Paul Henry dominates deVeres art sale

Five works by the Irish artist feature in latest auction, ending November 21st

The Bog Pool by Paul Henry

Vendors at upcoming sales will be hoping for a possible repeat of the deVeres Art and Design sale last month, where one work achieved a sale price of many multiples its estimate.

An untitled work by Japanese Irish artist Atsushi Kaga realised €11,000 (plus fees), against its original estimate of €200-€300. Kaga is from Tokyo and now based between Ireland and Kyoto. His work is in high demand globally after big results this year in New York and Hong Kong. It appears to have been a savvy purchase of this earlier work, which was painted soon after he graduated from the National College of Art and Design. Sales last year saw some of his works sell for over €286,000 (We are all Spiritually Connected to Each Other achieved 2.34m HKD in April 2022).

Untitled by Atsushi Kaga

One of the big sales to take place this month is deVeres Outstanding Irish Art sale, which is currently open, ending November 21st, has some significant works from multiple private collections.

This latest sale has five Paul Henry offerings, including The Bog Pool (lot 31, €120,000-€160,000), a painting of a Connemara landscape, dated on stylistic grounds from about 1921-1922.

On Killary Bay by Paul Henry

Cottages, West of Ireland (lot 13, €100,000-€150,000), is thought to be a scene in Kerry, possibly near Glenbeigh, with MacGillycuddy’s Reeks in the background and dated from 1935-1945. Lot 14, On Killary Bay (€70,000-€100,000), is a more diminutive work, and measures just 10 by 12 inches. It is almost three-dimensional, thanks to its generous application of paints, and is deemed to be near Aasleagh Falls in Leenane, where Henry stayed for a time. A later work, thought to be from summer 1945, when Henry and Mabel Young stayed at Waterville, Co Kerry, is lot 108A, Cottages on the West Coast of Ireland, Waterville, Co Kerry (€40,000-€60,000).

The Hay Stacker (lot 83, €40,000-€60,000), also a diminutive work measuring 10 by seven inches, is evocative of Henry’s time on Achill Island (1910-1911), which was a central part of the artist’s life. Though he made many friends on Achill, “the belief even then remained that in making images of the people he was somehow or other taking something from them. Known pejoratively to the villagers as ‘the sketcher’, he had to work either from memory or from a sketchbook concealed behind other papers. Despite these difficulties, he was enthralled by the place,” according to the late art historian Dr SB Kennedy, who produced the annotated listing of all the artist’s work.

Eliza Doolittle in Dublin by Sean Keating

Seán Keating’s Eliza Doolittle in Dublin (lot 15, €100,000-€150,000) is reminiscent of the artist’s condemnation of the destruction of Georgian Dublin that commenced in the 1950s. He said the next move would be to feed all the books in the library of Trinity College Dublin to the boilers of the Pigeon House. The painting “deliberately referenced the flower seller in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion ... unchanged and proud, sitting quietly with her daffodils on the corner of Hume Street”, wrote art historian Dr Eimear O’Connor, author of Seán Keating: Art, Politics and Building the Irish Nation. This, she wrote, “was his painterly recognition of the validity of history to Ireland’s culture, however complicated”.

Joe the Swineherd 1890 by Walter Frederick Osborne

Without an ounce of political debate is Walter Frederick Osborne’s Joe the Swineherd 1890 (lot 32, €80,000-€120,000), which has been widely exhibited at the National Gallery of Ireland, the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Royal Academy London. Evocative of the artists’ fascination of rural life and farming, Osborne painted a series of pictures of people at work in the countryside, and this is one of the largest in the series. It has been suggested that this picture remained in the artist’s collection during his lifetime, “perhaps reminding him of his happy youthful days painting in the countryside”, according to art historian Dr Julian Campbell.

Sabrina Fair by Sandra Bell

Works by Daniel O’Neill, Gerard Dillon, Norah McGuinness and John Shinnors also feature alongside two works by Hughie O’Donoghue. In terms of sculpture, the sale includes works by Barry Flanagan, Jim Flavin, Sonja Landweer and the lovely Sabrina Fair by Sandra Bell (lot 88, €3,000-€5,000).

Elsewhere, Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers in Castlecomer will hold an eclectic sale of fine art, furniture, paintings, silver and militaria on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 14th and 15th. The sale, of almost 1,100 lots, includes the Eden Vale bottle carrier.

The Eden Val Bottle Carrier

The carrier, thought to be from Limerick, circa 1780, and commissioned by William Stacpoole, the high sheriff of Co Clare, for his residence at Edenvale in Ennis, has a removable top over eight compartments (lot 901, €7,000-€9,000). An important 17th-century wainscot oak chair, believed to be from circa 1680 (lot 597, €4,000-€6,000) is said to have been the property of Jonathan Swift, as it was initially acquired by archaeologist and antiquarian John Ribton Garstin, one-time president of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.

Aak chair believed to have belonged to Jonathan Swift

Top lots include Thomas Wyck’s Portrait of Oliver Cromwell on Horseback, with Moorish Attendant (lot 784, €20,000-€30,000), and Godfrey Kneller’s Portrait of a Lady, said to be Agnes Huckle, standing by a Classical Urn (lot 897, €10,000-€15,000). With the accession of George I in 1714, Kneller was named principal painter and became the leading portraitist in England during the late Stuart and early Georgian eras.

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