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    Monday, January 25th, 2016

    An extraordinary oil portrait of the Maharajah of Indore is included in the collection of French artist Bernard Boutet de Monvel (1881-1949) at Sotheby’s in Paris on April 5 and 6. A painter, engraver, sculptor, decorator, an illustrator for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, Boutet de Monvel was one of the most celebrated portraitists of his day. His clients included great names of  international high society.  The sale will present portraits of the Maharajah and Maharani of Indore, William Kissam Vanderbilt Jr, the Duchess of Brissac, together with stunning depictions of the artist’s wife Delfina and his daughter Sylvie.  The Maharajah is wearing the Indore Pearls, diamonds weighing 47 carats each mounted on a pearl necklace by Chaumet for this portrait.  The 300 lots on offer also comprise the contents of his “Hotel particulier” and studio in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Art Deco pieces, furniture designed by Boutet de Monvel himself and fashion illustrations.

    Described as “the most handsome man in Europe” by the US press, Bernard Boutet de Monvel lived a life worthy of a Fitzgerald novel. A war hero during WWI, he was posted in Morocco in 1917-19 and spent the rest of his life between Paris, New York and Palm Beach. He died in 1949 in the same plane crash as Edith Piaf’s great love and  boxing champion, Marcel Cerdan.  Highlights will be shown in London from February 26 to March 1.

    Bernard Boutet de Monvel The Maharadjah of Indore (300,000-500,000)

    Bernard Boutet de Monvel
    The Maharadjah of Indore (300,000-500,000)

    Bernard Boutet de Monvel Self-portrait, place Vendôme (200,000-300,000)

    Bernard Boutet de Monvel
    Self-portrait, place Vendôme (200,000-300,000)

    Bernard Boutet de Monvel  A mirror dining table, circa 1927 (20,000-30,000)

    Bernard Boutet de Monvel
    A mirror dining table, circa 1927 (20,000-30,000)


    Saturday, January 23rd, 2016
    An aerial shot of luxurious Adare Mano

    An aerial shot of luxurious Adare Mano

    A two day on the premises auction at Adare Manor Hotel will take place on January 28 and 29. The hotel and golf resort shut down yesterday for a refurbishment which will take an estimated 18 months to complete. Limerick buainessman JP McManus, his wife Noreen and the McManus family bought the hotel for a reported 30 million a year ago. Doneraile based auctioneer Aidan Foley will offer 1,400 lots from the manor and the golf clubhouse over the two days.  This is a sale with something for all collectors, from the 19th century walnut reception desk in the hotel lobby to about a dozen stuffed deer and antelope heads.

    Estimates are reasonable for glass and brass chandeliers, three baby grand pianos, desks, dining tables, chairs, dining room equipment and furniture, all the pairs of wing back armchairs from the oak drawing room, coffee tables,  glassware, serving dishes, large silver plated candelabra, kitchen contents and all the clubhouse bar furniture.  This includes about 45 red tub armchairs. There are curtains, carpets, lamps, lighting, mirrors, paintings and prints. The contents of about 30 bedrooms were purchased by another hotel in a private deal, but the sale will include entire contents from bedrooms like the State Room and the Presidential Suite.  The sale will be live on the internet at  Here is a small selection:

    The heavily carved late 19th century walnut reception desk.

    The heavily carved late 19th century walnut reception desk.

    The contents from this State bedroom at Adare are to be sold.

    The contents from this State bedroom at Adare are to be sold.

    Contents from this bedroom will be sold

    Contents from this bedroom will be sold

    A Natural history specimen stags head.

    A Natural history specimen stags head.


    Friday, January 22nd, 2016
    William Edmondson (1874-1951) - Boxer, realized $785,000

    William Edmondson (1874-1951) – Boxer, realized $785,000

    There was a signal that Outsider Art is to come in from the cold at Christie’s in New York today when William Edmondson’s Boxer sold for  $785,000. This is a new world record for Outsider Art and tripled the previous auction record for a work by the artist.  There was a bidding war which lasted for nearly five minutes.  This tightly curated sale of 50 lots included works across various media—sculpture, painting, works-on-paper, and gelatin silver print photographs—from preeminent Outsider artists, including James Castle, Martin Ramirez, William Edmonson, and Bill Traylor.

    The term outsider art was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for art brut, a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture.

    The inaugural various owner Outsider Art sale was held under the title Liberation Through Expression: Outsider and Vernacular Art.



    Thursday, January 21st, 2016
    David Hockney - The Sea at Malibu, (1988) at the Post War and Contemporary sale on February 11 (£600,000-800,000). Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd., 2016.

    David Hockney – The Sea at Malibu, (1988) at the Post War and Contemporary sale on February 11 (£600,000-800,000). Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2016.

    Major British artists David Hockney and Barry Flanagan and art by Joan Miró and Andy Warhol from the Miles and Shirley Fiterman collection will feature at Christie’s sales in London in February.  Eleven works will be offered at The Art of the Surreal Evening sale on February 2 and the Post-War and Contemporary Art evening auction on February 11.  This follows the successful sale of work from the  collection in New York in November.

    From Minnesota to Palm Beach, New York, and beyond, the Fitermans held a lifelong and deeply shared affinity for fine art, and built a collection that featured artistic pioneers such as Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Miró, Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol. Their collection was founded on not only the appreciation of scholarship and visual flair but also an understanding of the importance of establishing longstanding connections with artists.


    Wednesday, January 20th, 2016
    The Cork artist Daniel MacDonald is the focus of an exhibition at Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University, Connecticut from January 20 to April 17.   “Into the Lion’s Den: Daniel MacDonald, Ireland and Empire” is  a landmark in Irish and Irish-American cultural and social history.
    Daniel MacDonald exhibited a number of pictures at the RHA from 1842-44 and painted a portrait of Fr. Matthew. He moved to London in the mid-1840’s and exhibited at the British Institution in 1847 and again from 1849-51. In a catalogue note the museum point out that MacDonald was the only Irish artist audacious enough to paint the famine while it was happening.  His painting, An Irish Peasant Family Discovering the Blight of their Store, was displayed in London in 1847. His work is in the Crawford Gallery in Cork, the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin and the British Museum.  He died in 1853 aged just 32. The exhibition is curated by Professor Niamh O’Sullivan.

    Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of art related to the Great Hunger. There is work by contemporary artists and a collection of 19th century paintings by some of the most important artists of the period.

    Daniel MacDonald - An Irish Peasant Family discovering the potato blight, 1847.

    Daniel MacDonald – An Irish Peasant Family discovering the potato blight, 1847.

    Daniel MacDonald - Courtship

    Daniel MacDonald – Courtship

    Daniel MacDonald - Sidhe Gaoithe?

    Daniel MacDonald – Sidhe Gaoithe?

    Daniel MacDonald - The Eviction

    Daniel MacDonald – The Eviction


    Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

    With everything from an antique brass domed bird cage to a late Regency mahogany centre table the Attic sale at Sheppards in Durrow on January 26 offers 667 lots at reasonable estimates.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    Group of six Chinese jade coloured ornaments (100-150).

    Group of six Chinese jade coloured ornaments (100-150).

    One of a pair of Adam style mirrors (800-1,200).

    One of a pair of Adam style mirrors (800-1,200).

    Antique brass domed bird cage (50-80).

    Antique brass domed bird cage (50-80).

    Large Regency centre table (600-900).

    Large Regency centre table (600-900).

    A Cork Regency side table (200-300).

    A Cork Regency side table (200-300).


    Monday, January 18th, 2016
    Gerhard Richter - Abstraktes Bild (725-4)

    Gerhard Richter – Abstraktes Bild (725-4)

    One of only a handful of spectacular examples of Gerhard Richter’s Abstrakte Bilder in private hands comes up at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening sale in London on February 10. Painted in 1990 Abstraktes Bild (725-4) remained in the artist’s private collection until 1996 when it was unveiled at an exhibition of his personal paintings at the Carre d’Art in Nimes: “Gerhard Richter: 100 Pictures”. The work has not been exhibited publically since. 

    Acquired by the current owner via Marian Goodman and Anthony d’Offay in 1996 it will be offered at auction for the very first time with an estimate of £14-20 million. “There continues to be great momentum in the Richter market, particularly for his abstract works. This particular example is monolithic and muscular, a masterpiece with a spectacular structure comprised of dramatic layers of a kaleidoscope of colours. With its enviable provenance, it has all the ingredients you’d hope for from a truly great Richter abstract”  said Isabelle Paagman, Sotheby’s senior director, Contemporary Art.

    The world’s most valuable living painter, Gerhard Richter has seen his auction record broken three times in the past four years, most recently at Sotheby’s in London when an Abstraktes Bild from 1986, estimated at £14-20m, sold for £30.4m last February.


    Sunday, January 17th, 2016
    Lucian Freud - Pregnant Girl.

    Lucian Freud – Pregnant Girl.

    Lucian Freud’s Pregnant Girl will highlight Sotheby’s contemporary art evening auction in London on February 10.  The painting, estimated at £7-10 million,  marks a pivotal moment in the his career and shines a spotlight on a little-known moment in the artist’s life. Barely anything is known about his intense relationship with Bernadine Coverley.  The two met when she was 16 and he was already an established artist, 20 years her senior. Although their time together was relatively brief, it was to prove critical – marking both the beginnings of a life-long bond and, for Freud, a new approach to painting.

    Coverley, whose Irish Catholic parents ran the Black Horse pub in Brixton, was sent to a convent boarding school at the age of four. Feeling trapped and despondent under the strict governance of the convent, she twice tried to run away. By her teens, she craved the liberation and excitement of bohemian Soho – an intoxicating underground world of artists, musicians and writers. It was here, in a Soho pub in 1959, where Coverley first met Freud, who was captivated by her natural beauty and free spirit.

    Much has been written about Freud’s famously numerous partners – when he first met Coverley, he had already been twice married and had fathered a number of children – but little is known about their relationship. Pregnant Girl opens a window onto the most meaningful moment in the lives of both lovers, embodying the singular tenderness he felt for Bernadine, soon to be the mother of his daughters Bella and Esther. “It must have been a very happy time in her life, being pregnant with the man she loved and him wanting her to be there and paint her”, says their daughter Bella, “I think he was undoubtedly the love of her life.”

    After separating from Freud, Coverley left England (and its conservative views on unmarried mothers) with her two small daughters to start a new life in Morocco. The story of their bohemian lifestyle in Marrakesh wasimmortalised in Esther’s novel “Hideous Kinky”, and later turned into a hit film with Coverley played by Kate Winslet. Freud and Coverley died within just four days of each other in July 2011.


    Sunday, January 17th, 2016
    Rembrandt - Self Portrait at the age of 63

    Rembrandt – Self Portrait at the age of 63

    A magnificent late Rembrandt self portrait is on display at the Ulster Museum in Belfast until March 13 as part of the Masterpiece Tour organized by the National Gallery in London.  Rembrandt (1606–1669)  produced some 80 self-portraits – paintings, drawings and prints- over the course of his 40-year career. No artist before Rembrandt, and only a very few since, have made self-portraiture such a significant part of their life’s work. Self Portrait at the Age of 63, painted in the final year of the artist’s life, is among the very last works he finished. It is a work of sheer virtuosity: proof, if ever it were needed, that with maturity his talent had only become all the more profound.

    At the Ulster Museum the late Rembrandt is hung with a small group of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings from the Museum collection. These paintings are by artists whose work Rembrandt would have known, including Salomon van Ruysdael, Jan Symonsz Pynas, Jan van der Heyden and Nicolaes Maes.  When viewed together there is sense of entering Rembrandt’s world.

    The Masterpiece Tour reflects the National Gallery’s commitment to promoting the understanding, study and appreciation of its collection to as wide an audience as possible. A  Gallery painting  toured each year between 2014 and 2016. In 2016 Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 63 opens at the Ulster Museum then goes to Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal; and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.


    Friday, January 15th, 2016

    The Stolen Mirror a technical tour-de-force by Max Ernst leads Christie’s sale of the Art of the Surreal in London on February 2.   One of the artist’s finest works the dream like landscape painted in 1941 is estimated at £7-10 million.  The auction comprises 42 lots by 16 different artists.  Among them are Pablo Picasso, Wilfredo Lam, René Magritte, Joan Miró and Salvador Dali. Here is a taste:

    MAX ERNST (1891-1976) The Stolen Mirror (£7-10 million). © Christie’s Images Limited 2015

    MAX ERNST (1891-1976) The Stolen Mirror (£7-10 million).
    © Christie’s Images Limited 2015

    Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Arlequin signed ‘Picasso 26’ (£1.5-2.5 million). © Christie’s Images Limited 2015

    Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Arlequin
    signed ‘Picasso 26’ (£1.5-2.5 million). © Christie’s Images Limited 2015