Demand for works by Irish painters reflected in two separate London art sales where record prices are expected.

There has been a growing demand for Irish art in recent years. The boom in demand that it is likely that record prices will be achieved at auctions at Christies and Sotheby's. One Jack B Yeats painting is expected to fetch over a million pounds.

Sothebys have been holding sales dedicated to Irish paintings since 1995 and the prices achieved have been getting higher and higher. The higher prices is also reflected at sales at Christies. Both auction houses will this week hold their Irish sales on consecutive days.

At the top of this premier league of Irish painters are Jack Yeats, Louis le Broquy and Sir John Lavery. They’re the only Irish artists to have made over a million pounds at auction.

Two Louis le Broquy paintings 'Sick Tinker Child’ (1946) and ‘Travellers Making Twig Sign’ (1946) are expected to generate considerable interest at the Sotheby’s sale. According to Joanna Doidge-Harrison of Sotheby’s,

Irish art was undervalued for a long, long time.

She points to a critical reassessment of Irish art alongside a booming Irish economy and a growing international awareness of Irish painters has led to a rise in prices.

Jack B Yeats’ painting ‘The Whistle of a Jacket’ is expected to go for over a million pounds at the Christies auction. Bernard Williams of Christies says that interest in Irish paintings comes internationally but mainly from people who celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 14 May 2001. The reporter is Brian O’Connell.