John Kelly – Castlehaven – Charity Auction through Sotheby’s Ireland, Wednesday 9 September 2020

john kelly

We would be very grateful if you could take a moment to look at this painting representing the magnificent view from Ceim Hill looking over Castlehaven Harbour between Reen Peninsula and Castletownsend.  It has been donated by John and is going to be auctioned for charity by Sotheby’s Ireland in appreciation of those who helped to save his life on 12 August, 2018.

The reason for the auction, in aid of Cork University Hospital and West Cork Rapid Response, at Sotheby’s in Dublin

9th of September 2020

Having lived  in west Cork for 17 years in this magnificent part of the world as a healthy and robust person I became acutely aware of both the fragility of life and the vulnerability that comes with living in a rural environment. 

 In August 2018 I collapsed and would have died if it hadn’t been for the combined response of my wonderful family and local friends, the medical ‘first responders’, the ambulance service and extraordinary care offered by medics and staff at Cork University Hospital.

 As a gesture of my appreciation, this painting is going to be auctioned through Sotheby’s Ireland in September this year with all proceeds going to the CUH Charity and west Cork Rapid Response unit.

John Kelly

The Story of John’s collapse

Following are two quotes from the attached, and beautifully written, article in the Sunday Independent which, for me, illustrates how an awful situation can end in a very positive way:

“‘I’m going to call an ambulance’. I went inside, and in the meantime, John went upstairs. Thank God Oscar followed him, because that’s when the seizures started. I was on the phone to the ambulance, and Oscar called down to say his father had gone blue.”  

“I’ve lost nearly three years, and three international exhibitions I was not able to fulfil. But when I got out of hospital it was confirmed that my painting was collected into the Yale Centre for British Art, something I could only dream of as a young student on a scholarship to the Slade School of Art.”


What’s the story of this painting

Since the start of a very successful international career, the landscape always appeared as simply a backdrop to John’s series of  ‘Dobell’s Cows’ works.  In 2003, due to a serious setback when John was sued in 2001, in Paris, for a sum of €400,000 (plus expenses) by a French Art dealer for accepting an invitation to exhibit in an International sculpture exhibition, we decided to move to Ireland.

Upon arriving we found, literally, a ‘haven’ in Castlehaven, and John mentioned to me the landscape was inspiring. At this time the landscape was the vehicle upon which he could literally ground himself.

He took to painting in and around our west Cork home, starting with the view of Castlehaven Harbour from the top of Ceim Hill. As he painted up there a neighbour paused to chat, stopping to looking over his shoulder and saying, “Many have tried” before moving on with her walk.

The start of John’s obsession with Castlehaven Harbour began with a few drinks at the Merion Hotel in Dublin, where he came across a small painting titled Killary Harbour, an early 20th century painting by Paul Henry. It led to nearly a decade of landscape plein air painting taking in the Burren, Ireland, Venice, Italy, the ‘outback’ in central Australia, Hanging Rock and the Great Ocean Road, Australia  (30 paintings commissioned for a private client) and a 2013 expedition to paint ‘en-plein air’ in Antarctica, resulting in 57 paintings and a book, Beyond Woop Woop, accompanied by an exhibition at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Many have tried, and it will be up to you, the collector, to decide if he has succeeded in this painting.

Following is the link to the on-line Sotheby’s catalogue – lot no. 56

Any support you can give, either by bidding yourself, and / or sharing this information with potential friends/collectors would be very, very much appreciated.

With sincere thanks,

Christina and John

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