Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    April 10th, 2018

    Antique and garden furniture will be on offer at Woodwards sale in Cork on April 14.  There is a Sheffield five piece silver service (2,000-3,000), a pair of large garden vases (1,800-2,200), a Victorian d-end dining table (800-1,200) and a Georgian rosewood card table (800-1,200).

    Among the other lots are a yew chest of drawers (300-400), a pair of cast iron garden benches (1,500-2,000), a set of four garden statues (500-800), a set of balloon back dining chairs (300-400), a Victorian breakfront sideboard (400-600), a pair of Georgian lockers (300-400), a round walnut centre table I400-500) and a selection of bookshelves.  There is a selection of Waterford Crystal, jewellery, rugs, porcelain and collectibles.  The catalogue is online.

    Sheffield five piece silver service

    A pair of Georgian style chests


    April 8th, 2018

    This chair now at Apter-Fredericks was at the 1954 Grosvenor House Antiques Fair where it was described as having survived since about 1750 with the patina of age unspoilt by restoration.

    For many years now the market for so called “brown furniture” has been in the doldrums.  At last this just might be starting to change. Renewed interest in antique furniture has been noted on the international market.

    After the Winter Antiques Show in New York premier London dealers Apter-Fredericks reported that they had engaged with clients in a way that suggested brown furniture might be back. Since the January show Apter Fredericks say that English furniture continued to sell well in February and March.  Demand, they say, has returned and regular sales are continuing.
    New York’s winter show is the leading art, antiques and design fair in the US. If influential designers  and their clients there are showing interest in brown furniture it is safe to assume that the rest of the market will not be far behind.  Such a development is as welcome as it is long overdue.
    This should be of great interest in Ireland as we tend to mirror international trends very closely.  Things are improving here since the depths of the recession, but when it comes to antique furniture there is still an awful lot of ground to be made up.
    Apter-Fredericks, a long established third generation London institution based on Fulham Road in Chelsea, report that designers and clients alike are recognising the warmth that rich woods and patina bring to a room.  “As news of this renewed interest spreads so will the finer things start coming to the market”.  This institution will always select furniture based on colour, patination, originality and value.  And so should you.


    April 6th, 2018

    102.34 carat perfection

    The only known round brilliant diamond over 100 carats to have achieved perfection by all critical criteria: colour, clarity, cut and carat has been acquired through Sotheby’s Diamonds by a private collector.  The identity of the new owner has not been revealed.  Sotheby’s say it was purchased for a price per carat which far exceeds that for any colourless diamond sold at auction.  The current auction record price per carat for a white diamond is US$260,252, set at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in 2013.

    Coinciding with the sale of Sotheby’s has sourced  two white stones, each one weighing over 50 carats, and both of the same extraordinary colour and clarity as the 102.34 carat stone.  They will come up in Geneva on May 15.

    The first of the two stones is a round, brilliant cut diamond which, at 51.71 carats, ranks as the second largest D Flawless brilliant-cut diamond ever to have appeared at auction.  It is estimated at US$8.2-9.5 million. The second stone, similarly perfect, weighs 50.39 carats but is oval, rather than round; it too is the second largest D Flawless diamond of its shape ever to have come to auction. It is estimated at US$7.3-8 million.


    April 2nd, 2018

    Van Gogh’s Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Remy

    A Van Gogh that belonged to Elizabeth Taylor, Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Remy, comes up at Christie’s in New York on May 15.  From 1963 until her death in 2011 the painting hung in Taylor’s Bel Air living room.  It was sold at auction in 2012 from nearly $16 million and is now estimated to make more than $35 million.   Taylor’s father, art dealer Francis Taylor, purchased the painting on her behalf in 1963 at auction for £92,000.

    Painted in 1889, the year before his suicide, the work was included in several of Van Gogh’s most important early exhibitionsThese groundbreaking shows, including the 1905 retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, were instrumental in the formation of his posthumous reputation.

    Christie’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York includes works by Van Gogh, Fernand Leger and Mark Chagall, all of whom experienced breakthrough results in November 2017.  Chagall’s La Tour Eiffel ($6-9 million) is being sold by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa to benefit its acquisitions fund. Leger’s Le grand dejeuner from 1921 is estimated at $15-25 million.


    March 31st, 2018

    Jackson Pollock’s Number 32, 1949

    Number 32, 1949 by Jackson Pollock comes up at Sotheby’s contemporary art evening auction in New York on May 16.  Never before seen at auction it is estimated at $30-40 million.  The production of the artist’s drip paintings of 1948-9 stands as one of the most radical events in 20th-century art, in which the boundaries of painting were pushed and a new aesthetic established. Number 32, 1949 comes from a critical year for the artist and epitomises the chaotic vibrancy, heroic drama and thrilling vigour that have come to define Pollock’s prodigious legacy.

    Jackson Pollock executed his first drip painting in 1947. Over the next two years he would hone this now instantly recognisable, signature technique, producing the monumental Autumn Rhythm (collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and Number 1A, 1948 (collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York). Number 32 is one of a small number of more intimate 1949 paintings in which the artist more fully explored the subtleties of the drip technique. It was featured in the second of two shows that year at Betty Parsons Gallery about which Robert M. Coates wrote in the New Yorker: “They seem to me the best painting he has yet done.”

    Number 32 is one of a very limited group of 16 drip paintings Pollock created on paper mounted on masonite or canvas in 1949 and one of only eight that feature the aluminium paint that creates a lustrous shimmer around his elaborate gestural movements. Boasting a fully painted surface with intricate layers of dripped and poured oil the work has one of the most complete and richly covered surfaces of the entire series.


    March 29th, 2018

    Flesh And Spirit by Jean-Michel Basquiat

    Flesh And Spirit by Jean-Michel Basquiat is a highlight of Sotheby’s New York Contemporary Art evening auction on May 16. Made up of multi-canvas panels measuring a combined 145 by 145 inches, the 1983 work is one of the largest ever made by the artist. It was acquired from Champions, the legendary exhibition at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in January 1983, for $15,000 by visionary collector Dolores Ormandy Neumann that year and has remained in the collection of the Neumann family since.

    Dolores Ormandy Neumann was an early champion of graffiti artists. In fact, it was her discovery and encouragement of graffiti art that presciently drove the influence and recognition of these emerging artists in downtown New York in the early ’80’s, leading to their embrace by an audience outside of the East Village.

    In 1973, the year following President Nixon’s historic 1972 trip to China, Mrs Ormandy Neumann’s uncle, Eugene Ormandy, led the first American orchestra to perform in China as the trailblazing conductor of the Philadelphia Philharmonic. The tour, which took place seven years after the start of the Cultural Revolution and was attended by the Chinese First Lady Madam Mao in Beijing, is widely heralded the start of artistic exchange between the two countries.


    March 27th, 2018

    Constantin Brancusi – La Jeune fille sophistiquée (Nancy Cunard)

    A masterpiece of 20th century sculpture, Constantin Brancusi’s La Jeune fille sophistiquée (Nancy Cunard), comes up  at Christie’s in New York on May 15.  This unique piece from the collection of Elizabeth Stafford is at auction for the first time.  Christie’s say it is poised to make an auction record for the artist. It was cast in polished bronze in 1932 and acquired  by Mrs. Stafford and her husband Frederick Stafford directly from Brancusi during a visit to his studio in 1955.

    An extraordinarily rare and important work, La Jeune fille sophistiquée is the only existing bronze example of Brancusi’s stylized portrait of the Anglo-American heiress and writer Nancy Cunard. The work retains the artist’s original hand-carved marble base, a factor of immense significance given the importance Brancusi attached to the interaction between materials and the interplay between his sculptural subjects and the pedestals upon which he placed them.

    Conor Jordan, Deputy Chairman, Impressionist and Modern Art, New York, remarked: “A daring and exquisite work of art, the Brancusi from The Collection of Elizabeth Stafford represents one of the vanishingly small number of the artist’s bronzes with its original carved base not in a museum collection. Its appearance on the market will be an exciting event for the world’s foremost collectors of Modern art.”


    March 27th, 2018

    Gino De Dominicis (1947-1998) – Untitled. Gold and silver leaf, tempera and pencil on panel. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd.

    In 2018 Christie’s Italy celebrates its 60th anniversary, since the auction house opened its first ever representative office outside the UK in Rome in 1958. After five years of very successful Milan Modern and Contemporary auctions with average sell-through rates of 93% by lot, Christie’s will offer the 6th edition of this curated sale on April  11 at Palazzo Clerici in Milan.

    Reflecting a growing global appetite for the best of Italian post-war and contemporary art, Christie’s Milan auctions have seen an increase of international participation over the years with registrants coming from 17 countries, including from Europe, Middle East, UK, Asia, North and South America.

    Renato Pennisi, Director and Senior Specialist, Head of Sale, Christie’s Italy, said: “The April 2018 auction will offer a very tailor-made approach to satisfy the needs of our national and growing international collector group. All 57 lots are being sourced privately and many have never or not appeared at auction for decades. This year we have integrated a new section dedicated to the figurative artists, which is been celebrated with the current exhibition Post Zang Tumb Tuuum. Art Life Politics: Italia 1918–1943 at the Fondazione Prada until 28 June. We are again pleased to present such a great variety of 20th century Italian art movements in Milan, as this city continues to be a key location to buy the very best of Italian Art”.

    March 24th, 2018

    The Spring sale of Irish art at James Adam in Dublin takes place on March 27. The catalogue, which lists 123 lots, is online.  Here is a small selection:

    (See post on for March 20, 2018)

    Colin Middleton RHA RUA (1910 – 1983) Judy  UPDATE: THIS MADE 26,000 AT HAMMER

    Richard Doyle (1824 – 1883)
    Pied Piper of Hamelin  UPDATE: THIS MADE 10,000 AT HAMMER

    James Arthur O’Connor (1792-1841)
    Two Figures in a Moonlit Landscape  UPDATE: THIS MADE 7,400 AT HAMMER

    Felim Egan (b.1952)
    Blue Motion (1986)
    Triptych  UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,800 AT HAMMER

    Looking towards Achill from the east of Achill Sound by Paul Henry  UPDATE: THIS MADE 47,000 AT HAMMER

    Bird Barking by Hilary Heron (1923-1976)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 7,000 AT HAMMER

    March 24th, 2018

    Africa Dances by Ben Enwonwu (£60,000-£90,000). UPDATE:  THIS SOLD FOR £187,500

    Modern and Contemporary African art will come under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London on March 28.  This is the second dedicated sale in what is the newest specialist department at Sotheby’s.  It will include works by 62 artists from 16 countries across Africa.

    The focus is on contemporary art.  Most of these works have not been offered before in an international auction. Last year the inaugural sale in this category drew buyers from 30 countries and more than half the lots sold at figures above the high estimate.

    Hannah O’Leary, head of modern and contemporary art at Sotheby’s said:  “The international spotlight on Modern and Contemporary African art is growing ever stronger as museums, critics and art fairs increasingly look to profile art from the region”.