Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    May 27th, 2016

    A 1934 oil on board by Jack B Yeats – By Drumcliff Strand Long Ago – leads the James Adam sale of Important Irish Art in Dublin on June 1.  Originally in the collection of novelist Sir Hugh Walpole it was acquired in 1946 by Lord Killanin. It is estimated at 80,000-120,000. The auction of 169 lots features work by a variety of Irish artists from Paul Henry and Roderic O’Conor to Tony O’Malley and Louis le Brocquy.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957) By Drumcliffe Strand Long Ago (80,000-120,000)

    Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957) By Drumcliffe Strand Long Ago (80,000-120,000)

    Roderic O’Conor (1860 - 1940) Seated Woman (15,000-25,000)

    Roderic O’Conor (1860 – 1940) Seated Woman (15,000-25,000)

    George Campbell RHA (1917-1979) Robert Morley - Actor (250-350)

    George Campbell RHA (1917-1979) Robert Morley – Actor (250-350)

    Howard Helmick (1845-1907) Presents for the Priest (1,500-2,000)

    Howard Helmick (1845-1907) Presents for the Priest (1,500-2,000)


    May 26th, 2016
    Strong demand for Basil Blackshaw, the Northern Ireland artist who died earlier this month, was evident at de Veres Irish art auction in Dublin on May 25.  There were two works by Blackshaw in the auction.  Lot 92, an oil on paper entitled Farmhouse in a Landscape was estimated at 3,000-5,000 and sold for 12,500.   Lot 11, an oil on canvas titled Headland II dating from 1992, was estimated at 9,000-12,000 and sold for a hammer price of 11,500.
    The top lot in the sale was A Riverside Inn by Jack Butler Yeats which made 66,000.  The Ferry Boat by Yeats sold for 61,000 in a sale where 80% of lots on offer found buyers.  The sale total was 650,000.

    (See post on for May 19, 2016)

    Basil Blackshaw (1932-2016) - Headland II

    Basil Blackshaw (1932-2016) – Headland II

    Basil Blackshaw (1932-2016) Farmhouse

    Basil Blackshaw (1932-2016) Farmhouse in a Landscape


    May 26th, 2016
    Xavier Bray

    Xavier Bray

    The noted curator Dr. Xavier Bray, whose appointment as next director of The Wallace Collection in London has just been announced, is a Ph.D graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. He is currently Chief Curator at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.  Dr. Bray, who was born in 1972 and holds British and French citizenship, was guest curator of the acclaimed Goya: The Portraits exhibition at the National Gallery in London, where he began his career as assistant curator.  He worked for one year with Sotheby’s.

    He has curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions, which include: A Brush with Nature: The Gere Collection of Oil SketchesAn Intimate Vision: Women ImpressionistsEl GrecoCaravaggioVelazquez, The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600-1700Murillo and Justino de Neve: The Art of Friendship and most recently, Goya: The Portraits.

    Xavier Bray said: “The Wallace Collection is one of the most distinguished collections in London, and a place where one can enjoy an intimate relationship with great art. I am tremendously excited and deeply honoured to be taking on the role of Director of such an august institution. I look forward to working with the staff in continuing and expanding its role as a national collection”.


    May 25th, 2016
    These Meissen ewers made 53,000 in total.

    These Meissen ewers made 53,000 in total.

    A set of large Meissen ewers representing three of the four elements proved their worth at Mealy’s sale at Lotabeg in Cork on May 24. The auction of contents from Lotabeg was a crowd puller which drew more than 7,000 viewers.  The top lot was Sir Peter Lely’s portrait of the 1st Duke of Ormonde (120,000).  A rare William IV seven foot circular dining table went for 26,000, three Meissen ewers sold for 53,000 collectively, an early set of  c1864 photographs of Hindustan, Kashmir and Tartary made 12,000, a pair of paintings by David de Coninck sold for 39,000 and an Irish silver coffee pot made 14,000.

    (See posts on for May 22, 14 and 1 and April 27, 2016)


    May 24th, 2016

    A Connemara Landscape by Paul Henry is the top lot at Whyte’s sale of Important Irish Art at the RDS on May 30.  The sale offers 171 lots of classical, modern and contemporary Irish art.  The catalogue is online and internet bidding is available. Here is a small selection:

    Harry Kernoff - Miscellaneous Objects (30,000-50,000)

    Harry Kernoff – Miscellaneous Objects (30,000-50,000)

    Paul Henry, Connemara Landscape (80,000-120,000)

    Paul Henry, Connemara Landscape (80,000-120,000)

    Barrie Cooke, Forest Triptych 1976 (20,000-30,000)

    Barrie Cooke, Forest Triptych 1976 (20,000-30,000)

    Walter Osborne - Joe the Swineherd 1890 (60,000-80,000)

    Walter Osborne – Joe the Swineherd 1890 (60,000-80,000)


    May 23rd, 2016

    warhol basquiatA monumental painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol from the collection of Elton John and David Furnish comes up at Sotheby’s in Paris on June 7.  The two artists first met in a café in 1980, when Basquiat boldly approached Warhol – his idol who was then at the peak of his glory. This encounter led to a series of collaborations in the early 1980s, including this untitled work estimated at €700,000-1,000,000. Basquiat, overwhelmed by his own celebrity, saw Warhol as a protective alter-ego, while Warhol was captivated by the creative energy of his protégé.  Sir Elton John met Warhol on numerous occasions.

    In 2003 Sothebys London sold the contents of Elton John’s apartment to the great enthusiasm of numerous fans. Over the years the British singer and his husband David Furnish have built up an extensive collection of contemporary art by iconic artists of the last five decades: Willem de Kooning, Louise Bourgeois, Gilbert & George, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, but also Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, their friend Keith Haring, and Julian Schnabel. Both visionary and inspired, the collection of Sir Elton John and David Furnish is not thus only a remarkable collection by its scope and quality, but also the result of a passion which says much about them. 150 photographs from the collection will be unveiled at the Tate Modern in an exhibition entitled “A Radical Eye: the Sir Elton John Collection” in November 2016.


    May 23rd, 2016
    The wine sale in progress.

    The wine sale in progress.



    In what has turned out to be the greatest wine auction ever the cellar of William J. Koch achieved a total of $21.9 million over three days at Sotheby’s. This set a record for a wine collection sold at auction. It was  a white glove sale with 2,729 lots 100% sold and buyers from 23 countries.  Highlights included the sale of ten bottles of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1945 for $343,000: six magnums of Vosne Romanee Cros Parantoux 1989 Henri Jayer for $171,500 and 12 bottles of Montrachet Domaine de la Romanee Conti 1978 for $147,000.

    William I. Koch commented:  “Collecting and enjoying wine has been one of the great joys and loves of my life. It is very gratifying to see so many people from around the world that share my passion”.


    May 22nd, 2016
    An Irish George I silver coffee pot by John Hamilton c1720

    An Irish George I silver coffee pot by John Hamilton c1720  UPDATE: THIS MADE 14,000 AT HAMMER

    The most expensively estimated piece of silver at Mealy’s sale of contents of Lotabeg House in Cork on May 24 is a George I silver coffee pot by John Hamilton.  It is estimated at 15,000-20,000. The auction is strong in provincial Irish silver including a rare Republican silver strawberry dish by William Egan (5,000-8,000).  Republican silver made in Cork during the Irish Civil War could not be sent to the assay office in Dublin and is of great interest to collectors.  Other Cork pieces include a set of bright cut dessert spoons by William Reynolds (650-800),  a Cork crested salver by George Hodder (1,500-2,000) a George II silver punch ladle by William Bennett (2,000-3,000), an asparagus tongs by Carden Terry (2,000-3,000), a double bowl marrow scoop by John Warner (800-1,000), teaspoons by Jane Williams (150-250) and a set of 12 silver table forks by Carden Terry and Jane Williams (5,000-7,000).

    Politically sensitive photographs taken by Captain Jack Hart, brother of the owner of Lotabeg during the Chinese Revolution of 1912, have generated huge international interest. Lot 559 depicts beheadings and victims of torture as well as scenes from the daily lives of members of the British Army. UPDATE: The album went to an internet bidder for 1,700

    (See posts on for May 14, May 1 and April 27, 2016)

    An Irish exhibition carved yew wood centre table by Arthur Jones Dublin (12,000-18,000)

    An Irish exhibition carved yew wood centre table by Arthur Jones Dublin (12,000-18,000)

    A plain Chinese gree jade bowl with Qianlong mark (5,000-6,000)

    A plain Chinese gree jade bowl with Qianlong mark (5,000-6,000)


    May 20th, 2016
    Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) Lake George Reflection © 2016 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

    Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) Lake George Reflection © 2016 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

    Georgia O’Keeffe’s Lake George Reflection was the top lot at the Spring sale of American art at  Christie’s in New York on May 19. It sold for $12,933,000 in a sale which achieved $42,737,500 and made artists records for Max Weber ($1.9 milion0 and Rebecca Salsbury James ($509,000).   Estimated at $8-12 million this was the second highest price paid for an O’Keeffe.  Lake George Reflection was inspired by O’Keeffe’s frequent visits to the family home of Alfred Stieglitz. There were 98 lots in the sale.

    Active bidding was seen from established collectors to new buyers with nearly 200 registered bidders across every region in the U.S. and considerable online participation.

    Elizabeth Beaman, Head of Department, American Art, remarked: “Impressive prices were realized for major American modernists, Georgia O’Keeffe and Max Weber, and 19th-century masters, John Singer Sargent and Alfred Jacob Miller alike. The range of prices realized shows a broad interest in the category from new buyers to established collectors. We are also pleased to see active online participation, continuing momentum from our mid-season online-only sale in March.”

    (See post on for April 27, 2016)


    May 20th, 2016
    Marilyn Monroe - Richard Avedon

    Marilyn Monroe – Richard Avedon

    A 1957 image of what photographer Richard Avedon considered to be the “real” Marilyn Monroe sold for £77,500 at Sotheby’s Icons of  Fashion Photography  sale in London on May 19.  Avedon, who aimed to reveal the true character of his subjects, recalled that whilst photographing Monroe at his studio she danced and sang and flirted and did this thing that made her Marilyn Monroe.

    “And when the night was over and the white wine was over and the dancing was over she sat in the corner like a child with everything gone”.  Monroe permitted him to take the photograph. He said he would not have taken it without her consent.  The top lot of the sale was Mouth (For L’Oreal) New York by Irving Penn. It sold for £221,000.

    The auction featured works by mid 20th century modern fashion photographers Irving Penn and Richard Avedon alongside images by Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Peter Lindberg as well as contemporary photographers like Miles Aldridge and David LaChapelle.  Around 60% of lots found buyers in an auction that realized £1,422,375.