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    HIGHEST ESTIMATE EVER PLACED ON WORK OF ART AT AUCTION

    Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

    Amedeo Modigliani Nu couché (sur le côté gauche) Signed Modigliani (lower left)

    Modigliani’s largest painting – Nu couché (sur le côté gauche) – is estimated to sell for more than $150 million at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in New York on May 14.  This is the highest estimate ever placed on a work of art at auction.  Nu couché was acquired by the present owner at auction in 2003 for $26.9 million. In 2015, another reclining nude from the series sold at auction for $170.4 million, at the time marking the second-highest price ever paid for a work of art at auction.

    Painted a century ago, Nu couché is the greatest work from the iconic series in which Modigliani reinvented the nude for the Modern era. Upon their debut exhibition in 1917, these striking and sensual images stopped traffic – quite literally – and prompted the police to close the show. Today, the series is recognized as one of the seminal achievements in Modern painting. The shock and awe that Modigliani’s nudes continue to elicit was evident most recently during Tate Modern’s celebrated retrospective of the artist’s work that included Nu couché.   The work is the largest painting of Modigliani’s entire oeuvre – measuring nearly 58 inches / 147 centimeters across – and the only one of his horizontal nudes to contain the entire figure within the canvas.

    Most of the 22 reclining nudes from the series are found in museums, with particular depth in the United States: the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York each hold three examples. Outside of the United States, institutions with reclining nudes include the Long Museum in Shanghai and The Courtauld Gallery in London.

    A LE BROCQUY HEAD AT MORGAN O’DRISCOLL’S RDS AUCTION

    Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

    Louis le Brocquy – Reconstructed Head of a Child

    This artwork by Louis le Brocquy is entitled Reconstructed Head of a Child. It comes up at Morgan O’Driscoll’s Irish and International art auction at the RDS in Dublin on April 30. The catalogue note explains how an isolated human presence emerged from le Brocquy’s paintings in the 1950’s, until he felt he had exhausted the idea.  This feeling led to the destruction of a year’s worth of work.

    Then, inspired by a display of decorated Polynesian heads at the Musee de l’Homme in Paris, he found a new way of painting the human head, which is viewed by both Celts and Polynesians as a box that held the spirit prisoner. So he set out to paint the head in a new way, to paint it in pursuit of an archaeology of the spirit. Louis le Brocquy (1916-2012) was one of Ireland’s  leading artists. He produced a celebrated series of heads including literary figures like Yeats, Joyce and Beckett.  This one is estimated at 80,000-120,000.
    The catalogue lists 147 lots.  Viewing at the RDS gets underway next Friday.

    A 1911 MALEVICH LANDSCAPE AT CHRISTIE’S IN JUNE

    Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

    Kazimir Malevich, Landscape, 1911

    Kazimir Malevich’s Landscape (1911) will be a highlight of Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in London on June 20.  This will be part of a series of auctions taking place from June 15 to 21 under the umbrella of ‘20th Century at Christie’s’.

    The monumental, square-format landscape is from ‘The Red Series’, a group of works characterised by gestural brush strokes and an expressive use of colour, referencing both Fauvism and Cubism, and anticipating Malevich’s move towards Suprematism. The red-hot gleam on the horizon is a direct depiction of the sun, one of the unique features of the painting that foretells the primacy of colour that would define Suprematism.

    Landscape was first exhibited in the ‘Moscow Salon’ in February / March 1911. It was shown the following year in St. Petersburg as part of ‘The Union of Youth’, where Malevich represented a radical collective known as ‘Donkey’s Tail’.  In 1927, he was invited to Germany to show his work for the first time outside Russia and brought with him the best works of his career to date. Landscape was one such work and remained in Berlin after Malevich returned to Russia. Due to the rise of totalitarianism in Germany and in his home country, the artist lost control of his works abroad before he died in 1935. Landscape resurfaced after the war and was acquired by the Kunstmuseum Basel, where it hung for over 50 years, before being restituted to the heirs of the artist.  It is estimated at £7-10 million.

    140th ANNUAL EXHIBITION OF DUBLIN PAINT CLUB

    Sunday, April 15th, 2018
    The 140th annual exhibition of the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club  opens today at CHQ, Custom House Dock. This return to the city centre is celebrated in a River Liffey theme to this large national group show.  For the past 19 years the venue has been in Dun Laoghaire. Around 170 works by 100 artists will offer a broad range of styles to suit both traditional and contemporary taste. Along with the River Liffey them are landscapes, still lifes, portraits, floral studies, animal and life studies. The founders of the club in 1874 included Bram Stoker, Alfred Grey and Alexander Williams.  The show continues until April 29.

    Margo Banks – Liffey Source, Wicklow

    Aidan Hickey – River Spirit

    Patrick Cahill – The Luas in Abbey St., evening light.

    Darragh Treacy – Winter Light, the Liffey.

    VARIETY AT ADAMS AT HOME SUNDAY SALE

    Thursday, April 12th, 2018

    There is plenty of variety in the nearly 500 lots at the At Home sale at James Adam on Sunday April 15.  The catalogue is online.  Here is a small selection:

    A 1960S THREE PIECE “INDEPENDENCE” SOFA SUITE BY KARL WITTMANN, comprising two easy chairs and a sofa (3,000-5,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 8,500 AT HAMMER

    JOHN FREDERICK HERRING SENIOR (1795 – 1865) ‘Feeding time’ (4,000-6,000)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    AN IRISH GEORGE III MAHOGANY LONGCASE CLOCK, by William Cartwright of Dublin (3,000-5,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,200 AT HAMMER

    A BURR WALNUT, EBONY AND IVORY INLAID SIDE CABINET IN THE AESTHETIC TASTE, C.1870, attributed to Lamb of Manchester (1,500-2,500)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,400 AT HAMMER

    IRISH ART AT DE VERES SALE IN DUBLIN

    Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

    There will be a sale of Irish art by de Veres in Dublin on April 17. Artists represented include William Scott, Paul Henry, Roderic O’Conor, Gerard Dillon, Daniel O’Neill, Tony O’Malley, Mark Francis, Patrick Scott and Rowan Gillespie. The venue for the auction is the Royal College of Physicians on Kildare St.  Viewing opens on April 13 at de Veres on Kildare St.  The catalogue is online.

    Patrick Scott HRHA
    FIRE ISLAND (3,000-5,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 7,500 AT HAMMER

    Gerard Dillon
    CLOAK & CUPBOARD (4,000-6,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 12,000 AT HAMMER

    A VAN GOGH THAT BELONG TO ELIZABETH TAYLOR AT CHRISTIE’S

    Monday, April 2nd, 2018

    Van Gogh’s Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Remy

    A Van Gogh that belonged to Elizabeth Taylor, Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Remy, comes up at Christie’s in New York on May 15.  From 1963 until her death in 2011 the painting hung in Taylor’s Bel Air living room.  It was sold at auction in 2012 from nearly $16 million and is now estimated to make more than $35 million.   Taylor’s father, art dealer Francis Taylor, purchased the painting on her behalf in 1963 at auction for £92,000.

    Painted in 1889, the year before his suicide, the work was included in several of Van Gogh’s most important early exhibitionsThese groundbreaking shows, including the 1905 retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, were instrumental in the formation of his posthumous reputation.

    Christie’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York includes works by Van Gogh, Fernand Leger and Mark Chagall, all of whom experienced breakthrough results in November 2017.  Chagall’s La Tour Eiffel ($6-9 million) is being sold by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa to benefit its acquisitions fund. Leger’s Le grand dejeuner from 1921 is estimated at $15-25 million.

    EXPLOSIVE POLLOCK AT SOTHEBY’S IN MAY

    Saturday, March 31st, 2018

    Jackson Pollock’s Number 32, 1949

    Number 32, 1949 by Jackson Pollock comes up at Sotheby’s contemporary art evening auction in New York on May 16.  Never before seen at auction it is estimated at $30-40 million.  The production of the artist’s drip paintings of 1948-9 stands as one of the most radical events in 20th-century art, in which the boundaries of painting were pushed and a new aesthetic established. Number 32, 1949 comes from a critical year for the artist and epitomises the chaotic vibrancy, heroic drama and thrilling vigour that have come to define Pollock’s prodigious legacy.

    Jackson Pollock executed his first drip painting in 1947. Over the next two years he would hone this now instantly recognisable, signature technique, producing the monumental Autumn Rhythm (collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and Number 1A, 1948 (collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York). Number 32 is one of a small number of more intimate 1949 paintings in which the artist more fully explored the subtleties of the drip technique. It was featured in the second of two shows that year at Betty Parsons Gallery about which Robert M. Coates wrote in the New Yorker: “They seem to me the best painting he has yet done.”

    Number 32 is one of a very limited group of 16 drip paintings Pollock created on paper mounted on masonite or canvas in 1949 and one of only eight that feature the aluminium paint that creates a lustrous shimmer around his elaborate gestural movements. Boasting a fully painted surface with intricate layers of dripped and poured oil the work has one of the most complete and richly covered surfaces of the entire series.

    A BASQUIAT TO HIGHLIGHT SOTHEBY’S CONTEMPORARY SALE

    Thursday, March 29th, 2018

    Flesh And Spirit by Jean-Michel Basquiat

    Flesh And Spirit by Jean-Michel Basquiat is a highlight of Sotheby’s New York Contemporary Art evening auction on May 16. Made up of multi-canvas panels measuring a combined 145 by 145 inches, the 1983 work is one of the largest ever made by the artist. It was acquired from Champions, the legendary exhibition at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in January 1983, for $15,000 by visionary collector Dolores Ormandy Neumann that year and has remained in the collection of the Neumann family since.

    Dolores Ormandy Neumann was an early champion of graffiti artists. In fact, it was her discovery and encouragement of graffiti art that presciently drove the influence and recognition of these emerging artists in downtown New York in the early ’80’s, leading to their embrace by an audience outside of the East Village.

    In 1973, the year following President Nixon’s historic 1972 trip to China, Mrs Ormandy Neumann’s uncle, Eugene Ormandy, led the first American orchestra to perform in China as the trailblazing conductor of the Philadelphia Philharmonic. The tour, which took place seven years after the start of the Cultural Revolution and was attended by the Chinese First Lady Madam Mao in Beijing, is widely heralded the start of artistic exchange between the two countries.

    A MASTERPIECE OF 20TH CENTURY SCULPTURE AT CHRISTIE’S

    Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

    Constantin Brancusi – La Jeune fille sophistiquée (Nancy Cunard)

    A masterpiece of 20th century sculpture, Constantin Brancusi’s La Jeune fille sophistiquée (Nancy Cunard), comes up  at Christie’s in New York on May 15.  This unique piece from the collection of Elizabeth Stafford is at auction for the first time.  Christie’s say it is poised to make an auction record for the artist. It was cast in polished bronze in 1932 and acquired  by Mrs. Stafford and her husband Frederick Stafford directly from Brancusi during a visit to his studio in 1955.

    An extraordinarily rare and important work, La Jeune fille sophistiquée is the only existing bronze example of Brancusi’s stylized portrait of the Anglo-American heiress and writer Nancy Cunard. The work retains the artist’s original hand-carved marble base, a factor of immense significance given the importance Brancusi attached to the interaction between materials and the interplay between his sculptural subjects and the pedestals upon which he placed them.

    Conor Jordan, Deputy Chairman, Impressionist and Modern Art, New York, remarked: “A daring and exquisite work of art, the Brancusi from The Collection of Elizabeth Stafford represents one of the vanishingly small number of the artist’s bronzes with its original carved base not in a museum collection. Its appearance on the market will be an exciting event for the world’s foremost collectors of Modern art.”