Sotheby’s will offer 30 works of Irish art, including a rediscovered seascape by Roderic O’Conor and an important tapestry by Louis le Brocquy. Together they are estimated to bring in around €1m. While this is a far cry from the heady days of the boom, it shows that the Irish art market, though down, is far from out.
There was a time in the not too far distant past when the best individual works by artists such as le Brocquy, Lavery, O’Conor, Orpen, Yeats, and William Scott made sums of over £1m each.
There are not many lots individually estimated at over £1m appearing on the market right now, but what can be said with certainty is that Irish art of rare quality will find buyers in any financial climate. The most expensively estimated Irish work at Sotheby’s this time is O’Conor’s Red Rocks and Sea at between £200,000 and £300,000.
Sotheby’s sale in London — to be followed the week after by auctions of important Irish art at Whyte’s in Dublin on May 27 and at James Adam on May 29 — has been carefully selected and edited. All three auction houses have put together interesting sales with lots designed to find buyers even in the midst of recession. Whyte’s will offer 190 works, Adams 179.
Sotheby’s viewings for this auction in Belfast and Dublin were well attended. Regular clients attended, but there were many new faces as well. There was interest across the board, in particular for works such as Sir William Orpen’s Portrait of Noll and Basil Blackshaw’s First Tractor in Randalstown.