Tuesday - 29 July 2014

For the Celts, the modern boom’s nothing new

29 October 2003Written by ATG Reporter

THE growing strength of the Modern British market has had plenty of publicity over the last couple of years, but strong demand for Post-War painting is hardly news to the Scottish and Irish collectors who have been faithfully backing the “Modern Celtic” market for decades.

The continuing buoyancy of the Irish market was dramatically underlined at the Dublin rooms of Whyte’s (15/12.5/10% buyer’s premium) back on September 16 when this tiny 1950s Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) oil sketch, right, entitled An Capillan Ban (A Small White Horse), was bought by an Irish lady collector now resident in Texas at an impressive €22,000 (£15,400).

Apart from the obvious attractions of Yeats’ paintings of horses, this framed 31/2 x 41/2n (9 x 11cm) canvas had the added interest of being accompanied by an autograph letter by Yeats to the poet and Keeper of Art for the Ulster Museum, John Hewitt (1907-1987). In the letter, written from the Portobello House Nursing Home on 5 March, 1956, Yeats thanks Hewitt for his forward to the catalogue of the 1956 exhibition of his work at the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery.

Sadly Yeats was too ill to visit this
exhibition, the last to be held in his
lifetime, and he died some 12 months later.

The Lanarkshire painter John Cunningham (1926-1998) died rather more recently .As so often happens in the immediate aftermath of an artist’s death, the work of this former president of the Glasgow Art Club and regular exhibitor at the Royal Scottish Academy has undergone a critical and commercial
reappraisal and his prices appear to be going through a period of steady
consolidation.

A good representative example, albeit towards the lower end of his
current price scale (which has broken through the £10,000 barrier), was this signed 2ft 1in x 2ft 6in (63.5 x 76cm) canvas, Lobster Pier, Co. Cork, right, which sold at £3900 at the Glasgow rooms of McTears (15% buyer’s premium) on September 26.

Totally fresh to the market, having been presented as a retirement gift to an employee of the West of Scotland Trustee Savings Bank in 1978, it had been estimated at £2000-3000.

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Written by

ATG Reporter

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