Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    June 23rd, 2018
    A George III dining table at Sheppards sale in Co. Wicklow on June 26, 27 and 28 is of particular interest because of recent events Stateside.  The 20 foot long table is estimated at 30,000-50,000.  The estimate on a similar table at a sale in New York last month was the same.  But the Regency four pedestal dining table from the Rockefeller Collection was knocked down for $468,500 dollars in a global sale where many lots exceeded all expectations. The $832 million realised from that auction was the highest total ever for a single collection and the most significant charitable auction in history.
    Sheppards sale at Coolattin House, Shillelagh, Co. Wicklow is now on view.  It is composed of lots from the collection of the late Kanturk based solicitor Gerard O’Keeffe and other clients. The sale will be held over six sessions next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10.30 am and 2 pm on each day.
    There is a series of 18th century Irish furniture pieces including two side tables with scallop carved aprons.   Among the works of art is a Portrait of lady in a red silk gown by John Michael Wright.  It is from Cloghan Castle, Co. Offaly and was purchased at a Sotheby’s sale of Old Master paintings in 1968.  There is an Irish landscape by William Ashford and work by Hugh Douglas Hamilton.

    The collection of Gerard O’Keeffe forms a major part of the sale and it includes a collection of ivory and a series of watches including a Piaget.  There is a selection of contemporary Irish art and sculpture, Irish and international literature, bookcases and garden lots in a wide ranging auction of nearly 2,000 lots.

    A George III four pillar dining table

    A George III Chippendale bookcase

    A portrait of a lady in a red silk


    June 21st, 2018

    Pablo Picasso, Femme dans un fauteuil (Dora Maar)

    The Impressionist and Modern sale at Christie’s in London last night made £128,081,750.  The top lot was Claude Monet’s exterior view of the Gare St. Lazare which made £24.9 million.

    Picasso’s Femme dans un fauteuil (Dora Maar) made £19.3 million.  Franz Marc’s Drei Pferde sold for £15.4 million, six times the estimate of £2.5 million and Auguste Rodin’s Baiser, moyen modele made £12.6 million.

    A landscape by Kazimir Malevich made £7.8 million and L’Estaque by Georges Braque sold for £5.2 million.  Strong results were also achieved by German and Austrian artists.


    June 20th, 2018

    Fresh to market works by Picasso, Giacometti, Monet, Kandinsky and Matisse brought a total of  £87.5 million  at Sothebys sale of Impressionist and Modern art in London last night.   The auction was led by Buste de femme de profil (Femme écrivant) from Picasso’s ‘year of wonders’, 1932, which sold for over ten times the £2.4 million it achieved when last at auction in 1997. At £27.3 million it brought the total for four works by Picasso in the sale to £40 million.

    Giacometti’s elegant Le Chat sold for £12.6 million. Subsequent to this rendition of a cat, a dog and two horses in 1951, Giacometti never turned his hand to sculpting animals again. Monet’s dazzling La Méditerranée par vent de mistral  made £7.2 million and Camille Pissarro’s Le boulevard Montmartre, brume du matin, from the artist’s most celebrated series of urban views, was acquired by an Asian private collector for £3.5 million.

    Pablo Picasso – Buste de femme de profil

    Alberto Giacometti – Le Chat


    June 19th, 2018

    Quentin Blake, Charlie, Willie Wonka and Grandpa
    Joe (£10,000-15,000)

    A series of illustrations from the  collection of Quentin Blake, one of Britain’s best-loved illustrators, come up at Christie’s in London on July 11. A selection of 30 illustrations feature in the Valuable Books and Manuscripts auction alongside a dedicated online sale of 148 illustrations from July 3 to 12.

    The collection comprises works from the past 40 years of Quentin Blake’s career, showcasing some of the most celebrated literary characters of today, which have captured the imagination of generations of children including Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Twits, and James and the Giant Peach to David Walliams’s Mr Stink. Alongside these cherished children’s stories, the sale presents collectors the opportunity to acquire works from various other projects that Blake has worked on including editions illustrated for The Folio Society and artwork for J Sheekey Restaurant, along with illustrations for various public spaces, such as St George’s Hospital, Tooting and the Maternity Unit at Angers University Hospital in France.

    They are being sold to benefit House of Illustration, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity and Survival International. Estimates range from £200 to £10,000.


    June 17th, 2018

    Arthur Devis (1712-1787) – James, Ist Duke of Leinster and his wife Emily

    This 1753 painting by Arthur Devis (1712-1787) shows James, Ist Duke of Leinster and his wife Emily seated in the grounds of Carton – a garden said to have become the model on which all later gardens in Ireland were styled.  Emily, who played an important role in the development of the house and estate, holds designs for a new bridge.  She created the Chinese Room and the shell cottage on the estate,  The grounds were re-designed in the naturalistic style of Capability Brown, incorporating an informal park, artificial lake and island, a kitchen garden and hothouses.

    Emily Lennox married James FitzGerald, 20th Earl of Kildare  and the future 1st Duke of Leinster at Richmond House, the London residence of her parents.  Those parents, the Duke and Duchess of Richmond, opposed the match at first, preferring an English man.  The wedding was magnificent but it was rumoured, incorrectly, that her parents had not given her a shilling. In fact she got £10,000, the same as her two younger sisters.  The marriage was a happy one and they had 19 children.  The work, from the collection of the current Duke of Leinster, comes up at Bonhams Old Master Paintings sale in London on July 4 estimated at £80,000-120,000.


    June 16th, 2018
    The 18th century exhibitions of the Society of Artists have been recreated to mark the restoration of the City Assembly House at South William St. in Dublin. The Irish Georgian Society is marking the re-incarnation of the first purpose built public gallery in Britain and Ireland with a show by artists like Thomas Roberts, Jonathan Fisher, James Forrester, Robert Carver, Robert Healy and Hugh Douglas Hamilton. It includes work first displayed in a series of shows held here between 1766 and 1780.
    Exhibiting Art in Georgian Ireland is curated by Dr. Ruth Kenny, formerly assistant curator of British Art 1750-1830 at Tate Britain.  She has identified over 80 works that showcase the initial exhibitions by the Society of Artists founded in 1764.  They are on loan from National Institutions and private collections.
    The restoration of the City Assembly House by the Irish Georgian Society is part of a capital refurbishment project that began in 2013.  The work included the reinstatement of the octagonal room built in 1766 as an exhibition space, renamed now as the Knight of Glin exhibition room after the former president of the Society, Desmond FitzGerald.  The exhibition opens today and runs to July 29.  It is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm.

    Portrait of an officer of an irish Volunteer Regiment by John Trotter

    Sheet of Water by Thomas Roberts


    June 15th, 2018

    Four paintings created by three of the key players in the development of Impressionist art come up at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern sale in London on June 19.  Each one embodies a different aspect of the movement, together providing an engaging insight into one of the most important periods of art history. The journey opens with Boudin’s Crinolines sur la plage (1866) and Monet’s Le Port de Zaandam (1871)marking the beginnings of Impressionist painting, with both artists painting en plein air to capture fleeting ‘impressions’ of time and place. In a rare still-life painted the following decade, Monet adapts the pioneering techniques of this ‘new’ art to a traditional subject, and the story ends with Pissarro’s majestic urban view of fin-de-siècle Paris.

    Commenting on this group, Philip Hook, Senior Specialist, Sotheby’s Board Director and author of Rogues’ Gallery: A History of Art and its Dealers, said: ‘Three of the works also share a connection with one of the most remarkable men in the history of the Impressionist movement – Paul Durand-Ruel. Durand-Ruel was drawn to contemporary art and to the process of painters painting pictures, and dedicated his life to developing a wider appreciation for such works, creating the modern art market in the process. No dealer was closer to an artistic movement than Durand-Ruel was to Impressionism – he was its promoter and its champion, its defender and its bankroller. Without him, and these revolutionary artists, art history might have looked very different.’

    Claude Monet, Le Port de Zaandam (£3.5-5 million)

    Eugène Boudin, Crinolines sur la plage (£600,000-900,000)

    Claude Monet, Citrons sur une branche (£2.5-3.5 million)

    Camille Pissarro, Le Boulevard Montmartre, brume du matin (£3-5 million)  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £3.4 MILLION


    June 15th, 2018

    Jean-Michel Basquiat – New York New York

    An early Basquiat masterpiece capturing the urban energy of New York’s cityscape comes up at Sotheby’s contemporary art evening sale in London on June 26.  New York New York was painted in 1981 at the moment when his ground-breaking practice came to the attention of the international art world.   It has been in the same private collection in Italy for over 35 years and is estimated at £7-10 million. “I wanted to paint like the Lower East Side and what it was like to live there”  the artist said. The work narrates his transition from spray painting the streets of Manhattan to painting on canvas. Unconstrained by convention, his paintings on canvas and found objects of 1980-81 fully embraced the urban environment that surrounded him and speak the language of New York’s city streets.

    New York, New York was made for Basquiat’s debut solo exhibition, which took place at Galleria d’Arte Emilio Mazzoli in Modena, Italy in 1981. The show came about following the artist’s participation in the legendary New York / New Wave exhibition at P.S.1. in 1980 – an underground show at a rundown former school in Long Island that came to define a moment and was recently celebrated in the Barbican Centre’s Boom for Real exhibition. It was at P.S. 1 that visionary gallerist Emilio Mazzoli first encountered Basquiat’s work and subsequently set the wheels in motion for the artist’s international debut. The Italian show was named SAMO, after Basquiat’s street tag (an abbreviation for the phrase ‘same old shit’). The exhibition’s title marked the coming of age of the downtown graffiti-poet. This is one of the first of Basquiat’s works in which the three-pointed crown plays a central role. Basquiat’s shorthand for a long overdue ennoblement of black subjectivity in western art, the crown is repeated twice in this work, emblazoned in metallic-silver spray paint and flanking the left and right sides of the composition.


    June 14th, 2018

    An Irish marble topped side table from the sale of the William Randolph Hearst collection in New York in 1939 is a feature lot at the At Home sale by James Adam in Dublin on June 17.  It is estimated at 8,000-10,000. A George IV silver vine leaf dessert service is estimated at 6,000-10,000 and a set of George III neoclassical candlesticks is estimated at 6,000-8,000.   There are 672 lots.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    AN IRISH MARBLE TOPPED SERPENTINE SIDE TABLE, c.1830 once in the Hearst Collection (8,000-10,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 8,000 AT HAMMER

    A George IV dessert set, Sheffield, 1829 (6,000-10,000).  UPDATE: THESE MADE 16,500 AT HAMMER


    A SET OF FOUR GEORGE III NEO-CLASSICAL SILVER CANDLESTICKS, London 1785, mark of John Wakelin & William Taylor (6,000-8,000)  UPDATE: THESE MADE 7,000 AT HAMMER



    June 13th, 2018

    The interest in Irish sculpture was one of the most heartening aspects of a highly successful sale by de Veres in Dublin last night.  There was impressive hammer prices for a number of lots. Marching On by Patrick O’Reilly made 50,000 at hammer, Click by Rowan Gillespie made 30,500 at hammer, Black Angel by Michael Warren made 24,000 at hammer and Tumbling by Bob Quinn made 10,500. Here are some examples:

    Life (2002) by Rowan Gillespie made 25,000 at hammer over a top estimate of 15,000.

    Swallows by Colm Brennan made 15,500 at hammer over a top estimate of 9,000.

    Heron in the Reeds by James McCarthy made 8,000 at hammer over a top estimate of 5,000.

    Marching On by Patrick O’Reilly made 50,000 at hammer over a top estimates of 30,000