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    ONE OF TURNER’S GREATEST WORKS AT SOTHEBY’S IN JULY

    Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

    J.M.W. Turner (1775-1881) – Ehrenbreitstein

    One of the greatest works by J.M.W. Turner still in private hands comes up at Sotheby’s in July. Ehrenbreitstein is the most important oil of a German subject that Turner ever painted.  It depicts the ruined fortress of Ehrenbreitstein near Coblenz – a place of special significance for the artist. Painted in 1835  this late work is from a period widely considered Turner’s best.  Other works from this time now hang in the world’s greatest museums, with only a minute number of this importance and quality remaining in private ownership. The subject of enormous critical acclaim when it was first exhibited in 1835.  It comes up in London on July 5 with an estimate of £15-25 million.

    Major works of such quality by Turner are rare on the international market. The last example to be offered (Rome, from Mount Aventine, painted in the same year as Ehrenbreitstein and offered at Sotheby’s in 2014) made a record £30.3 million.  This was the highest price achieved for any British-born artist at auction, and placed Turner alongside Rubens and Raphael as one of just three artists from the pre-Impressionist era to have achieved prices at this level.

    Alex Bell, Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s International Old Masters Department, said: “This painting was one of five that Turner exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1835; the other four of which are now in some of the most distinguished institutions in the world. Of those five paintings, it was Ehrenbreitstein that caught the imagination of public and critics alike – and it’s easy to see why. Its extraordinary range and depth of colour, and typically inspired and imaginative use of light, would in any case mark this painting out as a masterpiece, but its true greatness lies in the way Turner applies his painterly genius to transform the ruins of the famous fortress into a poetic and symbolic image as resonant then as it is today.“

    Of the other four paintings exhibited by Turner in that year one is in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, one is at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, one is at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and one is in the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio.

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for September 8, 2014)

    JOSEPH WALSH CHAIR AT SOTHEBY’S LONDON SALE

    Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

    Joseph Walsh – Enignum II  UPDATE: THIS MADE £13,750

    This Enignum II chair by the eminent Cork furniture designer maker Joseph Walsh comes up at Sotheby’s Made in Britain sale in London on April 5.  The internationally known Walsh makes innovative, sculptural one of a kind pieces using natural materials with an international team at his design studio at Riverstick.  Born in 1979 he founded his studio in 1999 and has exhibited around the world.

    His work is in the permanent collections of institutions including the National Museum of Ireland, the Pompidou in Paris, the Cooper Hewitt in New York, the Devonshire collection at Chatsworth and the private collection of Rafael Vinoly in Uruguay. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by UCC in 2015 in recognition of his contribution to design. The chair is estimated at £5,000-7,000.

    UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR £13,750

    ANTIQUE AVANT-GARDE CELTIC INSPIRED DESIGN FROM LIBERTY AND COMPANY

    Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

    Archibald Knox – Tudric clock model number 0369 produced by Liberty and Company,

    An Archibald Knox Celtic inspired clock dating from 1901-05 will feature at Sotheby’s Design sale in New York on March 29. Born on the Isle of Man, Archibald Knox (1864-1933) was the artist who defined The Liberty Style or English Art Nouveau.

    His Celtic inspired designs propelled Liberty & Co to the foreground of avant-garde decorative art in the late nineteenth and early twenty century.

    Knox’s Celtic heritage is inseparable from his island home. Knox was expert on the many Celtic crosses that dot the island, and was also inspired by masterpieces of Christian illumination like the Books of Kells. These sources of inspiration reflect in the elegant silhouettes and intricate decoration of his clocks and objects.

    In a catalogue note Sotheby’s say that the lots presented in this sale epitomize Knox’s talent to reinterpret the complex Celtic interlacing decoration and coloration that can be found in the early manuscript illumination and adapt them in his objects, though elegant lines realized in silver and pewter and enamelled decorations. The clock is estimated at $3,000-5,000.

    AN INTERIOR BY VILHELM HAMMERSHOI AT SOTHEBY’S

    Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

    Vilhelm Hammershøi – White Doors

    An interior by Vilhelm Hammershøi, long revered as one of Denmark’s most celebrated artists, comes up at Sotheby’s sale of 19th century European paintings in London on June 6.   Painted in 1899, White Doors perfectly reflects the interests and sensibilities of its distinguished owners, aesthetes from three generations of the same family. The work comes to sale from the estate of Jens Risom, the renowned Danish American furniture designer, best known for his mass-produced ‘Risom Chair’.  Mr. Risom died last December at the age of 100. The painting , which has never been on the market since it was painted, is estimated at £400,000-600,000.

    Hammershøi took the domestic interior as his principal subject, using his Copenhagen apartment as the setting for some of his most recognisable compositions. The sparsely furnished interconnecting rooms, dove-grey walls and solid white-painted doors provided the artist with the ideal environment in which he could immerse himself in a self-contained and hermetically sealed world. The natural daylight of the Danish mid-winter illuminates this sequence of spaces, and in White Doors its muted radiance is transformed into a poetic symphony of tone and light.

    CRESTS OF THE PRINCIPAL FAMILIES OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND

    Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

    The book on crests is on the far right.

    Crests of the principal families of Great Britain and  Ireland are included in a lot coming up at Sotheby’s sale of two great Scottish collections in London on March 28.  Lot 175 in  a sale of property from the Forbses of Pitsligo and the Marquesses of Lothian is a collection of six works on heraldry and peerage dating from 1716-1805.

    The Crests of the Principal Familes of Great Britain and Ireland was published in 1805.  There are 38 plates with prefaces.  The book belonged to Sir William Forbes and the lot is estimated at 600-800.   Property from Fettercairn House, for centuries the home to generations of Forbeses, leads the sale.  There are over 400 lots spanning the 16th century to the present day.  This will be followed by some 70 lots from the stores and attics at Monteviot House.

    A COMPLETE SET OF GOYA BULLFIGHTING PRINTS AT SOTHEBY’S

    Monday, March 13th, 2017

    La Tauromaquia, the complete set of thirty-three prints by Goya celebrating the artist’s unique understanding of the art of bullfighting, will come up at Sotheby’s in London on April 4.  This masterpiece of Spanish printmaking, recently discovered in a library in France, comes to sale from the collection of a French ducal family.  The prints remained undisturbed for decades in a nineteenth-century ledger. Estimated at £300,000-500,000, the prints are virtually flawless examples of the first and only contemporary edition that was printed for Goya from large copperplates etched and aquatinted by him in 1815-1816.

    They were brought from the court of Madrid around the time of their publication to the château de Montigny in France in 1831.  They will headline Sotheby’s sale of Prints & Multiple.

    Séverine Nackers, Head of Prints, Sotheby’s Europe, said: “To find a complete set of Goya’s bullfighting prints with such historically significant provenance is a once-in-a-lifetime discovery. With La Tauromaquia currently holding the auction record for a series of prints by Goya, we’re expecting an enthusiastic response from collectors.”

    UPDATE: THE COMPLETE SET SOLD FOR £512,750

    Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes – La Tauromaquia

    Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes – La Tauromaquia

     

    RICHTER’S ICEBERG SHINES IN STELLAR NIGHT AT SOTHEBY’S

    Thursday, March 9th, 2017

    Gerhard Richter’s Iceberg led a stellar auction of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s in London last night. It sold for £17.7 million in an auction which realised £118 million.  In a  record breaking night for post war German art there was a new record for George Baselitz when Mit Roter Fahne (With Red Flag), 1965 sold for £7.5 million.  The 15 works by German artists totalled £48.1 million.

    Jean-Michel Basquiat’s seminal ‘Untitled (One Eyed Man or Xerox Face)’, 1983, sold for £12 million. When the painting previously appeared at auction in 1987, it sold for $23,100. Christopher Wool’s untitled 2007 work from his sought-after Grey Paintings series of enamel works, sold at double the estimate for £7.1 million.   Between two lights by Sean Scully sold for £800,750 over a top estimate of £650,000.

    It was an auction where 57 works sold of 61 lots offered and 75% of lots had never been offered at auction before.  There was a 35% increase in the number of sale participants compared to the equivalent auction last year, with participants from 43 countries.

    (See posts on antiquesandartireland.com for February 3, 14,  and 21 2017)

    Gerard Richter’s Iceberg sold for £17.7 million

    Between two lights by Sean Scully sold for £800,750

    SCARFE AT SOTHEBY’S IN APRIL

    Monday, March 6th, 2017

    Over 130 drawings by the foremost caricaturist and cartoonist of our age, Gerald Scarfe (b. 1936), come up at Sotheby’s in London on April 5.  One highlight is a drawing of Winston Churchill showing his final appearance in the House of Commons in 1964. Scarfe had been commissioned by The Times to record the occasion, but his image was deemed too controversial to publish. In the artist’s own words ‘…The Times refused to print my drawing, saying that Churchill’s wife, Clementine, would be upset when the paper dropped through the letter-box in the morning.’ Less than six months later Churchill was dead, and the image appeared on Private Eye’s cover. Until recently, the drawing has been on exhibition at Portcullis House, House of Commons.

    Continuing a tradition of uncompromising satire dating back to Hogarth and Gillray, Scarfe has pushed the boundaries of caricature for more than five decades, delivering provocative portraits of the foremost politicians and statesmen of our age, from Winston Churchill to Theresa May. Together, they tell the history of over half a century of political intrigue and seismic change. Scarfe’s no-holds-barred approach in his contributions for Private Eye and The New Yorker, and as The Sunday Times’ political cartoonist for more than 50 years, has secured him a place on the list of the most 40 important newspaper journalists of the modern era. While many of the drawings included in the auction have been published, a number of works included in the sale are unseen, revealing the most private views of the artist.

    Gerald Scarfe – “Churchill in the House of Commons”.

    Gerald Scarfe – “Kneel you snivelling bastard”

    THIRD HIGHEST PRICE FOR A WORK FOR ART SOLD IN EUROPE

    Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

    Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) – Bauerngarten painted in 1907

    Gustav Klimt’s Bauerngarten sold for £47.9 million at Sotheby’s in London tonight. The third highest price for any work of art ever sold at auction in Europe was achieved at a sale which scored the highest total of £195 million for any auction ever staged in London.  At the Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist art evening sales five lots sold for over £10 million.

    The Klimt was a record for a landscape by the artist. Four bidders competed for the luminous flower garden. Bauerngarten was painted in 1907 during the golden period of Klimt’s career.

    It was a highlight of the critically acclaimed ‘Painting the Modern Garden’ exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London last year and at at auction for the first time in over two decades.

    Picasso’s Plante de Tomates, painted just days before the liberation of Paris in 1944, sold for £17 million. This is a record for a still life by the artist. The total achieved for eight works by Picasso over the course of the evening was £54.7 million. Two other works by Picasso exceeded £10 million – Femme nu assise (£13.6 million) and  Femme assise dans un fauteuil sur fond blanc (£12 million).  Modigliani’s Portrait of Baranowski made £16 million and a Tahiti painting by Gauguin sold for £8.3 million.

    Helena Newman, Global Co-Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department & Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said:
    Tonight’s outstanding result is a new benchmark for London sales as much as it is a statement on the momentum of the global art market in 2017. The success of tonight’s sale lies in reading the market to know what buyers are looking for, and Sotheby’s having been entrusted by our clients with extraordinary works. This, combined with the pent up market demand for works of such extraordinary calibre, propelled global buying in our saleroom – particularly from Asia –  and it was wonderful to experience on the rostrum.”

    Amedeo Modigliani
    PORTRAIT DE BARANOWSKI sold for £16 million

    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Vier Akte under Baumen (Four nudes under trees) sold for £5.4 million.

    Paul Gauguin – Te Arii Vahine sold for £8.3 million

    A PICASSO PAINTING SYMBOLIC OF VICTORY IN EUROPE

    Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

    Pablo Picasso – Plant de tomates. UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR £17,033,750

    Painted days before the liberation of Paris Picasso’s Plant de tomates comes up at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in London on March 1.  Picasso’s series of five paintings of a tomato plant in bloom in the Paris apartment he shared with his lover Marie-Thérèse are ripe with personal as well as wider political and cultural significance. Symbolic of victory in Europe they were a way of reflecting the spirit of hope and resilience that characterised this time.  Estimated at £10-15 million this is the most complex and visually striking example of the war period series. This museum quality work has been in a private collection for four decades.  It was sold at Sotheby’s in New York in 1976.

    Samuel Valette, Sotheby’s Senior Specialist in Impressionist & Modern Art, commented: “This exceptional work by Pablo Picasso was painted at a moment of particular tension during the war: the liberation of Paris. As such, it is infused with a sense of renewed energy and hope that distinguishes it from other wartime still-lifes, which were imbued with a more sombre and dark mood. It shows that there was light at the end of the tunnel. For Picasso, the very act of continuing to paint as normal was an act of resistance, and following the Liberation, his atelier became a must-see for the allied soldiers who wanted to witness what the master had created in the war years.”