Irish art buyers keep it real

Abstract art is a hard sell in Ireland where collectors prefer traditional, representational art

Maiden Hurdle, Clonmel by Peter Curling, €15,000-€25,000 at Whyte’s

Maiden Hurdle, Clonmel by Peter Curling, €15,000-€25,000 at Whyte’s

 

This week’s auctions of post-war and contemporary art in New York saw vast sums spent by bidders at Christie’s and Sotheby’s for paintings by artists including Francis Bacon and Gerhard Richter. But Irish collectors have never really taken to abstract art which many seem to view with a mix of fear and loathing. For anyone prepared to take the plunge, however, Dublin auctioneer Ian Whyte believes “there is great value in abstract art”. He said: “If people are looking for bargains [in art auctions] then they should look at artists such as Tony O’Malley, John Shinnors and Louis le Brocquy whose prices have suffered the biggest fall” since the end of the boom. Paintings by all three are included in Whyte’s Irish Art Auction which goes on view next weekend in the RDS ahead of the auction on Monday, November 25th.

Whatever about “value”, what most Irish art collectors and investors seem to want is traditional representational art by blue-chip artists such as Paul Henry, Roderic O’Conor, Jack B Yeats, Sir John Lavery, Walter Osborne and Aloysius O’Kelly.

As usual, these are the names expected, to make the top prices. Paul Henry leads the field with three oils including The Lake (€80,000-€100,000), a classic 1928 west of Ireland landscape.

Other highlights include portraits of 1920s beauties by Sir John Lavery: Mrs E Bowen-Davies (€30,000-€50,000) and Mrs Ralph Peto (€15,000-€20,000); Breton Woman In A Kitchen by Aloysius O’Kelly (€25,000- €35,000); Nude In The Studio by Roderic O’Conor (€25,000- €35,000); and The Village Street, Rush & Lusk, Co Dublin by Walter Frederick Osborne (€15,000-€20,000).

In stark contrast, the abstract lots include Tony O’Malley’s Clare Island Greys (€15,000-€25,000); and Mainie Jellett’s Death of Procris (€30,000-€50,000) described as “an example of her adaptation of the theories of rotation and translation learned in Paris and put into practice in this large oil”.

Contemporary art doesn’t have to frighten the horses. Maiden Hurdle, Clonmel by Peter Curling, who Whyte’s describe as “Ireland’s foremost equestrian artist”, depicts the Co Tipperary racecourse, artistic licence permitted the appearance of Slievenamon. Of the jockeys depicted, only one represents a specific portrait, that of Willy Mullins (second rider from the right), a friend of the artist. The estimate is €15,000-€25,000. A Portrait of Ulick O’Connor, the writer and broadcaster, dating from 1975, by artist Edward McGuire has an estimate of €8,000-€10,000.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.