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  • ROCKEFELLER COLLECTION ON TOUR

    January 16th, 2018

    A George II gold Irish freedom box is among the highlights of the collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller which Christie’s is touring prior to sales at Christie’s Rockefeller Center in New York in late spring. The freedom box, to the far right of the composite image above,  is by William Currie, Dublin and estimated at $30,000-50,000.  Christie’s has confirmed additional dates and locations for preview exhibitions of the collection to its flagship galleries in London (February 21 – March 8), Beijing (April 6 – 7), Los Angeles (April 6 – 12), and Shanghai (April 10 – 11). With each stop on the pre-sale tour, additional works of art and objects will be unveiled, revealing new facets of this storied, multi-category collection. The exhibitions, which are open to the public, are sponsored in partnership with private aviation company VistaJet.

    As a guide for collectors, Christie’s has launched a special issue of Christie’s Magazine dedicated to the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller. The issue re-acquaints readers with the Rockefeller family’s unique place in American history, and their long legacy in the realms of art collecting, commerce, and philanthropy. All of the estate proceeds from the sale of the Collection will benefit established charities.

    A PICASSO PORTRAIT OF MARIE-THERESE AT SOTHEBY’S

    January 14th, 2018

    Pablo Picasso
    Femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée (Marie-Thérèse Walter)

    A 1937 portrait of Picasso’s powerful muse Marie-Therese is to be the highlight of Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art evening sale in London on February 28.  Picasso’s Femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée (Marie-Thérèse Walter) brings to a climax a turbulent and highly charged year. Guernica was created in 1937, and in the final month of that year he painted this intense image of his golden muse Marie-Thérèse Walter.

    The painting Picasso’s evolving relationship with his muse Marie-Thérèse Walter, to whom he was ostensibly still devoted at the time, and the increasingly dominant presence of his new lover Dora Maar. Indeed, the work appears to have been used as a means for exploring his feelings for the two women. There is a conscious blurring of the two styles inspired by the two muses, reaching its pinnacle in the silhouetted ‘other’ that emerges from behind the main subject. Whether it represents Maar or indeed a self-portrait, the implication is that of duality and conflict. Picasso is quoted: ‘It must be painful for a girl to see in a painting that she is on the way out’.

    THE ECLECTIC COLLECTOR SALE AT WHYTE’S

    January 13th, 2018
    From the Indian Mutiny to a group image with Michael Collins, an 1866 engraving of the opening of the Cork Macroom Railway to car travelling in the south of Ireland in 1836 Whyte’s Eclectic Collector sale in Dublin on February 3 promises to be brimful of interest.
    These auctions have thrown up a huge variety of fascinating items of interested to all sorts of collectors.  Not surprising then how popular they have proved to be.
    The 1922 photo of Michael Collins with Free State army officers shows a group of five, four in uniform, one in civilian clothing, standing on a roadway.  The handwritten caption reads:  “Col. Dunphy – Michael – Dalton – McMahon – O’Hegarty”.  Pasted on a mount it is estimated at 200-300.
    There is a set of six Bianconi prints by Michael Angelo Hayes and signed by Bianconi on car travelling in the south of Ireland in 1836. Born in Italy in 1786 and a refugee from Napoleon’s armies Carlo Bianconi came to Ireland at the age of 16 and started out as an engraver and printseller in Dublin. In Clonmel in 1815 he established the first reliable public transport in Ireland when he began a regular carriage service between Clonmel and Cahir. The cost was one penny farthing a mile. The service continued to the 1850’s by which time there were a number of railway services in Ireland. Framed in rosewood and gilt frames the prints are estimated at 800-1,200.
    A collection of 13 hand coloured engraved topographical views of Munster includes four views of Cork and environs after Bartlett, four views of west Cork and Kerry by Day and Haghe and four views of Limerick and Tipperary by Alexander Hogg. They are estimated to make 150-200.  Viewing for the sale of over 500 lots gets underway on January 31 and the catalogue is already online.

    A 1922 group roadside photograph with Michael Collins

    An engraving by Michael Angelo Hayes signed by Bianconi

    Wilkinson’s Sword – a Victorian 1845 sword by Henry Wilkinson, Pall Mall, London

    CARDIN’S FURNITURE SCULPTURES AT SOTHEBY’S PARIS

    January 10th, 2018

    THE furniture sculptures of Pierre Cardin are not installed along the walls, but in the centre of the room so that it is possible to walk around them.  This January Sotheby’s Paris is mounting an exhibition of the utilitarian sculptures of Cardin from 1970. With their extravagant and organic forms these pieces are still very much in demand.  At the  age of 96, Pierre Cardin remains a man and a brand, the sign of absolute success, still celebrated and exhibited in all four corners of the world.  The exhibition runs from January 17-24.

    Selette 1976 – a fridge, bar, cabinet.

    Presentoir 1980

    AN IRISH PAWFOOT ON AN ENGLISH OAK BENCH

    January 10th, 2018

    A contemporary English oak Irish pawfoot bench is among the highlights of Christie’s Interiors sale in London on January 31.  By Howe Modern it is estimated at £2,500-3,500.  The array of lots in the Interiors sale includes  property from the collection of Sir David and Lady Tang, property from Bywell Hall, Northumberland and property from Howe London.  The auction will offer a mix of old and the new, decorative and eclectic, from both collectors and individuals.

    A key highlight from the sale includes a selection of property from the London home of Sir David and Lady Tang, an unabashed socialite and bon vivant Sir David Tang was often referred to as ‘London’s best connected man’ .  Here is a small selection:

    An English oak Irish pawfoot bench by Howe Modern

    A set of 20 Louis XV style chairs

    An Austrian baby grand piano by Bosendorfer

    NELSON’S LEGEND AT SOTHEBY’S SALE

    January 7th, 2018

    The Victory Jack.

    A selection of 256 royal and aristocratic heirlooms at Sotheby’s in London on January 17  is spearheaded by 79 objects celebrating Lord Horatio Nelson. The “Of Royal and Noble Descent” sale will include a large fragment of the Union Jack believed to have flown from  HMS Victory at the battle of Trafalgar.  It is estimated at £80,000-100,000.  Nelson’s grog chest  with its carefully cased set of fine decanters kept in his cabin at sea has an estimate of £35,000-45,000.  Love letters from Nelson to his mistress Lady Hamilton shed light on a liaison that scandalised England in the 18th century.

    Nelson’s victory at the battle of Trafalgar confirmed Britain’s  naval supremacy for the next hundred years. His Nelson’s legend is increased by his death at the very moment of his greatest triumph – shot down in the heat of battle, in the midst of his men, leading from the front.

    The sale offers furniture, paintings, decorative arts and precious objects  from European dynasties and historical figures, including the Duchesse du Berry, the House of Bourbon and a number of German princely families.

    ONE MORE WEEK OF BLODAU AT THE HUNT MUSEUM

    January 6th, 2018

    Havana by Dietrich Blodau

    Dietrich Blodau, A Life of Observation runs for just one more week at the Hunt Museum in Limerick.

    The show, which marks the 80th birthday of the artist, records the contribution he has made over four decades to the arts in Ireland. He came to the Limerick College of Art  in 1970.  The show includes paintings, illustrations, prints and posters.  It runs until Sunday, January 14.

    ANNUAL TURNER EXHIBITION AT NATIONAL GALLERY OF IRELAND

    January 1st, 2018
    The annual January exhibition of Turner watercolours at the National Gallery of Ireland  this year is a conversation across the centuries. Good Morning Mister Turner – Niall Naessens and J.M.W. Turner – brings together the gallery’s Vaughan Bequest of 31 watercolours and a series of etchings and drawings by the Brandon based printmaker who worked as master printer in the Graphic Studio for many years.
    Naessens approaches Turner’s works obliquely, not as images to be imitated or interpreted, but as a means of looking at the landscape. He has created an artists book with 13 small etchings in a yellow box, eleven framed prints and five drawings for the exhibitions.

    Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) -Ostend Harbour, c.1840 Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

    Niall Naessens (b.1961) – Artist Seen Taking in the Morning, 2017 © Niall Naessens

    SOTHEBY’S SCORES WORLDWIDE SALES OF $4.7 BILLION IN 2017

    December 21st, 2017

    Untitled (1982) by Jean MIchel Basquiat sold for $110.5 million.

    Auctions at Sotheby’s in 2017 totalled $4.7 billion worldwide, a 13% increase over 2016.   It led all international houses in Asia with an annual auction total of $850 million.  Asian clients contributed $1.6 billion to Sotheby’s sales in 2017 and online buyers spent more than $180 million.

    The top lot of the year at Sotheby’s was Jean Michel Basquiat’s Untitled from 1982.  It set a $110.5 million auction record for the artist and for any work of American art.  The price comfortably exceeded the previous record for the artist, as well as the pre-sale estimate of $60 million and was achieved after a 10-minute contest between multiple bidders.

    It was bought by collector and entrepreneur, Yusaku Maezawa, founder of e-commerce giant, Start Today, and ZOZOTOWN, the virtual mall on Japan’s largest fashion e-commerce site. It is to be housed in a museum based in Mr. Maezawa’s hometown of Chiba, Japan.

    MEALY’S CHRISTMAS SALE HAS MUCH TO NOTE

    December 18th, 2017
    The Winter Sale at Mealy’s in Castlecomer on December 19 is more than a Christmas special.  It contains much of interest to collectors across a wide variety of price ranges. Antique furniture afficionados will be particularly interested in a Regency serving table by the Dublin makers Mack Williams and Gibton.  It is estimated at 4,000-6,000.  An Irish cellarette by the same makers is estimated at 2,500-3,500.
    The selection of Oriental and Chinese porcelain includes a Chinese Wanli blue and white Kraak dish with an estimate of 4,000-6,000.  The centre roundel is decorated with three ducks and a river bank.  There are vases, plates, lamps and bowls to choose from.

    The sale offers rugs, carpets, a selection of Manchester United match programmes, a collection of the Georgian Society records of Domestic Architecture and Decoration in Ireland and an unusual wooden pedal horse (350-450), a happy relic from the ghost of Christmas past. There is art and furniture ranging from a heavy brass club fender (300-500) to an 18th century carved walnut drop leaf dining table (500-700), a French walnut bureau plat (1,400-1,500), a George III secretaire cabinet (1,500-1,700), a Regency settee (300-500) and a Victorian dining table (700-1,100) and a small Georgian chest on chest among more than 350 lots.   The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection;

    A Regency serving table by Mack Williams and Gibton  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD.

    A crested mahogany wine cooler  UPDATE: THIS MADE 3,100 AT HAMMER

    A Cbinese Wanli blue and white Kraak dish  UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,000 AT HAMMER

    A man o war firing a salute by Adriaen van Diest (1655-1704  UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,600 AT HAMMER