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  • Archive for March, 2017

    ANATOLIAN MARBLE IDOL FROM 3RD MILLENNIUM B.C.

    Friday, March 24th, 2017

    The Guennol Stargazer.

    The Guennol Stargazer is the top lot at Christie’s Exceptional sale in New York on April 28.   One of the finest and largest preserved Anatolian marble female idols of Kiliya type it dates from the Chalcolithic Period, c3000-2200 B.C.  It has a distinguished exhibition history and has been on loan at The Metropolitan Museum of Art at various periods from 1966 to 2007. It is from a private New York collection.

    “The Antiquities department is thrilled to be offering the Guennol Stargazer in the Exceptional Sale, an iconic work of art and one universally recognized as the finest Kiliya idol in existence. This extremely rare work, though dating to the 3rd millennium B.C., is widely appreciated across collecting categories, and was a source of inspiration for 20th century masters for its sleek and modern appeal,”  G. Max Bernheimer, International Head of Antiquities remarked.

    Stargazer” is the colloquial title derived from the slightly tilted-back angle at which the large head rests on the thin neck on the nine inch high figure. This creates the whimsical impression of a celestial stare. Only about 15 nearly complete idols survive. Fragmentary examples, particularly heads, abound. Most of the complete examples have been broken across the neck, as the present figure, suggesting that the sculptures were ritually “killed” at the time of burial. It was part of the Guennol collection formed by Alastair Bradley Martin and his wife Edith, the first modern owners.  Guennol is the Welsh word for Martin.  The last marble example of the Kiliya type at auction, The Schuster Stargazer, sold at Christie’s in New York in 2005 for $1.8 million.

    PORTRAITS AND SPORTING GUNS AT MEALY’S

    Friday, March 24th, 2017

    Among the 1,000 lots to come under the hammer at two days of sales at Mealy’s in Castlecomer on March 28 and 29 are a number of paintings including portraits and tribal art and a private collection of guns and other militaria, with rare examples not seen on the market for decades.  The catalogue is online.  Here is a small selection:

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for March 21, 2017)

    ADRIAEN VANDIEST (1655-1704), ‘A Man-O-War Firing a Salute with Figures on the Shore Line (8,000-12,000)

    Pair of 12-bore double-barrel box lock side-by-side sporting ejector guns, no. 1 & 2 by W.J. Jeffery and Co. (5,000-8,000)

    ATTRIBUTED TO JONATHAN RICHARDSON I (1665-1745), ‘Portrait of a Military Officer’ (4,000-6,000)

    ATTRIBUTED TO MARTIN CREGAN (1788-1870), ‘Portrait of a Lady’, by repute Lady Mary Stewart, depicted with a young boy (150-200)

    An oil on canvas portrait of a gentleman in the style of Rembrandt (300-500)

    BLACKSHAW STUDIO AND ICONIC POET PORTRAIT AT JAMES ADAM

    Friday, March 24th, 2017
    With 40 lots from the studio of Basil Blackshaw, a view of Clare Island from Achill by Paul Henry, an evocation of a solo singer at the Queen’s Theatre in Dublin by Jack B. Yeats and an iconic portrait of poet Mairtin O Cadhain by Sean O’Sullivan, the evening sale of Important Irish Art at James Adam on March 29 amounts to a celebration of artistic Irishness.

    O Cadhain (1906-1970) is regarded as the most original and powerful writer in the Irish language for many generations. The portrait, estimated at just 4,000-6,000, was reproduced in most of his published work from 1953 onwards. It was used in an An Post stamp celebrating Celtic Scholars in 2006. The catalogue cover lot is Model Reading by Roderic O’Conor (18,000-25,000), the Henry seascape is estimated at 40,000-60,000 and the Yeats at 50,000-80,000. Estimates for the Blackshaw works vary from 500 to 10,000 for his portrait of Clint Eastwood.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for February 23, 2017)

    Peter Curling –
    The All Weather Gallop

    Roderic O’Conor –
    Woman Reading (1904-5)

    Sean O’Sullivan’s iconic portrait of Mairtin O Cadhain

    Clare Island from Achill by Paul Henry

    JOSEPH WALSH CHAIR AT SOTHEBY’S LONDON SALE

    Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

    Joseph Walsh – Enignum II

    This Enignum II chair by the eminent Cork furniture designer maker Joseph Walsh comes up at Sotheby’s Made in Britain sale in London on April 5.  The internationally known Walsh makes innovative, sculptural one of a kind pieces using natural materials with an international team at his design studio at Riverstick.  Born in 1979 he founded his studio in 1999 and has exhibited around the world.

    His work is in the permanent collections of institutions including the National Museum of Ireland, the Pompidou in Paris, the Cooper Hewitt in New York, the Devonshire collection at Chatsworth and the private collection of Rafael Vinoly in Uruguay. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by UCC in 2015 in recognition of his contribution to design. The chair is estimated at £5,000-7,000.

    BONO’S GRETSCH IRISH FALCON ELECTRIC GUITAR AT BONHAMS

    Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

    THE GRETSCH “IRISH FALCON” ELECTRIC GUITAR SIGNED BY U2

    A Gretsch “Irish Falcon” electric guitar signed by U2 from Bono’s personal collection comes up at Bonham’s in New York on March 27.

    At Bono’s request, Gretsch built only ten “Irish Falcon” guitars to be used in U2’s Elevation Tour  in 2001. This is one of the earliest such prototypes. The Irish Falcon has become Bono’s signature instrument for performing.

    In 2003, MusiCares charity recognized Bono as their Person of the Year and held a tribute in his honor in New York. This guitar, signed by all four members of U2, was auctioned to benefit MusiCares that night.

    The electric guitar, with laminated maple hollow single cutaway body and evergreen finish, comes with gold sparkle binding, maple neck and fretboard with mother-of-pearl humpback inlays.
    It is signed “Bono 2007,” “Edge,” “Adam Clayton,” “Larry Mullen, Jr.” in silver permanent marker and estimated at US$180,000-220,000.

    ANTIQUE AVANT-GARDE CELTIC INSPIRED DESIGN FROM LIBERTY AND COMPANY

    Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

    Archibald Knox – Tudric clock model number 0369 produced by Liberty and Company,

    An Archibald Knox Celtic inspired clock dating from 1901-05 will feature at Sotheby’s Design sale in New York on March 29. Born on the Isle of Man, Archibald Knox (1864-1933) was the artist who defined The Liberty Style or English Art Nouveau.

    His Celtic inspired designs propelled Liberty & Co to the foreground of avant-garde decorative art in the late nineteenth and early twenty century.

    Knox’s Celtic heritage is inseparable from his island home. Knox was expert on the many Celtic crosses that dot the island, and was also inspired by masterpieces of Christian illumination like the Books of Kells. These sources of inspiration reflect in the elegant silhouettes and intricate decoration of his clocks and objects.

    In a catalogue note Sotheby’s say that the lots presented in this sale epitomize Knox’s talent to reinterpret the complex Celtic interlacing decoration and coloration that can be found in the early manuscript illumination and adapt them in his objects, though elegant lines realized in silver and pewter and enamelled decorations. The clock is estimated at $3,000-5,000.

    ANTIQUE FURNITURE AT MEALY’S TWO DAY SALE IN CASTLECOMER

    Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

    The spring fine art sale at Mealy’s in Castlecomer on March 28 and 29 will comprise 1,000 lots.  The sale will include the collection of an Irish gentleman of title, comprising period paintings, furniture, and decorative arts; the entire contents of a country house in the South East of Ireland – on the instructions of the representatives of the estate;  a private collection of guns and other militaria, with rare examples not seen on the market for decades; fine family silver previously held at an Irish bank vault; and a diverse selection of fine art, antiques, and interiors from other Irish estates and collections.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection from the furniture in the sale:

    A pair of William IV mahogany and crested hall chairs (500-600)

    Part of an 11 piece Hille Art Deco dining suite (2,000-3,000)

    A set of 14 carved Victorian dining chairs by Eadon and Sons, Sheffield (6,000-8,000)

    An Irish Victorian rosewood breakfast table (1,500-2,000)

    TWOMBLY’S LEDA TO HIGHLIGHT CHRISTIE’S NEW YORK CONTEMPORARY SALE

    Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

    Cy Twombly’s Leda and the Swan, 1962 will  highlight the May 17 Post-War and Contemporary Art evening sale at Christie’s in New York. One of two large format masterpieces to emerge from this unbridled subject, Leda and the Swan’s heroic sister painting of the same title is among the most popular works on view within the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This unequivocal tour de force has been in a private collection for over 25 years. It has not been seen publicly in that time and has never been at auction before.  It is estimated at $35-55 million.

    Koji Inoue, International Director, Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s remarked: “Hidden from public view for over 25 years, we are thrilled to present one of Cy Twombly’s absolute masterpieces in Leda and the Swan, 1962. This is a remarkable painting that has been pursued by collectors for decades. Impregnated with paint passionately and poetically applied with the hand, brush and stick, Leda and the Swan, is one of the most vital canvases created during this transformative period in the artist’s career. Given its tremendous importance within the context of both Twombly’s oeuvre, and the canon of Post-War art, we are honored to have the opportunity to offer this work to the market after nearly thirty clandestine years. This is also a particularly exciting time for the Twombly market, given its overlap with the Centre Pompidou’s groundbreaking retrospective of the artist’s expansive career.”

    AN INTERIOR BY VILHELM HAMMERSHOI AT SOTHEBY’S

    Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

    Vilhelm Hammershøi – White Doors

    An interior by Vilhelm Hammershøi, long revered as one of Denmark’s most celebrated artists, comes up at Sotheby’s sale of 19th century European paintings in London on June 6.   Painted in 1899, White Doors perfectly reflects the interests and sensibilities of its distinguished owners, aesthetes from three generations of the same family. The work comes to sale from the estate of Jens Risom, the renowned Danish American furniture designer, best known for his mass-produced ‘Risom Chair’.  Mr. Risom died last December at the age of 100. The painting , which has never been on the market since it was painted, is estimated at £400,000-600,000.

    Hammershøi took the domestic interior as his principal subject, using his Copenhagen apartment as the setting for some of his most recognisable compositions. The sparsely furnished interconnecting rooms, dove-grey walls and solid white-painted doors provided the artist with the ideal environment in which he could immerse himself in a self-contained and hermetically sealed world. The natural daylight of the Danish mid-winter illuminates this sequence of spaces, and in White Doors its muted radiance is transformed into a poetic symphony of tone and light.

    THE LARGEST FLAWLESS PINK DIAMOND EVER GRADED AT SOTHEBY’S

    Monday, March 20th, 2017

    The Pink Star

    The Pink Star will lead Sotheby’s sales of magnificent jewels and jadeite in Hong Kong on April 4.   At 59.60 carats this oval mixed-cut pink diamond is the largest Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid Pink diamond that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has ever graded. It is estimated at more than US$60 million.

    The Pink Star has received the highest colour and clarity grades from the GIA for pink diamonds and has been found to be part of the rare subgroup comprising less than 2% of all gem diamonds – known as Type IIa: stones in this group are chemically the purest of all diamond crystals and often have extraordinary optical transparency. Mined by De Beers in Africa in 1999, the 132.5-carat rough diamond was meticulously cut and polished over a period of two years and transformed into this stunning gemstone.

    David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery Division, said: “At a time of unprecedented demand for the finest in coloured diamonds, I am delighted to be bringing this magnificent stone back to the market.  The extraordinary size of this 59.60-carat diamond, paired with its richness of colour, surpasses any known pink diamond recorded in history.”

    QUEK Chin Yeow, Deputy Chairman, Asia, and Chairman International Jewellery, Asia, said: “Over the years Sotheby’s Hong Kong has played host to many outstanding stones and sales; including the 118.28-carat oval D-colour flawless diamond sold in Oct 2013, the still-current world auction record for any white diamond, as well as the fancy vivid blue 10.10-carat De Beers Millennium Jewel 4 which set a record for any jewel sold at auction in Asia in April 2016. The market for the world’s finest diamonds and gem stones remains buoyant.”

    At 59.60 carats, The Pink Star is more than twice the size of the Graff Pink’ – the 24.78-carat Fancy Intense Pink diamond which currently holds the world auction record for any pink diamond. Sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2010 for US$46.2 million the Graff Pink marked an auction record for any diamond or gemstone at the time.