View full screen - View 1 of Lot 35. Portrait of Éamon de Valera | Portrait d'Éamon de Valera.

Sean O'Sullivan, R.H.A.

Portrait of Éamon de Valera | Portrait d'Éamon de Valera

Sean O'Sullivan, R.H.A.

Sean O'Sullivan, R.H.A.

Portrait of Éamon de Valera | Portrait d'Éamon de Valera

Portrait of Éamon de Valera | Portrait d'Éamon de Valera

Sean O'Sullivan, R.H.A.


Portrait of Éamon de Valera

signed Seán O'Sullivan, dated 1928 and inscribed Éamon de Valera (lower right)

coloured chalks on paper

unframed: 38 by 24.5cm.; 15 by 9¾in.

framed: 63.5 by 49.5cm.; 25 by 19½in.

Executed in 1928. 


Sean O'Sullivan, R.H.A.


Portrait d'Éamon de Valera

signé Seán O'Sullivan, daté 1928 et portant l'inscription Éamon de Valera (en bas à droite)

craies de couleur sur papier

san cadre: 38 by 24.5cm.; 15 by 9¾in.

avec cadre: 63.5 by 49.5cm.; 25 by 19½in.

Exécuté en 1928. 

The sheet has been laid down on card. There is some staining to the sheet edges. There are a number of restorations located predominantly around the edges, however these have been done to a high standard and are only visible on close inspection; the image itself is not affected. There are a few scattered spots of surface dirt. Held in a drawing frame with cream mount and framed under glass.

The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Sale, Christie's, New York, 20 September 1986, lot 389


Vente, Christie's, New York, 20 septembre 1986, lot 389

London, Pyms Gallery, Lines from Nature and Memory, Works on Paper, 23 November 2011 – 6 January 2012, illustrated in exh. cat., p. 35


Londres, Pyms Gallery, Lines from Nature and Memory, Works on Paper, 23 novembre 2011 - 6 janvier 2012, illustré dans le catalogue de l'exposition, p. 35.

Éamon de Valera (1882-1975) was one of the chief protagonists of the 1922 World Congress of the Irish Race in Paris, appearing at the centre of many contemporary photographs of the occasion. He was undoubtedly one of the dominant political figures in 20th century Ireland. He was a prominent figure in both the War of Independence, where his dual American nationality probably saved him from execution for his part in the 1916 Easter Rising, and the subsequent Irish Civil War 1922-23. As President of first the Dail Eireann, 1919-1921 and then President of the Republic 1921-22 he played a leading role in creating the Constitution by which the Republic continues to be governed. 

In 1926 he left Sinn Féin to become the founder of Fianna Fail, and in 1932 became head of the Irish government or Taoiseach. He served three times in this role before becoming President of Ireland in 1959, a position he held until 1973.

He is regarded by many as the father of the modern Irish state, whilst others have criticised the way in which the militant republicanism of his early political career was supplanted by cultural conservativism and a degree of national isolationism. However, there is no doubt that he was a very great 20th century political figure, and that he played a truly significant part in the creation and development of the long awaited independent Irish state.

This evocative head study by Seán O’Sullivan shows de Valera, aged 46, in mid-thought, perhaps contemplating the destiny of his newly created Fianna Fáil party, which secured electoral victory in 1932 and came to dominate the Irish political landscape. In contrast to de Valera's own well established political prominence, by the time of the present work O'Sullivan's career was just in its ascendancy. It was in 1928 that the artist became the youngest ever associate member of the Royal Hibernian Academy at the age of 22, later being elected an Academician in 1931. This study is typical of the artist’s proficiency at capturing life, as seen in contemporary portraits of leading Irish figures such as Douglas Hyde, W.B. Yeats and James Joyce. 


Éamon de Valera (1882-1975) fut l'un des principaux acteurs du Congrès mondial de la race irlandaise de 1922 à Paris, apparaissant au centre de nombreuses photographies contemporaines de l'événement. Il est sans aucun doute l'une des figures politiques dominantes de l'Irlande du XXe siècle jouant un rôle de premier plan dans la guerre d'indépendance, où sa double nationalité américaine lui évita probablement d'être exécuté pour son rôle dans le soulèvement de Pâques de 1916, et dans la guerre civile irlandaise de 1922-23 qui suivit. Président du Dail Eireann, de 1919 à 1921, puis président de la République, de 1921 à 1922, il joua un rôle décisif dans la création de la Constitution qui régit toujours la République.

En 1926, il quitta le Sinn Féin pour fonder le parti politique Fianna Fail, et en 1932, il devint chef du gouvernement irlandais ou Taoiseach. Il occupa ce poste à trois reprises avant de devenir président de l'Irlande en 1959, poste qu'il conserva jusqu'en 1973.


Pour beaucoup d’Irlandais il est le père de l'État irlandais moderne, tandis que d'autres ont critiqué la manière dont le républicanisme militant au début de sa carrière politique a été supplanté par un conservatisme culturel et un certain isolationnisme national. Il ne fait toutefois aucun doute qu'il est une très grande figure politique du XXe siècle et qu'il a joué un rôle véritablement capital dans la création et le développement de l'État irlandais indépendant tant attendu.


Cette étude de tête évocatrice de Seán O'Sullivan montre de Valera, âgé de 46 ans, en pleine réflexion, contemplant peut-être le destin de son tout nouveau parti, le Fianna Fáil, qui remporta les élections en 1932 et domina le paysage politique irlandais. Contrairement à l'importance politique bien établie d’Éamon de Valera, à l'époque de la présente œuvre, la carrière d'O'Sullivan n'en était qu'à ses débuts. C'est en 1928 que l'artiste est devenu, à 22 ans, le plus jeune membre associé de la Royal Hibernian Academy, avant d'être élu académicien en 1931. Cette étude est représentative de l'habileté de l'artiste à saisir la vie, comme on peut le voir dans les portraits contemporains de grandes personnalités irlandaises telles que Douglas Hyde, W.B. Yeats et James Joyce.