10:16 AM PDT, August 23, 2021
Now, the paintings are set to go for auction next month in Cincinnati by the Caza Sikes auction house, after they were recently discovered in the estate of Sir Patrick McGovern, who died in 1933, the gallery said.
McGovern, who was a tunnel engineer from Ireland, helped create much of the underground infrastructure in America in cities like Philadelphia, Boston and New York City.
A descendant of McGovern’s in Ohio had the paintings and believed they were prints.
Evan Sikes of the Caza Sikes auction house told the Irish Times that McGovern’s great-grandson “nearly fainted” when he heard the news.
“The owner thought they were prints,” Sikes told the Irish Times. “They were the last two items out of the storage unit and he commented that they were worth nothing. We called the vendor, asked if he was sitting down, and told him what he thought were prints were actually genuine works by a famous Irish artist. He nearly fainted with the news.”
The auction house believes each painting can get between $60,000 to $80,000. The pieces are known as “In Connemara” and “untitled.”
The auction house believes that McGovern acquired the paintings either on a trip back to Ireland, at a New York auction house or that they were purchased by his daughter, Mary Geraldine, during a visit back to Ireland. The paintings were framed in New York City, according to the auction house.
“They are absolutely pristine as they have been beneath glass since they were purchased and have been in the same family since,” Sikes told the Irish Times.