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  • BAG USED TO COLLECT MOON SAMPLES SELLS FOR $1.8 MILLION

    July 21st, 2017

    A bag once nearly thrown out with the rubbish sold for $1.8 million at Sotheby’s in New York.  It was the one Neil Armstrong used to collect the first ever samples of the moon.

    The outer decontamination bag, which was flown to the moon on Apollo 11 and still carries traces of moon dust and small rock, was sold on the 48th anniversary of the first moon landing in 1969.

    Auctioneer Joe Dunning introduced the lot as “an exceptionally rare artifact from mankind’s greatest achievement.” It sold to an anonymous buyer on the telephone following a sluggish five-minute bidding war. Its previous owner was an Illinois lawyer, who bought it in 2015 for $995.

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for June 1, 2017)

    A WORK BY ENGLAND’S MICHELANGELO MAKES £320,750 AT SOTHEBY’S

    July 21st, 2017

    George Frederic Watts(1817-1904) – Orpheus and Eurydice

    One of the greatest compositions by George Frederic Watts, ‘England’s Michelangelo’ sold for £320,750 at Sotheby’s sale of Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite and British Impressionist art in London.  Orpheus and Eurydice remained in Watts’ possession until his death in 1904 when it was inherited by his adopted daughter Lilian. The romantic subject matter may have been inspired by the emotions Watts was experiencing following the breakdown of his first marriage to the young actress Ellen Terry, resulting in their separation after only eleven months.  

    Simon Toll, Sotheby’s Victorian Art Specialist, said: “Orpheus and Eurydice encapsulates everything that made Watts’ art so visionary and revolutionary in the 1860s – powerful drama, a sensual and expressive use of paint and rich colour and reverence for the work of the Italian Old Masters. This hauntingly beautiful vision of lost love is among a handful of his best-known pictures and the most important example of his art to be seen at auction in the last decade and a half. It is fitting that a picture of two lovers emerging from the shadows should itself re-emerge into public view in the year that marks the two-hundred year anniversary of the artist’s birth.”

    MEDAL AWARDED TO DUBLIN CORPORAL MAKES £72,000

    July 20th, 2017

    The Zulu War medal awarded to Corporal James Bushe.
    Photography Jan Starnes© Dix Noonan Webb Ltd

    The Zulu War medal awarded to Dublin Corporal James Bushe made £72,000 at Dix Noonan Webb in London today. It went to an internet bidder.  The estimate was £40,000-50,000 and it was knocked down for a hammer price of £60,000.  This becomes £72,000 with commission.

    Cpl Bushe was one of 16 Irishmen known to have taken part in the defence of Rorke’s Drift – the former trading post of Irish merchant James Rorke – when a 150 strong garrison held off an advance by 4,000 Zulu’s in 1879. He suffered a nose wound from a bullet that killed one of his comrades, but later served in the Mediterranean, India and Burma.

    A tailor by trade he enlisted in 1870 at the age of 18.  He was discharged from the army in 1891 and his later history is unknown.

    The Zulu War medal awarded to another Irishman, Michael Minihan, made £84,000 at Dix Noonan Webb last December. This was a record for  a Rorke’s Drift defender who was not awarded the VC.

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for July 8, 2017)

    A TWO DAY HOUSE CONTENTS AUCTION IN DUN LAOGHAIRE

    July 20th, 2017

    More than 1,200 lots will come under the hammer at a two day house contents sale in Dun Laoghaire on July 22 and 23.  Auctioneer Damien Matthews of Oldcastle will conduct the sale at 15 Royal Terrace West.  It will include antique furniture and silver, antiquarian books, jewellery and collectibles from various estates.  The catalogue is online.

    An interior shot with some of the items to be auctioned.

    15 Royal Terrace West, Dun Laoghaire

    A PHOENIX FROM THE ROYAL DUBLIN IRON WORKS

    July 19th, 2017

    The Phoenix rises again at Fonsie Mealy’s.

    A Phoenix with strong Dublin connections comes up at Fonsie Mealy’s Chatsworth summer fine art sale in Castlecomer on July 25 and 26.  The Phoenix Rises Again  is described in the catalogue as an extremely rare and important 19th Century Irish cast iron model of The Phoenix rising from the flames.  It is from the Royal Phoenix Iron Works, Parkgate St., Dublin and purchased by the father of the present owner more than 80 years ago.  It was mounted on the wall of the company’s premises at 42b Parkage Street, (later Lucan Dairy) and was removed in 1963 when the wall was demolished to make way for a filling station which was built on the site.

    The present example bears a striking resemblance to the ‘Phoenix’ mounted on the column on the main road in the Phoenix Park. Two others similar were located at the side gate of The Phoenix Lodge, which are illustrated in Thomas Milton’s “Views of Seats and Demesnes of the Nobility and Gentry of Ireland,” printed in 1783. The Phoenix Lodge became known later as The Viceregal Lodge, and later Aras an Uachtarain, the residence of the President of Ireland.

    This one is in two parts, the flames approx. 41cms (16″) high, 72cms (28″) diameter, with the eagle, 52cms (20 1/2″) high, and wing spread 98cms (38 1/2″) wide, painted in silver and rust red. Lot 366 in an auction of over 1,000 lots is estimated at 2,000-3,000.

    A RECORD FOR SAMUEL HENRY BROCAS AT CHRISTIE’S

    July 16th, 2017

    Samuel Frederick Brocas (Dublin 1792-1847)
    The General Post Office and Nelson’s Pillar, Sackville Street, with the Dublin Lying-in Hospital beyond

    There was a new auction record for Irish artist Samuel Frederick Brocas at Christie’s classic week sales. A pen and ink and watercolour of the GPO and Nelson’s Pillar, Sackville Street, with the Dublin Lying-in hospital beyond sold for £20,000.

    The General Post Office on Sackville Street, modern day O’Connell Street, is perhaps the most iconic of Dublin’s buildings, serving as the headquarters of the Irish Republicans during the Easter Rising of 1916. The adjacent Nelson’s Pillar survived the Rising but was destroyed by Republicans in 1966. The rotunda of the Dublin Lying-in Hospital, today the Rotunda Gate Theatre, is visible, as is the spire of the St George’s church.

    WILLIAM CROZIER RETROSPECTIVE AT UILINN

    July 16th, 2017

    The River Boundary (Lough Hyne) 1988 by William Crozier

    A William Crozier retrospective has just opened at Uilinn in Skibbereen.  The show presents the west Cork landscapes he made close to his home from the mid 1980’s against a backdrop of his early work inspired by the Existentialist movement and the anxieties of the post war period.

    The exhibition will be shown across two venues with his later works at Uilinn until August 31 and his earlier works at the Irish Museum of Modern Art from October 12 until April 2018.  Both shows are curated by Sean Kissane, exhibitions curator at IMMA.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. REMBRANDT AND THANK YOU

    July 15th, 2017

    The Rijksmuseum is celebrating Rembrandt’s anniversary today with the online publication Drawings by Rembrandt.  Born on July 15, 1606 he is regarded as one of the greatest artists in the history of art. The Rijksmuseum has the most important collection paintings, drawings and prints by Rembrandt in the world.

    All drawings by Rembrandt from the Rijksmuseum collection in Amsterdam will now be available to everyone in high resolution.  This is accompanied with the most up to date knowledge by Rembrandt specialist Peter Schatborn and Head of the Rijksmuseum Printroom Jane Turner. From now on, researchers, students and Rembrandt-lovers will gain new insights, knowledge and inspiration by the 64 landscapes, biblical scenes, portraits and everyday scenes of Rembrandt.

    Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn – Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene as a Gardener c1645 (detail)

    Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn – Saskia sitting by a window c1638 (detail)

    AN EXHIBITION ABOUT SHELTER AND REFUGE

    July 14th, 2017

    Eilis O’Connell – Capsule for Destinies Unknown

    Capsule for Destinies Unknown, a 14 metre long sculpture by Eilis O’Connell, features at ARK at Chester Cathedral until October 15. ARK is a group exhibition  based on the idea of shelter and refuge.  More than 90 works by  renowned artists like Lynn Chadwick, Elisabeth Frink, Antony Gormley, Barbara Hepworth, Damien Hirst, David Mach and Sarah Lucas are in the show curated by Gallery Pangolin.

    O’Connell says she is haunted by stories of the desperate situation refugees find themselves in and a feeling of being unable to help.  “Often I make inviting hollowed out spaces as part of a sculpture, but this one is very different, it’s not that inviting being made of corrugated galvanised steel and polycarbonate sheeting.  These are humble, everyday materials, often used to make temporary living spaces”.  The exhibition at Chester runs until October 15.

    ONLINE ART AND DESIGN AT DE VERES

    July 13th, 2017

    An online art and design auction will be held by Dublin based de Veres on July 18.  Emphasis is very much affordable.  It will include residual pictures from the collection of Michael Carroll, much of whose collection was sold in April.  All were acquired from Dublin galleries the The Dawson, Taylor and Oliver Dowling during the 1970’s and ’80’s. There will be 40 lots of design furniture.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    A WALNUT AND CHROME ART DECO EXTENDING DINING TABLE, by La Metal Arredo, Milan (800-1,200)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 720 AT HAMMER.

    Barry Castle 1935-2006 THE KNITTING WOMAN (800-1,200)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Seamus O’Colmain, 1925-1990 GOSSIP (150-250) UPDATE: THIS MADE 135 AT HAMMER

    Micheal de Burca 1913-1985 WEST OF IRELAND (600-900)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 640 AT HAMMER