Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
    Sir Peter Lely's self portrait.

    Sir Peter Lely’s self portrait.  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £869,000

    The top lot at Mealy’s Lotabeg sale – Sir Peter Lely’s portrait of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde – might at 120,000 have seemed expensive to some, but perhaps it was a bargain.  Now a masterful self-portrait by the artist is to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in London on July 6.  His iconic portraits of Charles II’s pleasure-seeking court made him the natural successor to Anthony van Dyck and the “best painter in England” of his time but Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680) was also one of the great international draughtsmen of his age. Sotheby’s will offer three of his most intimate surviving portrait drawings: the self-portrait – one of only two in existence and the only one remaining in private hands – and portraits of the artist’s son, John and his wife, Ursula. Never seen on the market the works have remained in the possession of the artist’s direct descendants  since they were drawn some 360 years ago.

    Sotheby’s say the self-portrait, with its grand scale, is one of the most powerful and important of all drawings created in 17th-century England. Made during the second half of the 1650’s, towards the end of the Cromwellian era, it shows the artist as a quietly self-assured and affable man in his mid to late thirties.  It is estimated at £600,000-800,000.  The portrait of John is estimated at £80,000-120,000, that of Ursula at £6,000-8,000.

    (See post on for May 1, 2016)


    Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

    What better way for an artist to produce a self portrait than to show himself at work?  An innovative self portrait by the Irish artist Thomas Ryan, a past president of the Royal Hibernian Academy, comes up at the next sale by R.J. Keighery in Waterford on June 13.  The artist, who was born in 1929, is probably more associated in the pubic mind with still life, flower studies and landscape than with nude models but this is how he chose to portray himself.  It is one of two works by the artist at Keighery’s. Liffey Up Stream is estimated at 5,000-7,000 and Self-Portrait is estimated at 4,000-6,000.

    Thomas Ryan - Self-portrait

    Thomas Ryan – Self-portrait

    Thomas Ryan - Liffey up Stream

    Thomas Ryan – Liffey up Stream





    Tuesday, May 31st, 2016
    Paul Henry, Connemara Landscape (80,000-120,000)

    Paul Henry, Connemara Landscape sold for 100,000 at hammer.

    Paul Henry’s Connemara Landscape was the top lot at Whyte’s sale of Important Irish Art in Dublin last night. It sold for 100,000 at hammer. A second Henry, West of Ireland Road through the Bog, made 82,000.  Both works were sold to a collector in Co. Clare.

    Sean Keating’s 1924 work Salud made 52,ooo.  Gerard Dillon’s  West of Ireland Couple and Horses sold for 36,000 and another Dillon, The Fish Eaters made 24,000, Miscellaneous Objects by Harry Kernoff sold for 28,000, Pond Reverie by Tony O’Malley made 22,000, a triptych by Barrie Cooke made 18,000 and Trapeze I by John Shinnors sold for 16,000 at hammer.

    The top Yeat’s in in the auction, A Professional Man from 1905, failed to find a buyer and a Basil Blackshaw with an estimate of 10,000-15,000 was also passed.  The sale total was 850,000,  80% of lots found buyers and a good number of sold works soared above the high estimate.  Whyte’s next sale is on July 25.

    (See posts on for May 24 and May 30, 2016)


    Monday, May 30th, 2016

    There is a wide variety of Irish art in various media at Whyte’s at the RDS in Dublin this evening.  The catalogue, which is online, features 171 lots and the auction will be live online.  Here is a taste of the sale:

    (See post on for May 24, 2016)

    Pond Reverie I 1994) by Tony O'Malley (20,000-30,000)

    Pond Reverie I 1994) by Tony O’Malley (20,000-30,000) UPDATE: THIS MADE 22,000 AT HAMMER

    Charles Tyrrell Borderland XXX1 1991 (5,000-7,000)

    Charles Tyrrell Borderland XXX1 1991 (5,000-7,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,800


    Friday, May 27th, 2016

    A 1934 oil on board by Jack B Yeats – By Drumcliff Strand Long Ago – leads the James Adam sale of Important Irish Art in Dublin on June 1.  Originally in the collection of novelist Sir Hugh Walpole it was acquired in 1946 by Lord Killanin. It is estimated at 80,000-120,000. The auction of 169 lots features work by a variety of Irish artists from Paul Henry and Roderic O’Conor to Tony O’Malley and Louis le Brocquy.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957) By Drumcliffe Strand Long Ago (80,000-120,000)

    Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957) By Drumcliffe Strand Long Ago (80,000-120,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 80,000 AT HAMMER

    Roderic O’Conor (1860 - 1940) Seated Woman (15,000-25,000)

    Roderic O’Conor (1860 – 1940) Seated Woman (15,000-25,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 24,000 AT HAMMER

    George Campbell RHA (1917-1979) Robert Morley - Actor (250-350)

    George Campbell RHA (1917-1979) Robert Morley – Actor (250-350) UPDATE: THIS MADE 520 AT HAMMER

    Howard Helmick (1845-1907) Presents for the Priest (1,500-2,000)

    Howard Helmick (1845-1907) Presents for the Priest (1,500-2,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,500 AT HAMMER.


    Thursday, May 26th, 2016
    Strong demand for Basil Blackshaw, the Northern Ireland artist who died earlier this month, was evident at de Veres Irish art auction in Dublin on May 25.  There were two works by Blackshaw in the auction.  Lot 92, an oil on paper entitled Farmhouse in a Landscape was estimated at 3,000-5,000 and sold for 12,500.   Lot 11, an oil on canvas titled Headland II dating from 1992, was estimated at 9,000-12,000 and sold for a hammer price of 11,500.
    The top lot in the sale was A Riverside Inn by Jack Butler Yeats which made 66,000.  The Ferry Boat by Yeats sold for 61,000 in a sale where 80% of lots on offer found buyers.  The sale total was 650,000.

    (See post on for May 19, 2016)

    Basil Blackshaw (1932-2016) - Headland II

    Basil Blackshaw (1932-2016) – Headland II

    Basil Blackshaw (1932-2016) Farmhouse

    Basil Blackshaw (1932-2016) Farmhouse in a Landscape


    Thursday, May 26th, 2016
    Xavier Bray

    Xavier Bray

    The noted curator Dr. Xavier Bray, whose appointment as next director of The Wallace Collection in London has just been announced, is a Ph.D graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. He is currently Chief Curator at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.  Dr. Bray, who was born in 1972 and holds British and French citizenship, was guest curator of the acclaimed Goya: The Portraits exhibition at the National Gallery in London, where he began his career as assistant curator.  He worked for one year with Sotheby’s.

    He has curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions, which include: A Brush with Nature: The Gere Collection of Oil SketchesAn Intimate Vision: Women ImpressionistsEl GrecoCaravaggioVelazquez, The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600-1700Murillo and Justino de Neve: The Art of Friendship and most recently, Goya: The Portraits.

    Xavier Bray said: “The Wallace Collection is one of the most distinguished collections in London, and a place where one can enjoy an intimate relationship with great art. I am tremendously excited and deeply honoured to be taking on the role of Director of such an august institution. I look forward to working with the staff in continuing and expanding its role as a national collection”.


    Wednesday, May 25th, 2016
    These Meissen ewers made 53,000 in total.

    These Meissen ewers made 53,000 in total.

    A set of large Meissen ewers representing three of the four elements proved their worth at Mealy’s sale at Lotabeg in Cork on May 24. The auction of contents from Lotabeg was a crowd puller which drew more than 7,000 viewers.  The top lot was Sir Peter Lely’s portrait of the 1st Duke of Ormonde (120,000).  A rare William IV seven foot circular dining table went for 26,000, three Meissen ewers sold for 53,000 collectively, an early set of  c1864 photographs of Hindustan, Kashmir and Tartary made 12,000, a pair of paintings by David de Coninck sold for 39,000 and an Irish silver coffee pot made 14,000.

    (See posts on for May 22, 14 and 1 and April 27, 2016)


    Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

    A Connemara Landscape by Paul Henry is the top lot at Whyte’s sale of Important Irish Art at the RDS on May 30.  The sale offers 171 lots of classical, modern and contemporary Irish art.  The catalogue is online and internet bidding is available. Here is a small selection:

    Harry Kernoff - Miscellaneous Objects (30,000-50,000)

    Harry Kernoff – Miscellaneous Objects (30,000-50,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 28,000

    Paul Henry, Connemara Landscape (80,000-120,000)

    Paul Henry, Connemara Landscape (80,000-120,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 100,000 AT HAMMER

    Barrie Cooke, Forest Triptych 1976 (20,000-30,000)

    Barrie Cooke, Forest Triptych 1976 (20,000-30,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 18,000

    Walter Osborne - Joe the Swineherd 1890 (60,000-80,000)

    Walter Osborne – Joe the Swineherd 1890 (60,000-80,000)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Monday, May 23rd, 2016

    warhol basquiatA monumental painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol from the collection of Elton John and David Furnish comes up at Sotheby’s in Paris on June 7.  The two artists first met in a café in 1980, when Basquiat boldly approached Warhol – his idol who was then at the peak of his glory. This encounter led to a series of collaborations in the early 1980s, including this untitled work estimated at €700,000-1,000,000. Basquiat, overwhelmed by his own celebrity, saw Warhol as a protective alter-ego, while Warhol was captivated by the creative energy of his protégé.  Sir Elton John met Warhol on numerous occasions.

    In 2003 Sothebys London sold the contents of Elton John’s apartment to the great enthusiasm of numerous fans. Over the years the British singer and his husband David Furnish have built up an extensive collection of contemporary art by iconic artists of the last five decades: Willem de Kooning, Louise Bourgeois, Gilbert & George, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, but also Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, their friend Keith Haring, and Julian Schnabel. Both visionary and inspired, the collection of Sir Elton John and David Furnish is not thus only a remarkable collection by its scope and quality, but also the result of a passion which says much about them. 150 photographs from the collection will be unveiled at the Tate Modern in an exhibition entitled “A Radical Eye: the Sir Elton John Collection” in November 2016.