Important Irish works of art on display at the Paris exhibition
Three important Irish works of art, rarely seen in public, are currently on loan as part of Sotheby’s dedicated cross-category sale, Ireland/France: Art and Literature. The exhibition, in his Paris office, marks the centenary of the 1922 World Congress of the Irish Race.
Two of the works, The Market Day, Mayo, by Jack B Yeats, and The Rosary by Grace Henry were in the original exhibition of nearly 300 works at Galerie Barbazagnes a century ago.
John Lavery’s Bridge over the River Grez, of which the artist said: “My happiest days in France were spent in the colony outside Paris at Grez-sur-Loing”, is also on loan to the exhibition until at the close of the sale on May 16. .
L’Étranger by Lavery, sold for between €120,000 and €180,000, depicts a magical undergrowth on the edge of the forest of Fontainebleau. The painting marks how the artist was so blown away by the beauty of the place, commenting, “After my hard work in Paris, I left the city and life’s drawing lessons, and became a landscape painter “.
Other highlights include five works by Roderic O’Conor, including the sunny, seaside rocks and foam of St Guenole. This painting marks the beginning of his most consistent and extensive body of work, which consisted of a series of Breton seascapes. Rocks and Foam, St Guenole, with its vivid hues, is one of the biggest and most dramatic of the series, according to catalog notes (€300,000 – €500,000).
The sale features a remarkable Harry Kernoff, Sunday Evening – Place du Combat, Paris (€40,000 – €60,000). Noted for his eagle-eyed chronicle of daily life, his distinct style here gives a glimpse of Paris under the last evening sun. The artist left for Paris in 1923, having won the Taylor Fellowship, and this painting was executed in 1937. It is described as “a defining example of his work”.
Two works by Louis le Brocquy from his main series feature: Image of James Joyce (€80,000 – €120,000) and Image of Samuel Beckett (€70,000 – €100,000), as well as A Sandhill near Tralee Bay, by Jack B Yeats.
Acquired by Irish playwright and poet Lennox Robinson in 1921, the work belongs to a group of panels that Yeats made during his first visit to Kerry in the summer of 1913. The artist’s intention was to learn the Irish – but the landscape prompted him to paint (€40,000 to €60,000).
The sale, which ends this Monday, also includes works by William Scott, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Rowan Gillespie, Mainie Jellett and WB Yeats.
Other historic treasures can be found in Whyte’s Eclectic Collector Sale, which takes place during a timed online auction on May 21. The oldest lot in the sale is a Bronze Age sword from around 3,100 BC (€1,000-1,500), so the sale itself spans around 5,000,000 years.
“An outstanding historical relic”, is the 1803 proclamation written by Robert Emmet for the short-lived Irish Rebellion, by which Irish republicans attempted to seize the seat of British government in Ireland.
The catalog states that the document inspired Pádraig Pearse for the Proclamation of 1916, but “it is 15 times rarer with only three copies recorded in private hands and none listed in state collections”, which explains the estimate of 50,000 to 70,000 €.
The sheet has great provenance as it once belonged to the Wolfe family of Co Kildare, and Theobald Wolfe Tone was named after his godfather Theobald Wolfe.
More than 200 lots alone mark the Uprising of 1916 and the War of Independence. Worth €100 to €12,000, which is for an extremely rare second – and final – bulletin issued by Pádraig Pearse during the uprising in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Republican Forces
A number of medals also feature, including one awarded to Kathleen Clarke, widow of executed leader Tom Clarke, the indomitable campaigner who, together with Michael Collins, founded the National Aid Fund and became Dublin’s first female Lord Mayor in 1939. The medal was awarded in 1971 to surviving veterans of the Revolutionary War. She died the following year at the age of 94 (8,000 to 12,000 €).
As we now approach the end of the centennial decade, and as this year marks the founding of the Free State and the beginning of the Civil War, the catalog offers a wide range of collectibles related to these events.
Described as “probably the most important lot”, is the “Suspension of Offensive” document, signed by the Anti-Treaty IRA Chief of Staff, Frank Aiken, which ended the Civil War on 27 April 1923 (€8,000 – €12,000).
Archival documents from the estate of Joe Groome, the Dublin hotelier and activist of Fianna Fáil, a founding member of the party, will be of interest (€1,500 to €2,000) to historians, as will an autograph book belonging to Michael Collins, which includes the signatures of the Irish Treaty delegation, including Arthur Griffith and Erskine Childers, as well as Sir John Lavery – who had painted Collins and Griffith (€6,000-8,000). sothebys.com and whytes.ie