Art sales in Dublin next week reflect Irish collectors’ tastes

Des O’Sullivan says an upsurge in interest at some sales might indicate a change in Irish buying patterns.

The Irish taste for art tends towards the conservative. Insofar as it is possible to generalise we still regard the exuberant freedoms and rigorous disciplines of abstraction and beyond, with a degree of suspicion.

Our art market underlines this.

Much that is tried and tested will come up at art auctions at Whyte’s and Adams in Dublin next week. The top lots at each sale are by art market stalwarts Paul Henry and Jack Yeats. 

Henry’c Connemara Landscape at Whytes and Yeats’s Drumcliff Strand, Long Ago at Adams are each estimated at €80,000-€120,000,

Both auctions offer a selection of landscapes at all price levels, much of it highly collectible. The contemporary selection at Whytes is more daring with artists like Charles Tyrrell, Corban Walker, Hughie O’Donoghue, Felim Egan, John Shinnors and Donald Teskey featuring on the catalogue for the sale at the RDS next Monday evening. 

If these works sell well it might just herald a long overdue shift towards the contemporary in the Irish art market.

From William Sadler and James Humbert Craig to William Crozier, the Irish landscape features in many forms at James Adam on Wednesday. 

There are views of Ahakista and Dunmanus Bay by Letitia Marion Hamilton (1878-1964) whose niece Honor lived in the area. Paul Henry’s 1928 view of the Grand Canal Dock in Dublin is estimated at €20,000-€30,000. Roderic O’Conor’s Seated Woman from the Hotel Drouot sale (€15,000-€20,000) and Eden, a tapestry by Louis le Brocquy (€35,000-€45,000) will interest collectors. 

There are self portraits by Tony O’Malley and Sarah Longley.

Whyte’s has 171 lots; Adams 169.


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