became a Labour Party minister in the 1970s Coalition government headed by Liam Cosgrave.

The original painting was, sadly, destroyed in a fire in Dublin in 1975 and thus prints – especially signed – are very desirable. The estimate is €150- €200.