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    THE TOP TEN LOTS AT SOTHEBY’S IN 2016

    Tuesday, December 20th, 2016
    The most expensive lot at Sotheby's in 2016 was Picasso's Femme Assise

    The most expensive lot at Sotheby’s in 2016 was Picasso’s Femme Assise

    A heady list of art and diamonds make up Sotheby’s top ten lots in 2016.  Picasso, Modigliani, Munch, Twombly, Bacon, Daqian, Richter and Gentileschi in that order accounted for the top art works, a blue diamond and a pink diamond made up the balance.

    Picasso’s  Femme Assise, 1909 which sold for £43,269,000 ($63,631,391) in London in June topped the list.  Next came Amedeo Modigliani with Jeanne Hébuterne (Au Foulard), 1919 which sold for £38,509,000 ($56,631,335): Edvard Munch, Pikene på broen (Girls on the Bridge), 1902 which sold for $54,487,500: Cy Twombly, Untitled (New York City), 1968 sold for $36,650,000: Francis Bacon, Two Studies For A Self-Portrait, 1970 sold for $34,970,000: Zhang Daqian, Peach Blossom Spring, 1982 sold for HKD $270,680,000 (US$ 34,702,564) and Gerhard Richter, A.B., Still, 1986 sold for $33,987,500.
    Number eight on the list was the De Beers Millennium Jewel 4 which sold for HK$248,280,000 ($32,013,223). Ninth came the Unique Pink, a fancy vivid diamond ring which sold for CHF 30,826,000 (US$31,561,200) and Orazio Gentileschi, Danaë, 1621 which sold for $30,490,000 was tenth.

    THE IRISH ART MARKET NOW

    Monday, December 19th, 2016
    The big winter Irish art sales – by de Veres, Whytes, Morgan O’Driscoll and James Adam – grossed almost five million euro. This figure suggests that market for Irish art is in a state of rude good health.  The real story is more complex.  Bidding is brisk, turnover is up and the market has its problems. All auctioneers are finding it difficult to source top quality works.  “What incentive is there to sell when you can get no interest on your money” one asked.
    Right now this remains very much a buyer’s market. Prices are deflated and a correction upwards is long overdue.  The view is that this has to happen, the only question is when.  Meantime prices are far from stratospheric across all levels and ranges. Todays art buyer has become both discriminating and picky and there is a price above which they will not venture.
    The market in 2016 was unpredictable and threw up some surprising results.  Adams failed to get their main Yeats away at the latest sale but still grossed 1.35 million with 76% of lots on offer finding buyers. Morgan O’Driscoll capped off what he described as an unbelievable year with a Dublin sale that drew bidders from 12 countries and grossed over a million this month. The September sale at Whyte’s was the most successful since 2008 and a small west of Ireland landscape by Paul Henry made a hammer price of 87,000 at their latest sale. A large pastel by Sean Scully sold for 165,000 at the late November auction by de Veres, which grossed around 1.6 million. And Sean Keating’s Aran Woman and her Children sold for 130,000 at hammer a Mealy’s this month – the first time since 2008 that a Keating sold for a six figure sum. Sell through rates of around 75%-80% are being reported from most sales.

    The Bronze Horses of St. Marks by Patrick Hennessy made a hammer price of 32,000 at James Adam.

    The Bronze Horses of St. Marks by Patrick Hennessy made a hammer price of 32,000 at James Adam.

    Garden at Night by William Crozier sold for a hammer price of 19,000 at Whyte's

    Garden at Night by William Crozier sold for a hammer price of 19,000 at Whyte’s

    SALES OF OLD MASTERS DOUBLE AT CHRISTIE’S IN 2016

    Sunday, December 18th, 2016
    SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS (Seigen 1577-1640 Antwerp), Lot and his Daughters, circa 1613-1614. Courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2016

    THE MOST EXPENSIVE PAINTING SOLD IN EUROPE THIS YEAR – SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS (Seigen 1577-1640 Antwerp), Lot and his Daughters, circa 1613-1614 made £44.9 million. Courtesy CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2016

    Old Master sales at Christie’s in 2016 came to £152 million, doubling the auction sales total of 2015.  Classic Week, which ended in London on December 15, achieved a total of £47.8 million. This was a dedicated series of sales spanning Old Master Paintings, Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Antiquities, Japanese Art and private collections.  There was global participation with more than 1,200 registered bidders from 53 countries and substantial cross category buying. The entire classic week series achieved $272.3 million in 2016.

    Karl Hermanns, Global Managing Director, Old Master, 19th Century, Russian Art, said: “Classic Week in December concludes an outstanding year for the classical arts at Christie’s. Following its launch in April in New York and in July in London the new Classic Weeks series, complementing Christie’s innovative 20th-century weeks, have achieved for our clients significantly increased sales, cross-category bidders and new bidders. We are particularly encouraged by the number of 20th-century clients and Asian collectors participating in these sale. Classic Week auction sales were led by the masterpiece by Rubens, ‘Lot and his Daughters’, which achieved £44.9 million, the highest auction price for any work of art sold in Europe in 2016. Old Master and Victorian pictures also sold well alongside the best modern and contemporary art in the Defining British Art sale, the flagship event of Christie’s 250th anniversary. Christie’s also led the market in Old Master private sales, led by the historic sale of Rembrandt portraits, which sold to the French and Dutch states. Our specialists will continue to innovate and to inspire collectors with curated sales weeks of the highest quality. We look forward to hosting the next Classic Weeks in New York in April 2017 and in London in July 2017.”

    MACLISE PORTRAIT OF CATHERINE DICKENS, WIFE OF CHARLES

    Saturday, December 17th, 2016
    An important original portrait of Charles Dicken’s wife Catherine by Cork born artist Daniel Maclise has been discovered hidden beneath what had been thought to be the original work. Doubts about the authenticity of a portrait of Catherince – treasured by the Charles Dicken’s Museum at Doughty St. in London for 20 years – emerged during the past year. It seemed crude to the museum curator Louisa Price, especially when compared to two gigantic paintings of the Napoleonic Wars by Daniel Maclise in the House of Lords. There were gaps in its provenance.

    An investigation showed it to have been heavily overpainted, with up to 70% of the surface not original. In September the painting was scanned and x rayed at the Hamilton Kerr Institute to determine whether the original Maclise work was underneath. The painting underneath was confirmed as the original 1847 work by Maclise, a friend of Charles Dickens. It remained in Catherine’s possession after she separated from Dickens in 1858.  The museum, which holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of Dicken’s material in the house where he completed The Pickwick Papers and wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby, is working to raise funds for a complete restoration of the Maclise painting.

    The overpainted portrait by Daniel Maclise of Catherine Dickens being examined at the Hamilton Kerr Institute.

    The overpainted portrait by Daniel Maclise of Catherine Dickens being examined at the Hamilton Kerr Institute.

    The x-ray showing the original work underneath

    The x-ray showing the original work underneath

    MUCH TO INTEREST COLLECTORS AT FONSIE MEALY’S DUBLIN AUCTION

    Saturday, December 10th, 2016
    THERE is much to stimulate the interest of collectors and seekers of once off and distinctive Christmas presents at Fonsie Mealy’s rare book sale at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin on December 13. There are rare Irish books, fine duplicates, early printings, 17th century travel, Americana, science and religion, the Edith Somerville and Coghill family archives and a private collection of modern Irish literature, are to be sold.
    Among the highlights are a signed volume from the library of Dean Swift, a rare volume printed by Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia 1744, the first printing of Shakespeare’s works outside of London and Lt. Cresswell’s “North West Passage” atlas folio from 1854 with eight plates.
    Edith Somerville of Castletownsend – author with her cousin Violet Martin of the Irish RM series –  studied painting London and in Dusseldorf and Paris with another cousin and future brother in law Egerton Coghill. Lot 765 is an outstanding portrait of her then seven year old nephew and godson Patrick Coghill and the sale includes a number of drawings, watercolours and sketches by her with west Cork scenes and including some of her original drawings for the Irish RM.  There is a collection of typescripts and manuscripts by Brendan Behan, photographs by Sir Jocelyn Coghill, the first secretary of the Dublin Photographic Society and a selection of Cuala Press broadsides. The original volume from Dean Swift’s library, signed “Jon Swift”  has an estimate of 10,000–15,000. A spectacular early coloured view of the North West Passage with a series of eight sketches in colour and a coloured map of the route by Lt. Cresswell is estimated at 15,000-20,000.
    UPDATE:  The volume from Dean Swift’s library sold for 9,000 at hammer, the Benjamin Franklin imprint made 12,000 at hammer, the first printing of Shakespeare’s works outside of London failed to sell and the North West Passage folio sold for 24,000.  The sale brought in 410,000 euro on the hammer.

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for December 7, 2016)

    One of a series of eight sketches in colour of the North West Passage by Lt. S.G. Cresswell published in 1854

    One of a series of eight sketches in colour of the North West Passage by Lt. S.G. Cresswell published in 1854 UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 24,000 AT HAMMER.

    One of a series of eight sketches in colour of the North West Passage by Lt. S.G. Cresswell published in 1854

    One of a series of eight sketches in colour of the North West Passage by Lt. S.G. Cresswell published in 1854  UPDATE: THIS LOT SOLD FOR 24,000 AT HAMMER

    Spring in Co. Cork by Edith Somerville (1858-1949)

    Spring in Co. Cork by Edith Somerville (1858-1949) UPDATE: THIS MADE 500 AT HAMMER

    A Co. Cork album of Irish and other military figures, one dated 1864

    A Co. Cork album of Irish and other military figures, one dated 1864  UPDATE: THIS MADE 540 AT HAMMER

    ANTIQUE AND INTERIORS SALE AT HEGARTY’S, BANDON

    Thursday, December 8th, 2016

    More than 360 lots – including antique furniture, art, silver and collectibles – will come under the hammer at Hegarty’s antique and interiors sale in Bandon on December 11.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    MARK O'NEILL, b. 1963, "A SIMPLE ARRANGEMENT"

    MARK O’NEILL, b. 1963, “A SIMPLE ARRANGEMENT”  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    LATE 19TH CENTURY TIP-UP WINE TABLE

    LATE 19TH CENTURY TIP-UP WINE TABLE

     ROSEWOOD & SATINWOOD INLAID, DAVENPORT

    ROSEWOOD & SATINWOOD INLAID, DAVENPORT  UPDATE: THIS MADE 900 AT HAMMER

    AN IRISH SILVER TANKARD

    AN IRISH SILVER TANKARD  UPDATE: THIS MADE 7,000 AT HAMMER

    ARTHUR K. MADERSON, "Crossing the Cunnigar, Low Tide, Evening, Dungarvan".

    ARTHUR K. MADERSON,
    “Crossing the Cunnigar, Low Tide, Evening, Dungarvan”. UPDATE: THIS WORK WAS UNDER NEGOTIATION AFTER THE AUCTION.

    A RECORD FOR SEAN KEATING AT MEALY’S

    Wednesday, December 7th, 2016
    Sean Keating (1889-1977) - Portrait of an Aran woman and her children.

    Sean Keating (1889-1977) – Portrait of an Aran woman and her children.

    There was a record for a work by Sean Keating at Mealy’s today.  His  c1946 Portrait of an Aran Woman and Her Children has just sold for a hammer price of 130,000 at Mealy’s sale in Castlecomer. This large scale work – 49″ x 58″ – has not been seen in public since the 1940’s and was not on the open market before. According to the art historian Dr. Eimear O’Connor this is no ordinary Aran scene. The models are Sean Keating’s wife, May (née Walshe) (1895-1965), and the couple’s two sons, Justin (1930-2009) in the centre, and Michael (1927-2001), who all sat for him at various intervals throughout 1944. The cat, whose name is now lost to time, was a family pet. Keating’s plan was to exhibit the painting with the RHA, the Oireachtas, or with Victor Waddington that year. However, in spite of his good intentions, he put the canvas to one side and did not get back to complete it until 1946.

    Their eldest son, Michael, pictured in a youthful day dream, was to become a highly respected civil and mechanical engineer, while Justin, also deep in thought, qualified as a vet, and went on to become a politician of note.  The work had been estimated at 40,000-50,000.  The top price for a Keating was 190,000 and there has not been a six figure sum paid for a Keating since 2008.

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for December 1, 2016)

    RARE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN IMPRINT AT DUBLIN AUCTION

    Wednesday, December 7th, 2016
    A rare volume with the imprint of Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia 1744 and the first printing of the works of Shakespeare outside London are among the lots at Fonsie Mealy’s rare book sale at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin on December 13.  The Benjamin Franklin imprint is a real rarity with only six copies known and held in institutional libraries worldwide.  It is a first edition of a work by John Estaugh entitled  A Call to the Unfaithful Professors of Truth.  The last one known was sold at auction over 70 years ago.  This one is estimated at 7,000-10,000.  A second edition was printed in London in 1745 and the first Dublin edition was published the same year.

    The first printing of Shakespeare outside England was published in Dublin in 1726.  The Works of Shakespeare in eight volumes was printed by and for George Grierson and George Ewing, collated and corrected by former editions by Mr. Pope, is one of a number of sale highlights.  This lot too has an estimate of 7,000-10,000.  This auction of more than 800 lots will create national and international interest.  There is a signed volume from the library of Dean Swift and an atlas folio of Lt. Cresswell’s “North West Passage” voyage complete with eight plates.  Among the other lots are some original drawings by Edith Somerville for the Irish RM series and some typescripts and manuscripts by Brendan Behan.

    Excessively Rare Benjamin Franklin Imprint Estaugh (John) A Call to the Unfaithful Professors of Truth.

    Excessively Rare Benjamin Franklin Imprint Estaugh (John) A Call to the Unfaithful Professors of Truth.  UPDATE: THIS MADE 12,000 AT HAMMER

    The 1726 first printing of Shakespeare outside England.

    The 1726 first printing of Shakespeare outside England.  UPDATE: THIS LOT WAS PASSED AT 5,600

    MORGAN O’DRISCOLL IRISH AND INTERNATIONAL ART SALE GROSSES OVER ONE MILLION

    Monday, December 5th, 2016
    Paul Henry - Evening in Achill sold for 135,000.

    Paul Henry – Evening in Achill sold for 135,000.

    The final figures are not yet in but Morgan O’Driscoll Irish and International art auction grossed over one million euro at the RHA in Dublin this evening.  Characterised by spirited bidding in the room and on the internet this was his most successful sale ever and his best result since March 2008.  There were a number of bidders from the UK, when Mr. O’Driscoll held viewings last week.

    The three Paul Henry’s in the sale all attracted spirited bidding. The top Henry, Evening in Achill, made a hammer price of 135,0o0. The Palladian Bridge at Wilton by Sir John Lavery made 42,000 at hammer, Louis le Brocquy’s Study towards an image of William Shakespeare made a hammer of 26,000, The Hurdy Gurdy player by Sir Walter Osborne made 36,000 at hammer, Roy Lichtenstein’s Red Lamps, 1990 made a hammer of 37,000, Festival 2006 by Banksy made 23,000 and Andy Warhol’s Martha Graham Lamentation made 15,000 at hammer.  Three Boatmen by Dan O’Neill made 23,000 and The Sage by Michael Flatley sold for 27,000. Bronze Famine Ship, a unique piece by John Behan from 2014, sold for 19,000 at hammer and Nude on a Couch by Roderic O’Conor made 17,000.

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for November 29, 2018)

    WHYTE’S ANNUAL CHRISTMAS SALE IN DUBLIN

    Monday, December 5th, 2016

    With everything from an Irish rugby jersey signed by the 2004 Triple Crown winning team to an 183o’s Irish silver tea service Whyte’s annual Christmas auction in Dublin on December 10 spans a wide range of collectible items.  A new feature of this festive auction is some rare and interesting wine and whiskey. Jewellery includes a ladies Rolex Cellini 18 carat gold watch and there is a range of silver from the early 1700’s to the 1920’s. First edition books, a range of entertainment and sporting memorabilia and a small collection of antique die cast toys are included. The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    2004 Rubgy jersey signed by Irish Triple Crown team Andy Farrell testimonial (200-300)

    2004 Rubgy jersey signed by Irish Triple Crown team Andy Farrell testimonial (200-300)  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 190

    A bottle of Christmas cheer.

    A bottle of Christmas cheer.  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Mid 20th century Dunhill Aquarium table lighter ?(2,000-5,000)

    Mid 20th century Dunhill Aquarium table lighter (2,000-5,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,600 AT HAMMER

    Chiparus Art Deco bronze and ivory figure of a dancer (!,000-1,500)

    Chiparus Art Deco bronze and ivory figure of a dancer (!,000-1,500)  UPDATE: THIS WAS WITHDRAWN

    ?