Irish Art, Including Property from the Collection of Sir Michael Smurfit

Live Auction: 9 September 2020 • 2:30 PM BST • London
Irish Art, including Property from the Collection of Sir Michael Smurfit 9 September 2020 • 2:30 PM BST • London

W e are delighted to be presenting a very special group of Irish works in our annual sale, led by the Collection of Sir Michael Smurfit. Formed over thirty years, Sir Michael acquired some of the very best examples by Ireland’s leading painters, which includes Louis le Brocquy’s seminal Travelling Woman with Newspaper, as well as works by Jack B. Yeats, John Lavery, William Orpen and William Conor among others, some of which will be familiar to those who have visited The K-Club, the renowned golf and spa hotel outside Dublin which Sir Michael established.

Outside of the Smurfit Collection, we have a broad range of drawings, paintings and sculpture from the 19th century to the present day. The sale opens with 12 works being offered directly from the Yeats family, including sketches by John Butler Yeats and Jack B. Yeats. Many other works in the sale are also emerging from long-held private collections, including Houses by the Sea and Kerry Fisherman both by Jack B. Yeats, and Tory Island and The Dreamer both by Gerard Dillon. The sale concludes with a dynamic offering by Ireland’s contemporary artists, and we are proud to be able to promote their work to an international audience.

Featured Highlights

A Lifetime's Passion: Sir Michael Smurfit on his Art Collection
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Contemporary Artworks

One of the pleasures of putting together our Irish Art sale is the ability to include work by contemporary artists alongside famous names of their predecessors. We have a rich selection in this year’s sale which shows the continued strength of the visual arts in Ireland – if anything more dynamic than ever. Represented are artists from Ireland and Northern Ireland although some work outside of Ireland, while others are not from Ireland but have chosen to work in Ireland. Some pull strongly on Irish heritage, others less so. All of which demonstrates a healthy vibrancy and it is a pleasure to be able promote these artists internationally so their work can be appreciated by collectors worldwide.

Louis Le Brocquy
Louis le Brocquy’s Travelling Woman with Newspaper is one of the most important works produced by one of Ireland’s most significant painters, heralded by critics, collectors and the artist alike. Painted in 1947-48, it is the climax of le Brocquy’s iconic Traveller series (1945-48) and marks a vital contribution to the artistic landscape post-World War II, both in Ireland and internationally. Its re-appearance at auction is a significant moment for major collectors of Irish art.

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Works from the Yeats Family

The sale features 12 lots which come directly from the descendants of W.B. Yeats, including sketches by John B. Yeats, the patriarch of the family who was rarely to be found without a pencil in hand, as well as works by his son Jack B. Yeats, one of Ireland’s most celebrated painters and brother of W. B. Yeats, and a work by Harry Kernoff of P. S. O’Hegarty, showing the cultural connections of the family in the early 20th century.

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