Le Brocquy ‘at his best’ in Whyte’s November sale

Image of WB Yeats ‘deserves to be seen in the flesh’ with important works by Paul Henry and William Scott also under the hammer

With an estimated value of €1.7 million, Whyte’s November art sale has some heavy hitters within the Irish art world. The live online sale will take place at the Freemasons’ Hall on Molesworth Street on Monday, November 28th.

Top of the bill is Image WB Yeats by Louis le Brocquy, who began his head series in the 1960s, following a visit to the anthropological museum, Musée de l’Homme, in Paris. Estimated at €120,000-€180,000, “it represents the artist at his best and deserves to be viewed in the flesh”, according to catalogue notes.

No important Irish art sale is complete without a Paul Henry, and the offering here doesn’t disappoint. With his signature blue mountains and bulbous clouds, Turf Stacks in the West (€120,000-€180,000) “appears to hold its breath in brooding silence in the wake of the Civil War”, according to Dr Mary Cosgrave.

No doubt all contemporary collector eyes will be on William Scott’s Still Life with Saucepan (€60,000-€80,000), after Chinese Orange III achieved a hammer price of €110,000 at this year’s Whyte’s September sale.


In similar tones is Tierra del Fuego: The Wilderness of Fiorenza Cossotto 1972-74, from Colin Middleton’s Wilderness Series, which has been described as “arguably the most important of the extensive series of works on which he embarked in the 1970s”. Listed at €30,000-€50,000, the work revisits the artist’s interest in surrealism, and is layered with autobiographical references.

Head of a Breton Boy, a lovely Roderic O’Conor (€60,000-€80,000), is reminiscent of time he spent with Gauguin in Brittany, where he developed his distinctive ‘striped’ application of line and colour. This work is similar to the Breton Boy in Profile, which was purchased by the Musée d’Orsay, Paris where it hangs bedside works by Gauguin in the Françoise Cachin Gallery on the fifth floor of the museum.

Along with an impressive work by Walter Osborne, Sunshine and Blossom, (€100,000-€150,000) and Sean Keating’s Unloading the Turf Boat, Aran (€80,000-€120,000) are works by Mainie Jellett, Mary Swanzy and Norah McGuinness. Jellett was condemned by critics when she first exhibited abstract works in Ireland. Composition from 1936 is a sizeable oil, and is characteristic of the time when she moved away from pure abstraction to a semi-abstract figurative style (€25,000-€35,000).

Also stirring interest is London-based Cork artist Conor Harrington. The 42-year-old, who studied at the Limerick School of Art and Design, is known for his street art in Mallorca, Miami, Warsaw and Sao Paulo. Two pieces feature in the sale: Lost in Space (€8,000-€12,000) and the impressive A Thought for Lunch from 2004 (€10,000-€15,000). whytes.ie

On November 26th Lynes and Lynes will hold an online auction of 500 lots from several executor sales. Highlights include an 18ct gold men’s Rolex watch (€8,000-€12,000); a large and early painting by Georg Philipp Rugendas (1666-1742), A Battle with the Ottomans (€2,000-€4,000); and two large Waterford Crystal chandeliers estimated at €1,000-€1,500 each. The sale has a number of important furniture pieces, including early Georgian Cork dining chairs and a selection of silver from a Glenbrook clearance.

Collectables include a large selection of old GAA football and hurling programmes from a house in Midleton. Of interest is a programme for the 1939 All-Ireland senior hurling champion final between Cork and Kilkenny. It became known as the ‘thunder and lightning’ final as players woke to torrential rain on the morning of the game, which subsided prior to kick-off. More importantly, two days prior to the game Nazi Germany invaded Poland and British prime minister Neville Chamberlain announced Britain’s declaration of war, signalling the start of the second World War (€300-€500). lynesandlynes.com

In its last sale of the year, R.J Keighery in Waterford will hold a large antique and mid-century modern sale this Monday, November 21st. Along with 50 lots of diamond and emerald jewellery is a men’s Rolex Sea Dweller Submariner (€7,000-€10,000).

Other interesting items include an Al O’Dea diningroom suite (€700-€1,000) and matching dresser (€200-€300); a super vintage ebony and zebrawood drinks cabinet (€1,000-€1,500) and a home bar with a full bar back, a counter and two stools (€800-€1,200).

Several rugs, a large, impressive William IV library bookcase (€2,000-€2,600) and a 15ft-long antique mahogany dining table at €1,500-€2,500 are also listed.

Part of the sale is from the estate of a couple who previously lived in Italy and were fans of mid-century design. A lovely Danish rosewood dining table on metal tripod legs appears to be very good value, if it sells within its estimate of €200-€300, as are a pair of Danish three-leg frame armchairs from the 1960s, at the same estimate. A cool Fritz Hansen original chair (with Arne Jacobsen marked on the base) is listed at €300-€500, while two canary yellow original Vitra Eames EA 108 chairs are seeking €700-€1,000. antiquesireland.ie

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables