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    BASQUIAT TOUR DE FORCE AT CHRISTIE’S

    Thursday, April 14th, 2016
    Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) Untitled Acrylic on canvas Painted in 1982 © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / ADAGP, Paris / ARS, New York 2016.

    Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) Untitled
    Acrylic on canvas
    Painted in 1982
    © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / ADAGP, Paris / ARS, New York 2016.

    Jean-Michel Basquiat’s explosive tour de force, Untitled, 1982, will lead Christie’s sale of post war and contemporary art in New York on May 10.  It is estimated to make more than of $40 million. Executed in Modena, Italy this is an epic painting, with its monumental size and visceral energy marking it as one of the artist’s most seminal works. As well as having been chosen for the cover of the artist’s Catalogue Raisonné, Untitled has been included in every major Basquiat retrospective and contains Basquiat’s heroic portrait of himself as a fiery black devil rising amidst an explosion of paint that has been thrown onto the canvas in the manner of Jackson Pollock. It is the dynamism and spontaneity with which Basquiat constructs his painterly surface that distinguishes this work as a masterpiece, especially considering this ambitious work was painted when the artist was only 22 years old.

    Brett Gorvy, Christie’s International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, remarked: “We are very proud to lead our evening sale with this truly exceptional work by Basquiat. Untitled is a remarkably powerful canvas, which instantly engulfs any viewer standing in its monumental presence. Untitled is among the top three paintings from the tremendously important body of work that the artist executed in 1982 while in Modena, Italy, which would go on to shape the rest of his career”.

    A TIME CAPSULE OF CALDER IN INDIA IN 1955

    Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

    A time-capsule collection of sculptures by Alexander Calder (1898-1976) created before and during his three-month visit to India in 1955 will be among the highlights at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art evening auction in New York on May 10. Created before and during his three-month visit to India in 1955 the works capture Calder’s special relationship with the Sarabhai family, who hosted the artist for three weeks at their home in Ahmedabad.  At auction for the first time they testify not only to Calder’s ability at the height of his powers, but also to the extraordinary cultural dialogue fostered by the architect Gira Sarabhai and her family following the Indian Independence Act of 1947.

    Alexander Calder (1898-1976) - Frangi-Pani  ($2.5-3.5 million).

    Alexander Calder (1898-1976) – Frangi-Pani ($2.5-3.5 million).

    Alexander Calder (1898-1976) -Sumac 17 ($4-6 million)

    Alexander Calder (1898-1976) -Sumac 17 ($4-6 million)

    IS IT OR IS IT NOT BY CARAVAGGIO?

    Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
    The large canvas possibly by Caravaggio

    The large canvas possibly by Caravaggio

    Is it is or is it not by Caravaggio? Amid expert disagreement over whether a painting found in an attic near Toulouse is a Caravaggio, France has placed an export ban on the work for 30 months so it can be studied in depth. It was found in an attic in April 2014 when the owners of a house went to fix a leak. It is a painting of the beheading of Holofernes by Judith from the Book of Judith. Another version of the work, discovered in 1950, is at Rome’s National Gallery of Ancient Art.

    If it does turn out be to by Caravaggio the 400 year old canvas could be worth as much as 120 million euro.  But it might be by the Flemish artist Louis Finson who was familiar with Caravaggio. It is currently being studied at the Louvre.

    When The Taking of Christ by Caravaggio was discovered in Ireland in 1990 it was authenticated relatively quickly.  The provenance of the work, now in the National Gallery in Dublin, was painstakingly unearthed and traced back to Rome via Scotland.

    SIGNAC, DERAIN AND VLAMINCK AT SOTHEBY’S NEW YORK

    Saturday, April 9th, 2016

    Vibrant paintings by Signac, Derain and Vlaminck will lead Sotheby’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern art in New York on May 9.  Paul Signac’s Maisons du port, Saint-Tropez ($8-12 million) is a pointillist painting from 1882.  Inscribed Op.237 it has remained in the family collection of Ambassador John Langeloth Loeb, Jr. since his parents acquired it in 1958.  It is at auction for the first time.

    Andreì Derain’s Les Voiles rouges ($15-20 million) and Maurice de Vlaminck’s Sous-bois ($12-18 million) were acquired in 1954 by art patron and philanthropist Sarah Campbell Blaffer of Houston, Texas. She was the daughter of William Thomas Campbell, the founder of the Texas Company, later known as Texaco. They have remained in her family’s collection since.  Only four major Fauve paintings have sold at auction since 2010.  These are considered the finest works to have come to auction since Derain’s Arbres a Collioure sold for £16.3 million in June 2010.

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for April 28, 2010)

    Andre Derain - Les Voiles rouges

    Andre Derain – Les Voiles rouges

    Paul Signac - Maisons du port, Saint-Tropez

    Paul Signac – Maisons du port, Saint-Tropez

    Maurice de Vlaminck - Sous-boix

    Maurice de Vlaminck – Sous-boix

    CORK, LONDON AND DUBLIN VIEWINGS FOR O’DRISCOLL’S IRISH ART AUCTION

    Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

    Viewing for Morgan O’Driscolls Irish and International art auction at the RDS, Dublin on April 25 kicks off in Skibbereen for three days from April 9.   This will be followed by viewings at La Galleria, Pall Mall, London on April 18, 19 and 20. Dublin viewing will get underway at the RDS on April 22.  The catalogue, which is online, lists 190 lots.  Here is a small selection:

    Alex Katz (b1927) - Self Portrait (6,000-8,000)

    Alex Katz (b1927) – Self Portrait (6,000-8,000)  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 5,800 AT HAMMER

    Peter Curling (b1955) - Exercising on a Cloudy Morning (8,000-12,000).

    Peter Curling (b1955) – Exercising on a Cloudy Morning (8,000-12,000).  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    John Shinnors (b1950) - Birds over Loop I (2004) (10,000-15,000).

    John Shinnors (b1950) – Birds over Loop I (2004) (10,000-15,000).  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    James Humbert Craig (1878-1944) - Labouring in the bog, Donegal (6,000-8,000).

    James Humbert Craig (1878-1944) – Labouring in the bog, Donegal (6,000-8,000).  UPDATE; THIS MADE 5,750 AT HAMMER

    PILKINGTON YONGLE MOONFLASK MAKES US$14.2 MILLION

    Wednesday, April 6th, 2016
    Nicholas Chow, deputy chairman of Sotheby's Asia with the Yongle Moonflask.

    Nicholas Chow, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Asia with the Yongle Moonflask.

    Whatever you do don’t drop it.  Sotheby’s Nicholas Chow holds the Pilkington Yongle Moonflask which has just sold for US$14.2 million at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. The Pilkington Collection of Chinese Art made a total of US$64.5 million on the fifth day of Sotheby’s Hong Kong spring sales, far exceeding the pre-sale high estimate of US$28.5 million.  The early 15th century blue and white moon flask, inspired in shape and decoration by Middle Eastern models, was the top lot in a sale which achieved spectacular results. The complex geometric design had no precedent in Chinese art. It had had a pre-sale high estimate of $4.5 million.   A blue and white Yongle holy water vessel sold for US$12.7 million.

    Roger Pilkington

    Roger Pilkington

    Spanning 1,000 years of Chinese porcelain production the Pilkington Collection includes rare pieces from the Song, Ming and Qing dynasties.  Around 100 lots came under the hammer. The collection was assembled in the 1950’s and ’60’s by the late Roger Pilkington of the Lancashire glassmaking family.

    DEMAND FOR PICASSO CERAMICS GROWS

    Wednesday, April 6th, 2016
    Pablo Picasso - Tripode and Gros Oiseau.

    Pablo Picasso – Tripode and Gros Oiseau.

    Demand for Picasso ceramics continues apace.  At Sotheby’s in London buyers drove the total for ‘Important Picasso Ceramics’ to almost double pre-sale expectations. The auction raised £2,201,250 with 98% of the lots sold and around a third of buyers new to Sotheby’s. The total had been estimated at £1.14-1.65 million. The top lot was Tripode, a large terre de faïence vase (1951, numbered 47/75), which sold to a private collector for £191,000.  Gros oiseau Picasso, a large terre de faïence vase (1953, numbered 35/75), made £106,250.

    Lucy Rosenburgh, Sotheby’s Picasso ceramics specialist, commented afterwards: “These results demonstrate the enormous appeal of Picasso’s ceramics. Collectors can envisage easily fitting these pieces in their homes and living with them – something Picasso would have delighted in when he decided to produce his editions. Over the past five years, London has proved to be the focal point of this market. This growth has coincided with a renewed academic interest in this extraordinarily innovative body of work, created by Picasso with the same passion as his paintings, sculptures and prints.”

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for March 25, 2016)

    A NEW WORLD RECORD PRICE FOR ZHANG DAQIAN

    Tuesday, April 5th, 2016
    Zhang Daqian -  Peach Blossom Spring (1982

    Zhang Daqian – Peach Blossom Spring (1982

    There was a world record for Zhang Daqian at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong today when an important splashed ink and colour masterpiece sold for  US$34.7 million.  Peach Blossom Spring had a high estimate of $8.3 million. It was bought by the Long Museum in Shanghai.  The painting attracted more than 100 bids.  Well-documented in scholarly works and exhibited in leading museums in the United States this monumental scroll is considered to be a pivotal work from Zhang’s late years, alongside Mt. Lu, another landscape by Zhang which is currently held by the National Palace Museum in Taiwan.  The painting set an auction record of US$240,000 in 1987.  It now returns to Asia from the Mactaggart Art Collection.

    After living abroad for more than two decades, Zhang Daqian relocated from the United States to Taiwan in 1976, hoping to settle down for a quiet life at his new riverside idyll on the outskirts of Taipei. Yet, as the suburb gradually grew into a bustling community, Zhang’s quietude was disrupted, inspiring him to paint a tribute to the peaceful town as he once dreamed of it. On this work, Zhang inscribed a poem to express his lifelong search for such a blissful scene.  Monumental in scale, vibrant in hue, this feat of artistic creation reaches over two metres in height and employs mineral pigments to create layers and layers of splashed ink evoking a landscape filled with trees. The heavenly scene stretches from a blank space at the foot of the scroll, where branches of a blossom tree reach upward in pink shades and a small fisherman boat floats by: the picture of natural tranquillity Zhang sought in person, and brought to life in his art.

    A BLUE ROTHKO FROM 1957 AT CHRISTIE’S NEW YORK

    Saturday, April 2nd, 2016
    Mark Rothko (1903-1970) No. 17 (c) 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd., 2016

    Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
    No. 17 (c) 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2016

    Mark Rothko’s pivotal 1957 canvas No. 17  will lead Christie’s evening sale of  Post-War & Contemporary Art in New York on May 10.  It is estimated at $30-40 million One of the artist’s rare “blue” canvases, this work belongs to a select group that marked the culmination of a short period during which he executed a number of brightly hued works.  This was just a few months before he embarked on the Seagram Murals which have been at the Tate Gallery, London since 1970, the year of Rothko’s suicide.

    It was featured in the 1961-1963 Rothko retrospective which championed the cause of Abstract Expressionism in Europe in a variety of different venues. The  first stop was the Whitechapel Gallery in London.  Afterwards it travelled to Amsterdam, Brussels, Basel, Rome before finishing at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in January 1963.

    After the retrospective No. 17 went into a private Italian collection and remained unseen by the public for the next several decades. In 2001 it was the central part of an exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler near Basel in Switzerland.  After that exhibition it went into another private collection, where it has remained until now.

    Brett Gorvy, International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, at Christie’s said: “No. 17, is a strikingly beautiful canvas that comes with an exhibition history that places it within the canon of Rothko’s most important paintings of the late 1950’s. We are particularly pleased to be presenting this work to the marketplace at a time when there is such tremendous demand for examples by Rothko of this remarkable quality. With its vibrant, enveloping surface, and its freshness to the auction market, we are confident that No. 17 will appeal to a broad global audience.”

    No. 17 is being sold on the heels of the tremendously successful sale of Rothko’s 1958 painting, No. 10, which realized $81,925,000 against a high estimate of $60 million at Christie’s New York, in May 2015. No. 10’s strength at auction demonstrated the tremendous demand for works of this quality by Rothko in the global marketplace, which continues to exist in full force today.

    A DISTINGUISHED ULSTER COLLECTION AT JAMES ADAM

    Friday, April 1st, 2016

    Antique European furniture, art, clocks, books, Oriental rugs, porcelain, glass, decorative items and collectibles will come under the hammer at the James Adam sale entitled A Distinguished Ulster Collection in Dublin on April 6. The catalogue, which is on line, lists 449 lots. Here is a small selection:

    A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI WHITE OVOID MARBLE AND ORMOLU FOUR-LIGHT CANDELABRA (10,000-15,000)

    A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI WHITE OVOID MARBLE AND ORMOLU FOUR-LIGHT CANDELABRA (10,000-15,000)  UPDATE: THIS LOT WAS UNSOLD

    A MAHOGANY AND MARQUETRY NEO-CLASSICAL SMALL COMMODE, Milan, Late 18th Century (2,500-4,500)

    A MAHOGANY AND MARQUETRY NEO-CLASSICAL SMALL COMMODE, Milan, Late 18th Century (2,500-4,500)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    A SEVRES POT AND COVER, with marks for 1778, with gilt metal mounts (500-800)

    A SEVRES POT AND COVER, with marks for 1778, with gilt metal mounts (500-800)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 200 AT HAMMER

    JAMES ARTHUR O'CONNOR A Wooded Landscape with Figures with figures on a Path, a Lake Behind (12,000-14,000)

    JAMES ARTHUR O’CONNOR
    A Wooded Landscape with Figures with figures on a Path, a Lake Behind (12,000-14,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 16,000 AT HAMMER

    A LOUIS XV KINGWOOD VENEERED BUREAU EN PENTE (2,000-3,000)

    A LOUIS XV KINGWOOD VENEERED BUREAU EN PENTE (2,000-3,000)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    A SMALL GILTWOOD ROCOCO MIRROR, 18TH CENTURY, ITALIAN (250-400)

    A SMALL GILTWOOD ROCOCO MIRROR, 18TH CENTURY, ITALIAN (250-400)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 680 AT HAMMER

    AN IRISH GEORGE III SPHERICAL GILT METAL LANTERN (2,000-3,000)

    AN IRISH GEORGE III SPHERICAL GILT METAL LANTERN (2,000-3,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,600 AT HAMMER