Six years after it was sold at Whyte’s Auction House in Dublin, a controversial nude portrait of musician Sinead O’Connor will arrive again on the market. Entitled “Strange Days,” the painting was sold in 2005 at the Irish Art Exhibition at the Royal Dublin Society for €15,000 ($20,410).
Painted by Jim Fitzpatrick, who also authored the cover art for O’Connor’s 2000 album “Faith and Courage,” the painting appears somewhat humbled after its return from the previous owner, with a new asking price at Whyte’s set at €10,000 ($13,784).
The painting, which includes in the background the Pigeon House area of Dublin (as per O’Connor’s request) is signed both by the artist and by O’Connor herself. It depicts the Irish singer-songwriter reclining on a purple sheet, wearing only a necklace and stockings, with her face reflected in a mirror.
Even with the subject’s back to the viewer, the painting features billowing drapery and an elongated nude pose that recalls Titian’s “Venus and the Lute Player” (1565-70) (a comparison can be seen above).
Ian Whyte, managing director of Whyte’s auction house, which oversaw the sale and repurchase of the painting, remarked: “We often find men who buy nude paintings and bring them home tend to arrive back with them for the next auction because they didn’t consult ‘the management’ at home.” Whyte declined to comment on rumors of the auction house’s catalogue soon featuring a topless portrait of Dolores O’Riordan.