Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Monday, February 19th, 2018

    The Victim by Rowan Gillespie.

    In 2018, Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University will send 50 pieces of art from its acclaimed collection home to Ireland for eight months. The works will go to The Coach House at Dublin Castle and West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen for the exhibition Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger.

    This major undertaking aims to strengthen the deep cultural connection between Ireland and its diaspora by showcasing the world’s largest collection of Great Hunger-related art never before exhibited on Irish soil.

    Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum Ryan Mahoney said: “The exhibition is coming home for the first time ever. “We’re bringing our collection home to Ireland where it needs to be seen after five years of having it on display here in the US. In that time, we’ve seen tens of thousands of people coming through our doors.”

    Many of the works are graphic, depicting the horrors of the Great Famine. Some focus on the plight of those who travelled on coffin ships from Ireland to the US.

    The show will be at Dublin Castle from March to June and at the West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen from July to October.  It will be on display at the Glassworks in Derry from January to March next year.


    Monday, February 19th, 2018

    Reaching. Homage to John Montague by Louis le Brocquy

    Louis le Brocquy’s homage to the poet John Montague is a highlight of Whyte’s evening sale of Irish and International Art in Dublin on February 26.  The strikingly modern work entitled Reaching. Homage to John Montague is constructed in six canvasses and is presented, as the artist intended, in its original frame.  The economic use of paint echoes the work of Francis Bacon while the preoccupation with the head and spirit of the sitter resonates with le Brocquy’s later work. It is estimated at 40,000-60,000.

    The most expensively estimated lot among 191 works on offer is Paul Henry’s Landscape, West of Ireland (80,000-120,000). It is thought to be an Achill scene.  The Aran Island Turf Boat by Sean Keating is estimated at 50,000-70,000) and a painting of old men bathing by Jack B. Yeats is estimated at 40,000-60,000.  Another Yeats, Winter in Galway from Lady Gregory’s House, Coole Park, 1944 is estimated at 25,000-35,000.
    Among the international works are two limited edition engravings by Salvador Dali of Dante’s Divine Comedy, a Baghdad Street Scene by Iraqi artist Hafidh Al-Droubi, Kissing You, a limited edition by Tracey Emin, a print and concrete relief by Banksy and bronzes by  Charles Robinson Sykes and Ernest Rancoulet.
    Lot 120, An Important Scrapbook of Art and Music compiled by Abigail Cohen in London in the 1830’s, has contributions from Daniel O’Connell, Samuel Love and the composers Michael William Balfe and George Alexander Osborne. It guides at 15,000-20,000.  A collection of 24 hand coloured aquatints of Dublin views by James Malton is estimated at 8,000-10,000.
    There is a wide cross section of Irish artists including Mildred Anne Butler, Arthur Maderson, Alicia Boyle, Elizabeth Cope, Percy French, Markey Robinson, Rowland Hill,  John Kingerlee, John Phillip Murray, Basil Blackshaw, Michael Cullen, Tony O’Malley, Robert Ballagh, Sean Scully, Patrick Scott and William Scott.

    Landscape West of Ireland (1915-1918) by Paul Henry

    The Divine Comedy, Paradise, Canto 18, Beatrice’s Splendour by Salvador Dali


    Friday, February 16th, 2018

    Peter Doig, The Architect’s Home in the Ravine (1991

    The Architect’s home in the Ravine by Britain’s most expensive living artist Peter Doig will headline Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening auction in London on March 7.  Painted in 1991 and estimated at £14-18 million it last changed hands at Christie’s in London two years ago when it sold for £11,282,500.   In 1991, just a year after graduating from his Master’s degree at Chelsea, Doig was awarded the highly prestigious Whitechapel Artist’s award.

    This was  one of only four works the artist chose to be included in the subsequent show at the Whitechapel Gallery. Others include Iron Hill (1991) which became the first work by the artist to sell for over £1 million at Sotheby’s auction in 2006, and Rosedale (1991) which established a new $28.8 million auction record for any living British artist last year.   The Architect’s Home in the Ravine refers to a building remembered from the artist’s childhood in Canada – the home of Eberhard Zeidler, which is situated in the wealthy Toronto suburb of Rosedale.

    Three of the four highest prices for the artist at auction have been set in the past 12 months.

    (See post on for February 11, 2016)


    Thursday, February 15th, 2018

    A major exhibition by pioneering German Expressionist painter Emil Nolde (1867-1956) with 120 paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints has just opened at the National Gallery of IrelandEmil Nolde: Colour is Life is a collaboration between the National Gallery of Ireland, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Emil Nolde Foundation in Seebüll, the artist’s former home in North Germany.

    It spans Nolde’s career from his early atmospheric paintings of his homeland right through to the intensely coloured oils, to his so-called ‘unpainted pictures’ – works done on small pieces of paper during the Third Reich, when Nolde was branded a ‘degenerate’ artist and forbidden to work as a professional artist. The works on show also include Nolde’s famous flower and garden paintings, and his extraordinary religious paintings, with their mix of spirituality and eroticism.

    The exhibition is grouped into themes: Idea of Home; the Metropolis; Conflict and Ecstasy; the South Seas and the Exotic; and Sea and Garden pictures.  Over forty oil paintings and fifty works on paper will be shown alongside examples of Nolde’s work from the Gallery’s own collection. The co-curators are National Gallery of Ireland’s Director Sean Rainbird; and Curator of European Art 1850-1950 Janet McLean – along with Keith Hartley, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, who will curate the exhibition when it moves to Edinburgh next July.  It continues in Dublin until June 10.

    Emil Nolde (1867-1956)
    Large Poppies (Red, Red, Red), 1942 © Nolde Stiftung Seebül

    Emil Nolde (1867-1956)
    Candle Dancers, 1912 © Nolde Stiftung Seebüll


    Monday, February 12th, 2018

    Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale, Attese

    Masterpieces by Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri and Thomas Schütte from a private European collection will feature at Christie’s Post War and Contemporary Art evening sale in London on March 6.   The group will be led by Lucio Fontana’s  Concetto Spaziale, Attese (1965) which is  estimated at £8-12 million.   The two-metre long white canvas is cut with 24 of Fontana’s iconic vertical slashes, the greatest number he ever committed to a large-scale work. To add a further dimension to the painting Fontana enshrouded it in a highly reflective black lacquer.

    Additional highlights include Alberto Burri’s Ferro T (1959) (£3-5 million)  a patchwork forged from jagged panes of soldered metal, weathered using fire and the process of oxidation.  This is from Burri’s celebrated series of 12 Ferri (‘Irons’), nine of which are housed in museum collections internationally. Thomas Schütte’s Bronzefrau Nr. 7 (2002) (£2-3 million) offers a powerful critique of monumental sculpture: created from bronze and Cor-Ten steel it both mines and undermines classical and Renaissance traditions. Dan Flavin, Anselm Kiefer and Gerhard Richter are also represented in the collection.


    Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

    Pablo Picasso – Le Matador

    Picasso’s Le Matador will make its auction debut at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern art evening sale in London on February 28.  Monumental in scale and painted in vivid colours Le Matador is the culmination of a life-long obsession of Picasso’s that remained one of the most important themes throughout his career.

    The painting is a brilliant display of the virtuosity with which the artist combined the complex elements that had shaped his life and art and stands as a defiant tribute to the heroic figure of the matador – embodying the artist’s own Andalusian machismo as the master of modern art takes centre-stage in the arena.

    Picasso had begun to feel that his time on this earth was running out, and so engaged in constant conversation with the great masters before him – Goya, Velasquez and Delacroix – following the traditions they had set in order to reinvent them and make a lasting mark. Painted in October 1970 it is estimated at £14-18 million.

    Helena Newman, Global Co-Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department & Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said:   ‘This powerful portrait exemplifies Picasso’s creative force in his final years and represents the culmination of a life-long obsession. Through the subject of the bullfight, Picasso explores the theme of life and death, creation and destruction, earth and sun, casting himself at the centre stage of the spectacle. We are thrilled to be presenting two prime examples of works by Picasso at his very best in one sale – Le Matador and Femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée (Marie-Thérèse Walter) –  both from key periods of the artist’s career.’ 


    Monday, February 5th, 2018

    André Derain, Londres: la Tamise au pont de Westminster, oil on canvas

    André Derain’s Londres: la Tamise au pont de Westminster (1906-07) will highlight Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in London on February 27. One of 29 recorded paintings of London that Derain painted across 1906 and 1907, it comes to auction alongside the exhibition ‘Impressionists and London’ currently on view at London’s Tate Britain. Londres: la Tamise au pont de Westminster is captured from the Albert Embankment, portraying the Thames, the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Bridge and, in the background, the pyramidal silhouette of Whitehall Court.

    As with all of the works in this series, the British capital is saturated in radiant colour. The expansive grey waters of the Thames are transformed into a mosaic of shimmering yellow, blue and turquoise; the sunlit sky rendered in an iridescent patchwork of blues and pink.  It is estimated at £6-9 million.

    Keith Gill, head of sale said: “Among the most iconic works of Fauvism, many of this rare series of London paintings are now housed in museum collections across the world, including the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Tate Gallery, London”


    Friday, February 2nd, 2018

    WITH sales of £5.1 billion Christie’s led the global art market in 2017.  This is an increase of 26%.  Auction sales were up 38%. Digital sales online totalled £165.6 million and seven of the top works of art sold around the world were sold at Christie’s.  This included Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi which smashed the world record for any work of art sold at auction when made $450.3 million.

    Increased supply at masterpiece level met continued demand as global auction sales increased 38% to £4.6 billion ($5.9 billion, up 33%).  Sales in the Americas increased to £2.5 billion, up 68% ($3.2 billion, up 62%), sales in Asia totalled £582.9 million, up 11% ($754.9 million, up 7%), and sales in Europe and the Middle East totalled £1.5 billion, up 16% ($2 billion, up 11%).


    Thursday, February 1st, 2018

    Pablo Picasso – Mousquetaire et nu assis (1967)

    Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece Mousquetaire et nu assis (1967) will be a highlight of Christie’s Impressionist & Modern Art evening sale in London on February 27.  Estimate:d at £12-18 million it will be part of ‘20th Century at Christie’s’, series of sales from February 20 to March 67.  2018.  This is among the first of the triumphant musketeers that appeared in Pablo Picasso’s art in 1967. The iconic figure is accompanied by a sensuous, seated nude.

    She is Jacqueline, the artist’s final, great love, muse and wife, whose presence permeated every female figure in this final chapter of Picasso’s life. With one eye towards the Old Masters and another towards contemporary art Picasso shows himself still challenging the history of art, carrying out iconoclastic attacks, plundering the past and doing so in a strikingly fresh, gestural way.

    Keith Gill, head of sale, said: “Picasso’s late career was defined by sensuous paintings in which he cast himself as the virile artist alongside his voluptuous lover. The allegorical figures were used by Picasso not only to reference fictitious characters but were a means by which he could situate himself firmly within the art historical canon alongside the likes of Rembrandt, El Greco, Velázquez and Goya. He seemed to have a sense of urgency to his work in this period, as if trying to beat the passage of time, a feeling that is evidenced by the dense brushwork and bold gestures of ‘Mousquetaire et nu assis’. It is a privilege to present the painting as a leading highlight in the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale.”


    Monday, January 29th, 2018

    Alberto Giacometti – Lustre avec femme, homme et oiseau

    A dramatic chandelier by Alberto Giacometti comes up at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale on February 28.  Estimated at £6-8 million Lustre avec femme, homme et oiseau  brings together the artist’s most celebrated figures, Walking Man and Standing Woman.  It is one of only three casts by Giacometti for select patrons  and a unique instance where all of the key motifs of the artist’s career appear in a single work.

    The chandelier encapsulates the existential anxiety of the post-war period whilst casting magical shadows that animate Giacometti’s heightened reality. It is coming to auction for the first time.

    Thomas Bompard of Sotheby’s said:  “This beautiful chandelier by Alberto Giacometti is the tangible coming together of visual arts, decoration and theatre. Despite a natural tendency for introversion, Giacometti became a figurehead of existentialism – finding his place at the centre of the avant-garde scene of artists and intellectuals in Paris. He was sought after by patrons, dealers and fellow artists, collaborating with the likes of modernist playwright Samuel Beckett to capture the fragile but powerful beauty of what hadn’t been destroyed by the Second World War. This is much more than a chandelier: it is a beacon of universal symbolism, of hope and humanism.”