Le Brocquy heads sale of post-war Irish art


A painting from a highly-acclaimed portrait series by Louis le Brocquy is expected to fetch the highest price at a major sale of post-war Irish art which goes on display today.

Study of a Head from Memorycould reach up to €74,000 at the Sotheby's inaugural auction of contemporary Irish works, art dealers believe.

The image is from a well-known group of spectral portraits by one of the Ireland's foremost 20th century artists, who celebrates his 90th birthday this year.

It goes on display along with other paintings by established and emerging artists at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, which will open to the public tomorrow and Wednesday.

The auction is at Sotheby's rooms in London's New Bond Street on October 24th.

Also expected to attract a lot of interest, is a portrait of Samuel Beckett by the celebrated photographer John Minihan. The striking photograph shows the dark writer's haunting and weathered face, as he gazes away from the camera from his seat in a room at London's Hyde Park Hotel.

The shot by Minihan — reagrded as Beckett's "official" photographer because of the rare uninhibited access he had to the elusive and publicity-shy dramatist — is expected to reach up to €7,400.

Dublin-born Sean Scully's abstract painting Wall of Lightis another work expected to stir excitement. One of a series of works inspired by a visit to Mexico, where the artist became fascinated by the effects of light on crumbling stone surfaces, it is estimated to fetch up to €52,000.

Sotheby's are holding the sale in response to a growing interest in more recent Irish art, according to a spokeswoman for the auction house.

"While demand for legendary names such as Lavery, Orpen and Yeats has remained strong throughout, perhaps the most notable change in the market in recent times has been the dramatic growth in demand for works by post-war and contemporary Irish artists," she said.