2018-05-30-2019-01-23 --- 2019-01-23 01:03:27--18
Hover to zoom in

LOT :66
Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957)
Estimate EUR : €80,000.00 - €120,000.00
Auction Date : 30-05-2018


Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957)

The Belle of Chinatown (1943)

Oil on canvas, 35.5 x 46cm (14 x 18")



Provenance: Purchased at the 1943 exhibition by well-known collector Jack Toohey. Sold in these rooms 11th December 1990 Lot 45, thence by descent.


Exhibited: 'Later Paintings' Jack B Yeats Exhibition, Victor Waddington Gallery, Dublin Nov 1943, Cat. No. 12;

'National Loan Exhibition' Jack B Yeats Exhibition June/July 1945, Cat. No. 126;

'From Yeats to Ballagh' Arts Council Exhibition, Lunds Konsthall, Sweden, April-May 1972, Cat. No. 52


Literature: 'Jack B Yeats: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings' Hilary Pyle, Vol 11, Cat. No. 582 p535


The genesis of this intriguing work is found in sketches of 1904 and 1905. In 1904 Yeats travelled to New York where an exhibition of his work had been organised by John Quinn. Whilst there he was intrigued by the sights of the city, especially its cosmopolitan mix of races and its streetscapes of signs and advertisements. He visited and sketched Chinatown several times. The young girl with the large flowery hat, the "Belle of Chinatown", is found in the pages of one of these New York sketchbooks (83, X180, Yeats Archive, National Gallery of Ireland). He drew a second sketch of the figure a year later when he was staying at Freshford with J. M. Synge. This is inscribed 'Chinatown, New York'.


Yeats has elaborated on these earlier drawings a great deal in this painting created forty years later. The child stands in the daylight in front of a darkened side-street. Next to her in the full glare of the light is a stall on which are displayed an array of hats at 5 c each. An old man, the vendor, is seated behind it. The contrast between youth and age is sharply observed with the man's gaze directed at the bizarre sight of a tiny girl wearing the enormous hat. The dramatic changes in light caused partly by the scale of the buildings also fascinated Yeats. On the left hand side numerous marks of yellow and red indicate the colourful signs and banners of Chinatown. The richly textured use of paint conveys the steep perspective of the streetscape while imparting a strange vignette of the city, reconstructed and enriched by Yeats's combination of memory and imagination. A related painting is "The Public Letter Writer", 1953, (Private Collection) which is also based on his memories of New York, highlighting again cosmopolitan life.


Dr. Roisin Kennedy



i. Hilary Pyle, Jack B. Yeats. A catalogue raisonné of the oil paintings, 1992, II, p.535.

Hammer Price : €108,000.00
  • en
  • fr
  • es
  • it
  • de
  • ru
  • zh-CN
  • el
  • nl


1. Estimates and Reserves

Estimates are shown below each lot in this sale. All amounts shown are in Euro. The figures shown are provided merely as a guide to prospective purchasers. They are approximate prices which are expected, are not definitive and are subject to revision. Reserves, if any, will not be any higher than the lower estimate.

2. Artists Resale Rights (Droit de Suite) is NOT payable by purchasers

3. Paddle Bidding (In Person)

All intending purchasers must register for a paddle number before the auction. Please allow time for registration. We recommend reading "Buying at Adam's" for first time buyers from our web site for more information. Please be aware that photographic identification by way of passport or driving licence will be required for new registrants, together with a secure valid credit card. This is for security purposes only. Potential purchasers are recommended to register on viewing days.

3. Buyer's Premium, Payment & Delivery

Buyers Premium:

The buyer shall pay the Auctioneer a commission at the rate of 20% on the Hammer Price plus VAT @ 23% (applied only to the commission) on all individual lots.

For example on a hammer price of €1,000, the Buyer's Premium amounts to €200 and the VAT on the Buyer's Premium amounts to €46.00, giving a total amount due of €1,246


All purchases must be paid for within two calendar days of the sale. Our payment terms are cash, banker's draft or cheque drawn on an Irish bank. Cheques will take a minimum of five working days to clear the bank, unless they have been vouched to our satisfaction prior to the sale, or you have a previous cheque payment history with Adam's. We also accept the following Credit Cards: Visa & Mastercard, subject to a credit card surcharge of 1.5% of the total invoice value, & American Express, subject to a surcharge of 3.65%. Debit cards, including Laser card payments, are not subject to a surcharge, however there are daily limits on Laser Card payments. Bank Transfer details are available on request. Please ensure that all bank charges are paid in addition to the invoice total, in order to avoid delays in release of the items. Goods will only be released upon clearance through the bank of all monies due.

Delivery takes place the day after the sale from 10.00am to 5.00pm. Uncollected lots may be subject to storage and handling charges unless specific arrangements have been made with the department. It is important to make contact with us in this regard to avoid any unnecessary charges. Adam's outsource all carriage & shipping requests to recommended third parties whom we deal with on a regular basis. This list is available upon request.

4. VAT Regulations

All lots are sold within the Auctioneer's VAT Margin Scheme unless advised to the contrary. Revenue Regulations require that the Buyer's Premium must be invoiced at a rate which is inclusive of VAT. This is not recoverable by any VAT registered buyer.

The VAT on buyer's premium may be zero rated for lots exported outside of the EU. This facility is available to non-residents and has strict guidelines in relation to availing of this scheme. Please contact a member of the accounts department to enquire further.

5. Absentee and Telephone Bids

We are happy to execute absentee or written bids for bidders who are unable to attend or can arrange for bidding to be conducted by telephone. Bid forms are available from our web site or you can leave absentee bids online by registering on Cancellation of bids must be confirmed 24 hours before the auction.

Bidding by telephone may be booked on lots with a minimum estimate of €500. Early booking is advisable as availability of lines cannot be guaranteed.

6. Condition Reports

The property is sold "as is" therefore imperfections/defects are not stated in the catalogue description. It is up to the intending purchaser to satisfy themselves as to the condition of a lot(s) before bidding. Condition reports may be requested in advance of sale subject to our terms of business. The report is an expression of opinion only and must not be treated as a statement of fact.

7. Conditions of Sale

All lots are being sold under the Conditions of Sale as printed in the sale catalogue and on display in the salerooms or via our web site