A recent Irish Art Auction at Christie’s has seen an almost non-existent figure resurface in the auction halls. This figure was virtually unknown until July, when the sale of a collection of Irish art by Cork-born political cartoonist John Fergus O’Hea was announced. One of the highlight lots at the sale was a stunning oil painting of Punchestown Races, an important historical record of the racecourse in 1868.
In this year’s Irish Art Auction, there are 120 lots in the General Art Auction, featuring works by notable Irish artists. Bidding is open now and continues until 6pm on Tuesday, February 2nd. Lots will close at intervals of sixty seconds. If a buyer waits until the last minute to bid, the bidding period will be extended by one minute. Otherwise, if no bid is made on a piece, it will sell in numerical order.
Irish art auctions were once largely London and Dublin-centric. In 2005, a Galway art dealer, Dr. Niall Dolan, saw a gap in the market and realised that there was a rich artistic culture in the West of the country. Moreover, many Irish painters had sought inspiration from this region.
The austere economic climate has affected the Irish art market. The demand for quality investments increased due to the uncertain Euro and falling stock markets. An increasing number of investors consider Irish blue chip paintings as part of their portfolios, including works by high-profile artists.