The auction record for the artist has been broken twice: first at Whyte’s of Dublin in October 2020 and then at Christie’s in July this year.
Whyte’s (20% buyer’s premium) latest Irish art sale on September 27 brought another strong competition, albeit for a much smaller work which made a highly impressive sum per square inch.
A Village in Connemara was a 8 x 10in (20 x 25cm) signed oil on panel from c.1920. It came to auction from a descendant of a Canadian army officer who was based in Ireland during the First World War and had acquired it from the artist not long after it was painted.
As well as market freshness, it had plenty of other features that gave it high appeal: the setting on the west coast of Ireland (most likely on Achill Island, County Mayo), the good date and the depiction of low-lying thatched cottages, the calm stretch of water bordered and the distant mountains.
While the latter were all trademark features, the windswept tree to the foreground made it arguably more striking than some of his more repetitive compositions.
Estimated at €60,000-80,000, the painting was knocked down at €120,000 (£103,450).
Only one work of comparable size has ever fetched more at auction: The Turf Gatherer made €300,000 (£213,510) at a joint sale held by Adam’s and Bonhams in December 2007.
Also bringing competition at the Whyte’s sale was a painting by Henry’s wife Grace depicting a bunch of brightly coloured marigolds in a vase.
Grace Henry (1868-1953) was a Scottish landscape artist who met Paul Henry in Paris and who moved to Ireland around seven years after the couple married in 1903.
This 17 x 13in (43 x 33cm) signed oil on canvas board had an exhibition label for a joint show of the Henrys works at the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin in 1991.
Estimated at €2000-3000, it was knocked down at €8000 (£6895), a good sum for a still-life by the artist which tend to make a bit less than her coastal and figurative works.
£1 = €1.16