May 25th, 2015
The locket containing a lock of Mozart’s hair.
A lock of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s hair contained in a 19th century gilt locket comes up at Sotheby’s in London on May 28. The strands were given by Mozart’s widow, Constanze, to the mother of the German-born conductor Karl Anschütz (1813-1870). It then passed into the collection of one of the most successful English song-composers of all time, Arthur Sommervell (1863-1937) whose direct descendent owns the item today. It is estimated at £10,000-12,000.
Locks of hair were frequently taken as keepsakes. The auction will also feature a printed invitation to Beethoven’s funeral, together with a small lock of his white hair (est. £2,000 – 3,000). Testament to this tradition, Gerhard von Breuning, the son of Beethoven’s lifelong friend, recalled that when he visited the composer to pay his last respects “strangers had already cut all the strands of his hair”.
Opportunities to get close to figures from history have always been met with fascination. In 2002, Sotheby’s sold a different lock of Mozart’s hair, passed down from the mistress of one of Mozart’s sons, for £38,240 – double its pre-sale high estimate. The British Museum holds a heart shaped pendant with a snippet of Marie Antoinette’s hair within its collection.
May 23rd, 2015
Mark Gertler (1891-1939) – Portrait of Dora de Houghton Carrington. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd.
Mark Gertler’s portrait of Dora Carrington will be a feature at Christie’s Modern British and Irish Art evening sale in London on June 25. It is from the collection of the late Edgar Astaire which comprises work by 20th century artists including Gertler, Augustus John, David Bomberg, William Roberts and C.R.W. Nevinson, who all attended the Slade School of Art. The collection will be offered across four sales at Christie’s in June and July. The collection also includes works by Alfred Munnings, David Hockney, Noël Coward, John Piper, Graham Sutherland and Edward Lear. The four sales will provide opportunities for collectors to acquire works at a wide range of price levels, with estimates starting from £3,000 up to £400,000.
Carrington (1893-1932) was the object of a decade long unrequited love by Gertler. Her love for the homosexual writer Lytton Strachey and her affair with Gertler was explored in the 1995 film Carrington starring Emma Thompson and Rufus Sewell. The portrait is estimated at £400,000-600,000.
May 22nd, 2015
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF DAVID FRIEDMANN OF BRESLAU
Max Liebermann (1847-1935)
ZWEI REITER AM STRAND NACH LINKS
(TWO RIDERS ON THE BEACH TO THE LEFT)
A work by Max Liebermann – discovered among the trove of art secreted away for decades by Cornelius Gurlitt – comes up at Sotheby’s in London on June 24. Zwei Reiter am Strand nach links (Two Riders on a Beach), 1901 will be sold following its successful restitution. One of Max Liebermann’s first large-scale oils of horses and riders, it is estimated at £350,000–550,000. After being shown in 1901 it was acquired by David Friedmann (1857-1942) of Breslau, a passionate art collector. Friedmann is known to have owned at least two works by Max Liebermann, in addition to works by Gustave Courbet, Camille Pissarro and Jean-François Raffaëlli, Jozef Israëls and Walter Leistikow.
Over the course of the 1930s David Friedmann was subject to increasing persecution by the Nazis. Forced to hand over his properties to the Nazis one by one, in 1938 he prepared to sign over his country estate to a high-ranking Nazi official. David Friedmann’s great nephew David Toren, the only living heir to have seen the painting in the collection recalls: “It was the day after Kristallnacht, 9th November 1938. I was aged thirteen and my father had been arrested that morning by the Gestapo. We learned that he would be released briefly because my father was my great uncle’s lawyer, and his presence was required before my great uncle could sign over his estate to the Nazi General, Ewald von Kleist, who wished to acquire it. Arrangements were made with the Gestapo headquarters where my father was held for him to be escorted to my great uncle’s villa and then returned immediately after.
David Friedmann died in 1942 of natural causes. His only child Charlotte perished in Auschwitz in October 1942. The following year David Toren’s father and mother were deported to the same camp where they too died. He managed to escape on a Kindertransport leaving Germany and grew up in Sweden before moving to New York where he lives now. David Toren said: “I am ninety years old now and blind, so while the return of the painting after so many years is of huge personal significance, I can no longer appreciate the painting as I did all those years ago in my great uncle’s home. Though I am the only living heir to have seen the painting in my great uncle’s home, I am one of a number of heirs and we have decided to sell. The painting can now pass into a new phase of its story.”
Last week it emerged that a 1921 Matisse painting – Seated Woman – found in Gurlitt’s Munich apartment is to be returned to the heirs of Jewish art dealer Paul Rosenberg. Among them is Anne Sinclair, the ex-wife of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Mr. Rosenberg was her maternal grandfather. The work is estimated to be worth £60 million.
(See post on antiquesandartireland.com for November 18, 2013).
May 22nd, 2015
Chinese ceramics and works of art will come under the hammer at Sheppard’s first sale in Dublin on May 26. The venue is 120 Pembroke Road in Ballsbridge. The catalogue for the auction of just over 100 lots is online. Here is a small selection:
A Chinese celadon jade San Xi Tang double gourd seal (4,000-6,000).
A Chinese painting of a young woman, watercolours on silk, late eighteenth century. (600-800).
A Chinese gilt-bronze tripod censer, Qing period (2,000-3,000).
A Chinese famille verte vase, Kangxi period (1662-1722). (800-1,200).
An inscribed Chinese famille rose tea tray (8,000-12,000).
A matched and opposed pair of Chinese bottle-shaped cloisonné vases, late eighteenth century (5,000-7,000).
May 22nd, 2015
Vilhelm Hammershøi’s Interior, Strandgade 3
There was a new record for any Danish work of art at auction at Sotheby’s in London yesterday when Vilhelm Hammershøi’s Interior, Strandgade 30 sold for £2,045,000. The estimate was £700,000-900,000. The painting was hotly pursued by four bidders on the telephone, before selling to an American private collector at a record price for the artist.
Nina Wedell-Wedellsborg, Head of Sotheby’s Denmark, said: “We are thrilled that Hammershøi’s ‘Interior, Strandgade 30’ established a new record for the artist at auction, and also a record for any Danish work of art at auction. Hammershøi is an artist whom Danish people hold close to their hearts. But with his ascent to international status through recent high-profile exhibitions, record-breaking prices at auction, and his unique aesthetic that finds resonance among collectors of both Old Masters and Modern and Contemporary art, he has been embraced around the world, in academic circles, among art collectors, and also by the wider public.”
May 21st, 2015
An 18th century Irish walnut and parcel gilt long case clock by Blundell of Dublin is among the highlights at Mealy’s two day summer sale of 1,000 lots in Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny on May 26 and 27. It is estimated at 24,000-28,000. The sale will feature period furniture, decorative arts, vintage wines, garden effects and the rare book collection of the late Trinity Professor and south Dublin TD John Kelly (1931-1991). Rarities include lot 903, a pair of Irish provincial flintlock pistols by Thomas Richards, Cork (7,000-9,000) and lot 585, a brick from the tomb of The Mahdi from the Omdurman campaign of (200-300). It is mounted on an oak block with a brass inscription from Capt. Sponge, March 13, 1899. Lot 761 is a Killarney inlaid centre table (10,000-15,000) and lot 229 is a Killarney breakfast table (1,500-2,500). The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:
18TH CENTURY IRISH WALNUT AND PARCEL GILT LONG CASE CLOCK,
by Blundell of Dublin (24,000-28,000).
An Irish George III carved gilt wood wall mirror (7,000-9,000).
A French ormolu mounted Kingwood vitrine (8,000-12,000)
A 19th century carved marble figure (5,000-6,000).
Frederick Goodall (1822-1904) Crossing the Waters of the Nile (3,000-4,000).
A pair of Irish provincial holster pistols (7,000-9,000).
A brick from the tomb of The Mahdi (200-300).
May 21st, 2015
Irish Free State Bacon at Whyte’s sale of Important Irish Art in Dublin on May 25 recalls an advertising campaign on British billboards in the late 1920’s. The artist Sean Keating (1889-1977) was commissioned by the Empire Marketing Board to design three posters for the English market. Irish Free State Bacon, Irish Free State Dairying and Irish Free State Chicken were used between June and July 1929. This was a time when access to the English market was of vital importance to the fledgling Free State. The gouache, pencil and coloured chalk work is estimated at 15,000-20,000. There are 181 lots on Whyte’s catalogue, which is on line. Here is a small selection:
(See post on antiquesandartireland.com for May 15, 2015).
Seán Keating PRHA HRA HRSA (1889-1977) IRISH FREE STATE BACON, 1928 (15,000-20,000).
Stuart Morle (b.1960) STILL LIFE WITH SEASHELLS AND OSTRICH EGG (2,000-3,000).
John Behan RHA (b.1938) UNTITLED, 2000 bronze; (unique) (1,500-1,800).
Patrick Swift (1927-1983) GIRL IN A GARDEN, c.1953 (20,000-30,000).
Daniel O’Neill (1920-1974) INDECISION, c.1950 (20,000-30,000).
Roderic O’Conor (1860-1940) NUDE IN THE STUDIO (30,000-40,000)
Alexander Williams RHA (1846-1930) SAINT AUDEON’S ARCH, A BIT OF THE OLD CITY WALL, DUBLIN watercolour (2,000-3,000).
Maurice MacGonigal PRHA (1900-1979) VIEW OF BOLTON STREET, DUBLIN AT THE INTERSECTION WITH CAPEL STREET, c.1927 (4,000-5,000).
James Humbert Craig RHA RUA (1877-1944) RAIN STORM, COUNTY ANTRIM, c.1920 (4,000-6,000).
May 20th, 2015
The shoes worn by Roger Bannister when he broke the four minute mile (£30,000-50,000). Courtesy CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2015
The running shoes worn by Sir Roger Bannister CBE when he broke the record for the four-minute mile on May 6, 1954 will be sold at Christie’s, South Kensington, in September. Estimated at £30,000-50,000 they will be sold to benefit charitable causes. They will be sold with an accompanying letter written by Eustace Thomas to Sir Roger prior to the race denoting ‘the lightness’ of the shoes made by GT Law and Son. The shoes come up at the Out of the Ordinary sale on September 10.
Sir Roger Bannister said: “I could see there was an advantage in having the shoe as light as possible. The leather is extremely thin and the spikes are unusually thin, as I used a grindstone to make them even thinner. These shoes are the last tangible link I have with the four-minute mile. All my trophies are now on display at Pembroke College Oxford, where I was Master”.
May 20th, 2015
A collection of souvenirs from the Lusitania. UPDATE: THESE SOLD FOR 800
There will be memories of happier times on the Lusitania at Lynes and Lynes in Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork on May 23. The centenary of the sinking of the Cunarder, with the loss of 1,198 lives in an act of war off the coast of Cork, was marked earlier this month. Among 300 lots at Lynes and Lynes is a breakfast menu from the vessel in June 1910 along with two dinner plates, a silk ribbon worn at the launch in 1906 and a boxed medal. They will be sold as one lot with an estimate of just 100-200. The catalogue for the sale is on line. Here is a small selection.
A Dun Emer Guild rug, circa 1950, made originally for Aghadoe House, Killarney (500-1,000). The reproduction table in the image has a similar estimate. UPDATE: THE RUG SOLD FOR 1,300, THE DINING TABLE FOR 700
Antique french gilded and brass mantel clock with cloisonne panels. Circa 1900. (100-200). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 240
An antique Hepplewhite design window seat (200-300). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 220
A Georgian travel trunk (150-250). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 140