Expressionist artist puts bishop in frame

Brian Maguire’s unflinching portrait of Bishop Willie Walsh

Bishop Willie Walsh of Killaloe is generally considered by liberals in Ireland to be one of the good guys.

An arresting portrait of the bishop, who retired in 2010, by Brian Maguire, one of Ireland’s leading Expressionist artists, comes up at Morgan O’Driscoll’s current online sale of Irish art. It seems an appropriate pairing.

Maguire’s long career has seen him reach fearlessly into the plight of people in uncomfortable places of life and history that many of us might choose to not go — suicidal prisoners in Irish jails, children of the favelas in South America, refugees at risk of drowning in the Mediterranean along with displaced Syrians and Sudanese are among his subjects.

‘Horse Fair, Ballinasloe’ by Kenneth Webb will be sold online.
‘Horse Fair, Ballinasloe’ by Kenneth Webb will be sold online.

The sale is on view in Skibbereen from 11am to 4pm next Monday and online. Bidding gets underway at 6.30pm on Monday evening. The auction of 242 lots is likely to finish around 10pm that evening. The Maguire portrait is lot 80 and estimated at €1,500-€2,000.

The art of naval gazing

This painting by George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson, Naval Ships off Roches Point, shows two frigates of the Royal Navy with a date that appears to read 1855.

The former curator of the Crawford Gallery Peter Murray reckons it to be one of the most significant works by the Cork artist. Atkinson was born in Cove, later Queenstown and now Cobh, Co Cork, around 1806 and spent his early life at sea as a ship’s carpenter.

He went on to become government surveyor of shipping and emigrants at Queenstown, where he was generally known as Captain Atkinson. He was a self-taught artist whose works show a thorough knowledge of the sea.

His three sons and one daughter all became painters. Atkinson first showed at the Cork Art Union in 1841 and exhibited in the Royal Hibernian Academy from 1842.

The work will be displayed at the Gorry Gallery, Molesworth Street, Dublin, as part of an exhibition of 17th-21st-century Irish art which runs from next Thursday until June 8.

In Brief

Antiques sale

Antique furniture, garden furniture, art and collectibles are under the hammer at Woodwards, Cork, at 11am today. Highlights include Horses Running, Camargue by Arthur Maderson (€5,000- €8,000) and Georgian brassbound buckets (€500-€800). Internet bidding available.

Design lots

A pop-up design auction by de Veres takes place at 65 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin, at 12pm tomorrow. There are 180 lots of classic design furniture and lighting. There are 250 lots of contemporary Irish art. This sale runs in tandem with an online auction of 93 cases of wine from the 2005 Bordeaux vintage. Bidding is up to 8pm tomorrow.

Online auction

Christie’s reported that Mrs Thatcher Part III, the online auction, was 100% sold. It realised just over £1m (€1.2m), far exceeding expectations. There were bidders from 36 countries across six continents. The top lot was a multi-gem and diamond brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels, made £50,000 (€57,868).

Sparkling appeal

In Dublin O’Reillys of Francis Street will have a sale of jewellery, watches and silver on Wednesday at 1pm. Viewing gets underway at noon tomorrow.

Galway sale

Doneraile-based Aidan Foley will have a sale at Galway Auction Rooms, Kilcolgan, today week. Viewing takes place s from 11am to 7pm on Friday and on the morning of the sale.

Bonhams sale

Selected highlights from Bonham’s sale of Modern British and Irish art in London on June 12 will be on view at Bonham’s on Molesworth Street, Dublin, next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

There are paintings, drawings and sculpture by artists Jack B Yeats, John Lavery and William Scott and Louis le Brocquy; also pieces by Colin Middleton, LS Lowry, Dame Elisabeth Frink and Rowan Gillespie.

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