Jack B Yeats work sells for record €1m at auction


A PAINTING by Jack B Yeats sold for €1 million at auction in Dublin last evening – the highest price ever paid at auction for a work of art in Ireland. The painting was sold by a south Dublin family who bought it 67 years ago for £250.

A Fair Day, Mayo,painted in 1925, went under the hammer at Adam’s sale of “Important Irish Art” on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin at 6.44pm. Auctioneer James O’Halloran opened the bidding at €300,000, but was besieged by higher bids which leapt by increments of €20,000.

After three minutes and very lively bidding, the painting was bought by an unnamed Irish buyer who was bidding by telephone. Later, after stepping down from the rostrum, Mr O’Halloran, managing director of Adams fine art auctioneers, told The Irish Timesthat the record sale had been “such an enjoyable experience” and he believed the painting was “well-deserving” of the price.

His colleague, David Britton, said the result was “a great confidence boost for the Irish art market”. There had been “phenomenal interest” in the painting, which measures 2ft by 3ft (61cm by 91cm), and which had been expected to sell for between €500,000 and €800,000.

The oil on canvas, depicting small-town west of Ireland life on a fair day, was originally bought for £250 (about €300) by the Reihill family of Blackrock, south Co Dublin.