Auction  June 14, 2018

Work by Jack B. Yeats Top Lot at Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art Sale

Courtesy Bonhams

Jack B. Yeats R.H.A. (Irish, 1871-1957), "Donnelly's Hollow," 1936, oil on canvas.

"Donnelly's Hollow" by the Irish artist Jack B. Yeats sold for £344,750 (€391,475) at Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art Sale in London on Wednesday, June 13th. It had been estimated at £300,000-500,000 (€340,000-570,000). The sale made a total of £4,026,000.

The large work (36x24 inches) depicts the natural amphitheater at the Curragh in County Kildare where, in 1815, the Irish boxer Dan Donnelly defeated the English champion, George Cooper. Boxing was a passion for the sports-mad Yeats, and Donnelly's Hollow is one in a series of paintings that revisited in maturity the obsessions of the artist's youth.

Other sale highlights included:

-"Summer Landscape" by John Minton (1917-1947) which set a new world record at auction for a work on paper by the artist. It was executed in 1945 after visits by the painter to south Cornwall, and had a pre-sale estimate of £30,000-50,000.

-"Maquette for Monolith" by Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) which sold for £200,000, having been estimated at £70,000-90,000. The work, numbered three of nine, was conceived in 1963 and cast the following year.

-"Demolition Squad" by William Roberts (1895-1980) which sold for £125,000 against its pre-sale estimate of £50,000-70,000. Although not an official war artist, Roberts nevertheless produced a number of works during World War II emphasizing the effect of the conflict on daily life on the Home Front.

-"The Red Bridge" by L.S. Lowry (1887-1976). Estimated at £200,000-300,000, this quintessential oil sold for £308,750. Outside the Mill, a rare fully realized watercolor from 1950 by the same artist made £112,500 having been estimated at £70,000-100,000. In total, there were 11 works by Lowry in the sale, all of which sold.

-"T and A" by the Taiwanese British-based artist Richard Lin. The beautifully austere work sold for £181,250. It had been estimated at £20,000-30,000.

-"The maquette" by Ivor Robert-Jones (1916-1966) for the famous monument to Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square. It had been estimated at £30,000-50,000, and sold for £90,000.

Bonhams Director of Modern British and Irish Art Matthew Bradbury said, "In a strong sale, the world record for John Minton's beautifully realized Neo-Romantic Summer Landscape stood out. The artist's appeal at auction has been steadily growing, and I am not surprised that there was such fierce competition to secure it."