Christmas had come early again for James Adams Fine Arts Auction

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Louis Le Brocquy 'Adam and Eve, Aubusson tapestry, signed and dated '52. Sold for €100.000 - hammer price.

Louis Le Brocquy 'Adam and Eve, Aubusson tapestry, signed and dated '52. Sold for €100.000 - hammer price.

In the teeth of a ferocious budget art lovers declared on Monday night in Dublin “to hell with poverty we’ll buy a painting” when Adams auctioneer James O Halloran took the podium for the annual pre Christmas sale. The auction netted over €1.5m on the hammer with 82% of the lots selling. The turnover was more than 10% up on last year with 20% fewer lots this year. Adams have turned over more than £3m between Monday night’s sale and the recent BOI art disposal. Le Brocquy’s work has hardened again in the market place with two fantail pigeons making €48 and €66000 respectively. The two Le Brocquy tapestries performed well with Adam and Eve selling for €100.000 and Allegory selling for €80.000. Patrick Swift excited the saleroom with a rather unattractive work going for €20.000. Gerard Dillon’s Italian Washer Women who have been far too familiar to serious art collectors stood up well being knocked down at €68000 exceeding the top estimate by €8000. Mary Swanzy’s ‘ A Hilltop in the South of France’ made €66000. This is a stiff price when fees are added. Three works which exceeded top estimates in the sale once more illustrate quality wins out and serious collectors will go the extra mile when quality surfaces. Frank Mc Kelvey’s ‘Boating on the Lagan’ €10-15000 made€17000. Estella Solomon’s ‘Seamus reading by the Coast’ took €5000 – the high end of estimate. Similarly Rowan Gillespie’s ‘The Gift’ made €5200, exceeding it’s estimate. Obviously there are still a few ‘coppers’ in Granny’s old armchair. Asked to comment on the sale David Britton of Adams said ” 82% sale is extraordinary in current market. You couldn’t be but happy. We had six bidders for the Dillon and seven bidders for the Swanzy.”


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I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.

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