Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • Archive for January, 2015


    Saturday, January 24th, 2015
    A bedroom at Ashford Castle typical of the contents to be auctioned.

    A bedroom at Ashford Castle complete with contents typical the auction.

    The final refurbishments at luxurious Ashford Castle at Cong in Co. Mayo have been completed.  Auctioneer  Aidan Foley will offer contents from 55 bedrooms and lots from other parts of the hotel at the old Sawmills on the Clonbur Road near Cong next February 7 and 8.  More than 1,000 lots will be sold without reserve.

    There are curtains, lamps, sofa’s, beds, dressing tables, towel radiators, pictures, prints, mirrors and antique furniture. There will be viewing on Friday, February 6. Many items sold for much more than had been anticipated at a similar sale of contents from the first part of the refurbishment of  the castle – hotel last summer.

    UPDATE:  This was a highly successful auction at which nearly everything was sold.  There were internet bidders from around the world, many with memories of holidays at Ashford.  Nearly 40% of lots were sold on the internet.

    (See post on for July 24, 2014).


    Friday, January 23rd, 2015
    Gerhard Richter (B. 1932) Vierwaldstätter See (In the region of £10 million). Courtesy, Christie's Images Ltd., 2015.

    Gerhard Richter (B. 1932)
    Vierwaldstätter See (In the region of £10 million). Courtesy, Christie’s Images Ltd., 2015.  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £15,762,500

    The February London art sale season is fast approaching and it is looking good.  At Christie’s the pre-sale low estimate for a sale of 64 lots at the Post War and Contemporary Art evening sale on February 11 is £95 million. This is the second highest total for any such sale ever in  Europe.  Gerhard Richter’s photo-painting Vierwaldstätter See (Lake Lucerne), 1969, will lead the sale.  It has been in the same private collection since 1973.

    Following the world record price of $69.6 million achieved for Cy Twombly’s Untitled in November, the sale includes Untitled (New York City), 1970, a  large-scale work from the same series of ‘blackboard’ paintings. The record Post War and Contemporary Art Evening auction in Europe was held by Christie’s in June 2012, and realised £132 million against a low pre-sale estimate of £102 million. Last year’s equivalent February season at Christies broke the record for any Post War and Contemporary Art week in Europe when it realised £176 million, including the benchmark sale of Arte Povera and Post-War Italian art, Eyes Wide Open: an Italian Vision, which brought in £38 million.


    Friday, January 23rd, 2015
    Claude Monet - L'Embarcadere 1871.

    Claude Monet – L’Embarcadere 1871. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £10,229,000

    A Dutch landscape by Claude Monet comes up at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in London on February 3. L’Embarcadere is appearing on the market for the first time in a quarter of a century, and it is estimated at £7.5-10 million. It was painted in Zaandam, Holland, where the artist lived with his family for four months over the summer of 1871. His use of colour and the areas of  lively brushwork represent his gradual development of ideas and attempts to evoke the atmosphere of a scene.

    On June 2 he wrote to his friend Camille Pisarro saying:  “Zaandam is particularly remarkable and there is enough to paint there for a lifetime”. Monet produced 25 pictures that explored several areas surrounding Zaandam, focussing his attention on the  architectural motifs of the Dutch landscape, canals, mills and boats.


    Friday, January 23rd, 2015

    The opening sale of 2015 at O’Reilly’s of Francis St. in Dublin features a good selection of diamond solitaire rings and other jewellery, as well as silver and art.  The auction will be held on January 28.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    An emerald and diamond cluster ring (5,500-6,500).

    An emerald and diamond cluster ring (5,500-6,500).

    A Piaget diamond set bangle (2,400-2,800).

    A Piaget diamond set bangle (2,400-2,800).

    A 6.05 carat brilliant cut diamond solitaire ring (60,000-65,000).

    A 6.05 carat brilliant cut diamond solitaire ring (60,000-65,000).

    An emerald cut 3.31 carat F colour diamond solitaire ring (65,000-75,000).

    An emerald cut 3.31 carat F colour diamond solitaire ring (65,000-75,000).


    Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
    A photo of the now demolished Mote Park House with the entrance portico.

    A photo of the now demolished Mote Park House with the entrance portico.  UPDATE: IT MADE 12,000 AT HAMMER IN AN AUCTION WHICH WAS 100 PER CENT SOLD.

    A substantial piece of Irish architectural history is one of the more unusual lots at a house auction at Glenamaddy in Co. Galway on February 1.  The entrance portico to Mote Park House in Co. Roscommon – demolished more than 50 years ago – forms part of the sale.  Mote Park House, seat of the Crofton family, was destroyed by fire in the 1860’s and rebuilt.

    Matthews of Oldcastle will auction the contents of Kedagh Park House, Glenamaddy by order of the executors of the estate of the late Fr. Brian Hanley.  He was a noted collector.  When Mote Park House was being demolished he rescued the portico, and it lies on the front grounds of Kedagh Park House. It will be sold in one lot and is estimated at 10,000-15,000. The auction will be conducted in association with P. Burke Sherry FitzGerald of Roscommon and will feature antique furniture such as a pair of Regency fold over side tables on paw supports (4,000-7,000), a 19th century mahogany bookcase, a Regency gilded Chariot over mantle (600-900), various Persian rugs and collectibles.


    Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
    King William III & Queen Mary II Unique Dutch Delftware Bouquetières

    King William III & Queen Mary II
    Unique Dutch Delftware Bouquetières

    This c1690 pair of bouquetieres or flower holders which Aronson of Amstersdam will highlight at New York’s Winter Antiques Show from January 23 to February 1 depict King William III and Queen Mary II, who acceded to the English throne in 1689.  The pair will be exhibited together for the first time at America’s most prestigious antiques show at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan.   The figures are attributed to The Greek A Factory, where Queen Mary ordered many magnificent pieces of Delft for Hampton Court Palace. The figure of William is marked AK for Adrianus Kocx.

    Robert Aronson, who heads the 134 year old family firm specialising in Dutch delftware, acquired the lady figure in February 2014 and brought it to TEFAF at Maastricht. There were several interested parties, but a sale did not materialise. In May the family happened across an auction catalogue of a sale several hours south of Paris and when they requested photographs an image of the male figure arrived. “It rendered me speechless. I was looking at what seemed to be a figure almost identical to Mary – but the male version”.  He instructed his assistant Lisa to take a long weekend with her boyfriend in the middle of France and to return home with the figure at any price. He further instructed her that if anyone asked, she was to say she was interested in the figure because it reminded her of her grandmother.  The mission was successful and provenance has since shown that the figures had been made as a pair, but were separated in the division of a will. Mr. Aronson has described it as the greatest adventure of his first 25 years in the art business.

    (See posts on for January 6, 2015).


    Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
    Francis Bacon, Two Studies for Self-Portrait, 1977, oil on canvas

    Francis Bacon, Two Studies for Self-Portrait, 1977, oil on canvas  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £14.7 MILLION.

    A rare Francis Bacon double self-portrait comes up at Sotheby’s  auction of Contemporary Art in London on February 10. Two Studies for Self-Portrait, 1977  is estimated at £13-18 million. Bacon painted only three self-portraits in this format.

    In the years that followed the tragic suicide of his lover George Dyer in 1971, Bacon’s work became increasingly concerned with the dark psychological depths of his own psyche.  Painted in 1977 this is a profoundly intimate portrait, starkly evoking the artist’s inner turmoil at a moment when he was at the height of critical acclaim during his lifetime.

    Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s Deputy Chairman, Europe, said: “Of all the subjects he depicted, it is the self-portraits – painted with an almost obsessive intensity – that bring us closest to the artist. It’s this extraordinary intimacy and power, together with their rarity, that make Bacon’s self-portraits so irresistible to collectors.”

    UPDATE:  Two Studies for a selfportrait by Francis Bacon made £14.7 million.  The last time it was at auction was in London in 1993 when it sold for £353,500.


    Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
    Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Triple Elvis

    Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
    Triple Elvis sold for $82 million in November.

    IT was a great year for Christie’s in 2014.  Annual art sales were up 12% and topped £5.1 billion, beating the previous record for the fifth year in a row.  This is the highest total in the history of the art market.

    Online only sales amounted to £214 million and digital access and geographic activity like the opening in October of the Empire Building in Shanghai meant that 30% of buyers last year were new to Christie’s.  Sales of Post War and Contemporary art were up b y 33% to £1.7 billion. There was a 48% rise in works sold over $10 million. The top sellers were paintings by Francis Bacon, Barnett Newman, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol.

    Auction sales were up 10% to £4.2 billion. It was a record year for luxury goods such as jewellery.

    Christie’s sales grew by 12% during 2014 and the team has succeeded by focusing on the art and connecting it to a growing global audience,” said Patricia Barbizet, Chief Executive Officer, Christie’s. “We continue to lead the art market by offering the broadest opportunity to collectors globally. The top end of the market grew during the year as evidenced by the 48% increase in works sold above $10 million. Our strategy to develop in new markets such as China and India and in new channels such as Private Sales and eCommerce, has further propelled the global growth of our business. Our focus remains on serving our clients whenever and however they choose to connect with art, through auctions, exhibitions or online.”


    Monday, January 19th, 2015
    The first transatlantic submarine cable.

    The first transatlantic submarine cable.  UPDATE: THIS MADE £312

    A section of the first transatlantic submarine telegraph cable that linked Ireland to Newfoundland in 1858, establishing the first fast communication between Europe and the Americas, comes up at Bonhams in London at the end of this month.  The cable linked Foilhommerum Bay at Valentia Island in Co. Kerry to Heart’s Content in eastern Newfoundland. It was despatched successfully on August 16, 1858 and took 17 hours to transmit. It read: “Glory to God in the highest; on earth, peace and good will toward men”.

    This momentous achievement was the culmination of 19 years of planning and hard work. After the successful development of the electrical telegraph in the late 1830s, the idea of installing a transatlantic communications cable took hold.  First came smaller-scale projects: by 1850, a linkage had been set up between Britain and France, and also a line running up the northeastern coast of North America between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. But the ultimate goal was faster communication between Europe and the Americas, as the average time for a ship to deliver a letter between the two was 10 days. Two attemps failed due to cable breakages, the third was successful.
    Estimated at £500-700, the mounted section will go under the hammer in The Gentleman’s Library Sale at Bonhams, Knightsbridge, on January 27-28.


    Monday, January 19th, 2015
    Around 300 varied lots, mostly from  a one owner collection of antique furniture, collectibles, porcelain, watches, silver and art, will come under the hammer at Hegarty’s auction in Bandon on January 25.  There is a Cork silver basting spoon by John gibson, about 12 netsuke carvings and a 19th century portrait of a gentleman, once in the collection of the late English actor and Irish resident Oliver Reed.  There is more information about this auction on the Hegarty website.

    An Irish 18th century secretaire tallboy (4,000-6,000).

    An Irish 18th century secretaire tallboy (4,000-6,000).  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNDER OFFER AFTER THE AUCTION

    A bombe shaped 19th century vitrine once in the collection of the Chavasse family, Castletownshend, Co. Cork (3,000-5,000).

    A bombe shaped 19th century vitrine once in the collection of the Chavasse family, Castletownshend, Co. Cork (3,000-5,000).  UPDATE: THIS WAS WITHDRAWN

    A 19th century gilt wood pier mirror (2,000-4,000).

    A 19th century gilt wood pier mirror (2,000-4,000).  UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,200

    An Edwardian mahogany and satinwood inlaid display cabinet at Hegarty's (2,500-3,500).

    An Edwardian mahogany and satinwood inlaid display cabinet at Hegarty’s (2,500-3,500).  UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,750