A Jack B Yeats masterpiece which reappeared after almost seven decades in the same family is due to fetch up to €800,000 at auction.
The spectacular oil painting – titled A Fair Day, Mayo – was painted in 1925 and once hung in the office of Eamon de Valera when he was leader of the newly formed Fianna Fáil.
It is the largest and most valuable work by the country’s best-known artist to appear on the market for many years.
The work will go under the hammer at Adam’s auction of Irish Art on September 28, where it is expected to fetch between €500,000 and €800,000.
James O’Halloran, Adam’s managing director, said while the 24 x 36 inch work has been not been on the market for 68 years it has been seen in a number of prestigious exhibitions including Images in Yeats, held in Monte Carlo in 1990.
After it was painted, the picture was lent by the artist to de Valera, the leader of the new Fianna Fail party, who displayed it in his offices at Suffolk Place.
Adam’s believe the painting, which depicts a bustling country fair and represents Irish rural life, probably appealed to de Valera’s vision of Ireland.
“Interestingly the picture was sold through Leo Smith in Dublin in October 1944 for the then huge price of £250 to Mr JP Reihill Snr who was at that time resident at Deepwell in Blackrock, Co Dublin,” said Mr O’Halloran. “The painting has been in the Reihill family ever since.”
The sale also features another valuable work by Yeats, together with pieces by Louis Le Brocquy, Colin Middleton, and Charles Lamb, as well as signed letters from Samuel Beckett.
Public viewing at the Dublin salesrooms on St Stephen’s Green opens on Sunday September 25 for four days.