Donnelly’s Hollow by the Irish artist Jack B. Yeats is among the leading works at Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art Sale in London on Wednesday 13 June. It is estimated at £300,000-500,000 (€340,000-570,000).
The large work (36×24 inches) depicts the natural amphitheatre 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 revisit in maturity the obsessions of the artist’s youth. The scene shows a group of visitors paying homage at the monument, and features Yeats himself standing on the hill looking down on it, meditatively.
Other sale highlights include:
- Summer Landscape by John Minton (1917-1947). Executed in 1945 after visits to south Cornwall, the large pen and ink work shows the abiding influence on Minton of the etchings and drawings of the 19th century landscape Romantic painter, Samuel Palmer. Estimate: £30,000-50,000.
- Maquette for Monolith by Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975). The work, numbered three of nine, was conceived in 1963 and cast the following year. It relates to one of the sculptor’s largest monolithic bronzes, the monumental Squares with Two Circles from 1963. Estimate: £70,000-90,000.
- Demolition Squad by William Roberts (1895-1980). 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. Demolition Squad – a detailed pen and watercolour final preparatory sketch for the finished oil – shows men going about their dangerous work in a bombed-out church in the City of London with quiet and dignified determination.
- A fine selection of works by L.S. Lowry (1887-1976) among which are The Red Bridge, a quintessential Lowry oil from 1959, estimated at £200,000-300,000, and Outside the Mill, a rare fully realized watercolour from 1950 with an estimate of £70,000-100,000.
Bonhams Director of Modern British and Irish Art Matthew Bradbury said, “In a strong sale, the enigmatic masterpiece by Jack Yeats stands out for its raw power. But I am also excited by John Minton’s mesmeric, Neo-Romantic Summer Landscape in which the figures and the landscape meld into one. It’s a highly accomplished composition by an artist at the peak of his powers.”