Jack Yeats' A Fair Day, Mayo sold for €1m (£917,430) at Adams.

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In a result which could provide a much-need shot in the arm to the Irish art market, the price on September 28 was the second highest for the artist, only marginally behind The Whistle of a Jacket, which made £1m at Christie's in May 2001.

The bidding started at £300,000 and three bidders were still in contention up to £920,000. It finally sold to a private collector on the phone, underbid by the London trade. Afterwards the auctioneers said they believed the painting would be staying in Ireland.

The 2ft x 3ft (61 x 92cm) oil on canvas showing a bustling country fair in West Coast Ireland was a well-known picture to followers of the country's greatest modern painter. It dated from 1925, a key year when the artist began to move away from his early narrative style towards expressionism.

Yeats had lent it to Eamon de Valera, the leader of the new Fianna Fail party, who displayed it in his offices at Suffolk Place before it was sold for £250 to the vendor's family in 1944.

The buyer's premium was 18 per cent.