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Saturday 16 December 2017

Yeats paintings among €2m haul sold at auction

Jack B Yeats's painting, Jazz Babies, which sold for
€480,000 at auction yesterday. Photo: PA
Jack B Yeats's painting, Jazz Babies, which sold for €480,000 at auction yesterday. Photo: PA

Allison Bray

An auction of rare Irish art and collectibles -- including four recently discovered paintings by Jack B Yeats -- sold for a total of more than €2m last night.

A pocketwatch immortalised by James Joyce in his masterpiece 'Ulysses' sold for six times the guide price during frantic bidding at Adam's auction house in Dublin.

A rare self-portrait of renowned painter Jack B Yeats called 'Jazz Babies' -- which was last seen in public more than 40 years ago -- sold for the guide price of €480,000.

It was last exhibited at the Victor Waddington gallery in London in 1973.

Described as "a pivotal work" in the artist's transition from early realism to his "later more expressionist approach" it depicts "a remarkably avant-garde image of contemporary life in Dublin in the late 1920s," according to Adam's.

Painted in 1929, it shows a well-dressed man in a hat and a glamourous young woman surrounding by bystanders in a record shop.

It, along with three of his other recently rediscovered works, fetched at total of €698,000.

Three private collectors vied for the 18-carat gold Hunter case pocketwatch and chain that was actually worn by John O'Connell, who presided as the Superintendent of Prospect Cemetery in Glasnevin until his death in 1925.

It was valued at between €8,000 and €12,000 and was bought by an anonymous collector for €60,000.

Mr Joyce made reference to the gold watch and chain worn by Mr O'Connell, whom he referred to as the "Caretaker" who "hung his thumbs in the loop of his gold watch chain and spoke in a discreet tone to their vacant smiles" when the hero Leopold Bloom and others attend the funeral of Paddy Dignam.

A painting called Evening Kildare, which was previously owned by playwright George Bernard Shaw, sold for €36,000.

Irish Independent

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