THE internet brought new buyers to Irish auctions in 2015. It was a memorable year for art, antiques and collectibles. Among the top lots sold were a pair of large Chinese powder blue vases which sold for 560,000 at Sheppards two day sale at Capard House in Co. Laois in September. This was an Irish auction record for porcelain. They were bought by a bidder in the room who had travelled to the auction from Beijing. Fonsie Mealy sold a Native American outfit 320,000 in February. A number of telephone and internet bidders from the US and Canada chased the piece. Pilltown GAA club paid 40,000 for John T. Power’s collection of medals at Fonsie Mealy and Morgan O’Driscoll, Christie’s and de Veres all sold works by Yeats for encouraging six figure sums. Whyte’s achieved an encouraging result when Tony O’Malley’s Harvest Light sold for 34,000, a level not seen for this outstanding Irish artist since before the recession. Sotheby’s sold a copy for the Irish Proclamation for £305,000.
In May Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O) became the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction when it made $179,365,000 at Christie’s in New York. That month too Giacometti’s l’homme au doigt made $141,205,000 to become the most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction. In November Modigliani’s Nu Couche became the second most expensive work at auction when it made $170,405,000 at Christie’s. In Hong Kong Christie’s sold a fuchsia Birkin bag for US$222,912 in June. This is the most expensive handbag ever to be auctioned.
Here are some of the standout lots: