Belfast Telegraph

Yeats masterpiece sells for 1m euro

A Jack B Yeats masterpiece has sold for one million euro after being held for seven decades out of the public eye by the same family.

The spectacular oil painting - titled A Fair Day, Mayo - was painted in 1925 and once hung in the office of Eamon de Valera when he was leader of the newly formed Fianna Fail.

It sold to an anonymous telephone bidder at the Adam's auction rooms in Dublin, exceeding the guide price of 500,000-800,000 euro.

Auctioneer James O'Halloran, Adam's managing director, declared the sale showed the market for Irish art is in the capital.

"The 24 x 36 work had never been on the market before, yet had been seen in a number of very prestigious exhibitions including Images in Yeats which was held in Monte Carlo in 1990 and more recently The Moderns at IMMA earlier this year," he said.

Adam's said the picture is to stay in Ireland.

The Yeats artwork was sold for IR£250 to Mr JP Reihill Senior in 1944 by Leo Smith and remained in the Reihill family for 67 years.

It is the largest and most valuable work by the country's best-known artist to appear on the market for many years.

The painting hung for years in de Valera offices at Suffolk Place, Dublin. It depicts a bustling country fair representing Irish rural life which experts say probably appealed to de Valera's vision of Ireland.

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