The Ernie O’Malley Collection

Dublin, 25 November 2019

Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871–1957), The Fighting Dawn, 1945. Estimate: €250,000–350,00. This work is offered by Whyte's in association with Christie's, Dublin, 25 November 2019

Christie’s, in association with Whyte’s Auction House in Dublin, will offer works from The Ernie O’Malley Collection, highlighted by five paintings by Jack Butler Yeats. Comprised of 100 lots, including early sketches by Yeats and work by the artists Mainie Jellett, Evie Hone, Louis le Brocquy, Colin Middleton and Norah McGuinness, the auction will form an anthology of Irish art from the early 1900s to the 1950s. Ernie O’Malley was an experienced officer in Ireland from 1916-22 who went on to publish two books detailing his experiences. The sale and international exhibitions provide an opportunity to discover his private passion for art and the relationships he developed with artists he encountered in America and Ireland.

Ernie O’Malley met Jack B. Yeats in Dublin at the home of the art enthusiast and historian Constantine Curran in 1937 where the two became friends, meeting and corresponding regularly. The Enfolding Night (1947, estimate: €500,000-700,000 / £440,000-615,000 approximately) depicts three figures walking through a barren landscape towards an intense light while a fourth figure is seated in the foreground. The painting is one of several existential subjects that Yeats painted in the late 1940s, as he approached his 80th birthday. The composition is theatrical, heightened by dramatic contrasts of light and shade.

Highlights will be on view in New York from 23 to 27 October 2019, and London from 16 to 18 November. The full pre-sale exhibition can be viewed at the Royal Dublin Society from 23 to 25 November 2019, with the auction held in the same location at 6pm on 25 November 2019.

Sale information

  • Auction

    25 Nov, 6pm

    Royal Dublin Society
    Anglesea Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

  • General Enquiries

    Whyte’s, 38 Molesworth Street
    Dublin D02 KF80
    Tel: +971 (0) 1 676 2888

  • Partnership

    This sale is held in association with
    Christie’s London
    Tel:+44 (0)20 7839 9060



  • Location

    Christie's London
    8 King Street
    London SW1Y 6QQT

  • Viewing

    16 Nov, 12pm – 5pm
    17 Nov, 12pm – 5pm
    18 Nov, 9am – 4:30pm


  • Location

    Whyte's Auction House
    Royal Dublin Society
    Anglesea Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

  • Viewing

    23 Nov, 10am – 6pm
    24 Nov, 10am – 6pm
    25 Nov, 10am – 6pm