Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
  • About Des
  • Contact
  • Posts Tagged ‘sotheby’s’


    Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

    Jack B. Yeats – Sunday Evening in September, 1949  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £394,000

    Sunday Evening in  September, 1949 by Jack B. Yeats will highlight Sotheby’s Irish art sale in London on September 11. Estimated at £300,000-500,000 it features a young couple taking a stroll on St. Stephen’s Green and is described by Sotheby’s as an evocative ode to the city, of carefree evenings and a timeless tour de force.

    The sale will be led by a single-owner selection of works from the Joseph and Brenda Calihan Collection. In 16 oils, the Calihan Collection represents a distillation of Irish art across a hundred-year period, from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries. The group is characterised by the exemplary and individual qualities of each piece. The collection of the Pittsburgh based couple includes works by Jack B Yeats, Paul Henry, Gerard Dillon and John Luke, and carries a combined estimate in the region of €1.6 million.  The works will be on view at the RHA on August 30 and September 1.


    Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

    A new auction record was set for any book illustration at Sotheby’s in London today when the original map of Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood by E.H. Shepard sold for £430,000. Possibly the most famous map in children’s literature, this charming sketch from 1926 was unseen for nearly half a century ahead of the sale. It was offered with an estimate of £100,000-150,000.

    Featuring on the opening end-papers of the original book the sketch introduces readers to the delightful imagination of Christopher Robin and his woodland friends. Exactly 40 years later the map played a starring role in the landmark Disney film – Winnie-the-Pooh and the Honey Tree – where it was brought to life as an animation in the film’s opening sequence. The previous record for any book illustration was £314,500, set at Sotheby’s in December 2014 for the original illustration for Poohsticks. 


    Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

    J.M.W. Turner – The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen

    One of the greatest watercolours by Turner left in private hands made £2 million at Sotheby’s sale of Old Master and British Works on Paper sale in London today.  The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen, which depicts one of the most dramatic landscapes in the Swiss Alps,  achieved  one of the top prices for a watercolour for an artist.

    Inspired by Turner’s travels to the region between 1841 and 1844, the work was commissioned by his patron Elhanan Bicknell to hang as a companion piece to the iconic Blue Rigi, which achieved a record price at Sotheby’s in 2006 and now hangs in Tate Britain . Works from Turner’s ‘late’ Swiss series, of which this is one, have come to be seen as the ‘climax of a lifetime devoted to the expression of light and colour’.


    Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

    Lucian Freud – Portrait on a White Cover

    One of Lucian Freud’s last great nudes, Portrait on a White Cover sold  for £22.5 million at Sotheby’s in London tonight.  It was the most valuable painting by the artist ever sold in London. The previous highest price for a London auction of the artist’s work was £16.1 million set by Pregnant Girl at Sotheby’s in February 2016.  Painted when the artist was 80 years old it represents the culmination of Freud’s lifelong engagement with the reclining nude. Alongside the self-portrait, the reclining nude was the defining leitmotif of Freud’s career. Across sixty years of painting, innumerable mutations of painterly style, and a multitude of sitters, he returned to this challenging subject time and again.

    Portrait on a White Cover depicts Sophie Lawrence, who worked for Tate publishing and was spotted by Freud whilst preparing for his Tate retrospective in 2002. This is her only known portrait and there is little written about her in the literature surrounding the artist’s work. Ahead of this sale, she shared her story of sitting for the artist: “I wouldn’t have done it for anyone else, but he is one of the best artists who has ever lived. It was incredibly intimidating, but he made me feel at ease. He was very good at building a rapport with peopleI was very fond of him.”

    The artist painted only three further reclining nudes before his death in 2011. The painting which immediately preceded Portrait on a White Cover, Naked Portrait 2002 – depicting Kate Moss pregnant – set a new auction record for the artist at £7.3 million when it appeared at auction in 2005. Four of the top five prices for the artist at auction are for reclining nudes.


    Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

    Nelson’s pocket watch.  UPDATE: THIS MADE £322,000

    A watch that belonged to Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson and is thought to have been carried during the Battle of Trafalgar will be one of the highlights of Sotheby’s Treasures sale on 4 July. It is estimated at £250,000 – 450,000.  On the morning of the Battle of Trafalgar, William Beatty – the Irish surgeon aboard Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory, observed how before the battle commenced, the Admiral called upon his lieutenants to synchronise their watches to the time on his own watch. It is therefore quite possible that the tumultuous events of that historic day unfolded to the time kept by this very watch.

    Fought on October21,  1805 off the southern coast of Spain, the Battle of Trafalgar was a decisive moment in the Napoleonic Wars (1796 – 1815). Commanded by Admiral Nelson the British fleet defeated the combined fleets of the Spanish and French navies, fighting off Napoleon Bonaparte’s advancements to invade Britain. In the midst of battle, Nelson was shot in the left shoulder, a shot that would prove fatal.

    The Chairman of Sotheby’s International Watch Division, Daryn Schnipper said: ‘The perfect timing of the British assault at the Battle of Trafalgar was key in the historic victory of the Royal Navy so to be able to offer for sale the watch that Nelson probably used to establish the timing for this decisive battle, is a real privilege.”

    One of the nineteen relics returned to Nelson’s mistress, Emma, Lady Hamilton, following his death, the watch was inherited by the Admiral’s brother, Willliam, 1st Earl Nelson and subsequently passed to his sole surviving child, Charlotte. Charlotte arranged for the watch to be mounted in its current form as a carriage clock, presumably so it could be better admired and treasured as her illustrious uncle’s most precious possession. It was excluded from the group of precious relics, including the Admiral’s orders and decorations offered for sale in 1895 and subsequently acquired by the British government.


    Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

    Fresh to market works by Picasso, Giacometti, Monet, Kandinsky and Matisse brought a total of  £87.5 million  at Sothebys sale of Impressionist and Modern art in London last night.   The auction was led by Buste de femme de profil (Femme écrivant) from Picasso’s ‘year of wonders’, 1932, which sold for over ten times the £2.4 million it achieved when last at auction in 1997. At £27.3 million it brought the total for four works by Picasso in the sale to £40 million.

    Giacometti’s elegant Le Chat sold for £12.6 million. Subsequent to this rendition of a cat, a dog and two horses in 1951, Giacometti never turned his hand to sculpting animals again. Monet’s dazzling La Méditerranée par vent de mistral  made £7.2 million and Camille Pissarro’s Le boulevard Montmartre, brume du matin, from the artist’s most celebrated series of urban views, was acquired by an Asian private collector for £3.5 million.

    Pablo Picasso – Buste de femme de profil

    Alberto Giacometti – Le Chat


    Friday, June 15th, 2018

    Four paintings created by three of the key players in the development of Impressionist art come up at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern sale in London on June 19.  Each one embodies a different aspect of the movement, together providing an engaging insight into one of the most important periods of art history. The journey opens with Boudin’s Crinolines sur la plage (1866) and Monet’s Le Port de Zaandam (1871)marking the beginnings of Impressionist painting, with both artists painting en plein air to capture fleeting ‘impressions’ of time and place. In a rare still-life painted the following decade, Monet adapts the pioneering techniques of this ‘new’ art to a traditional subject, and the story ends with Pissarro’s majestic urban view of fin-de-siècle Paris.

    Commenting on this group, Philip Hook, Senior Specialist, Sotheby’s Board Director and author of Rogues’ Gallery: A History of Art and its Dealers, said: ‘Three of the works also share a connection with one of the most remarkable men in the history of the Impressionist movement – Paul Durand-Ruel. Durand-Ruel was drawn to contemporary art and to the process of painters painting pictures, and dedicated his life to developing a wider appreciation for such works, creating the modern art market in the process. No dealer was closer to an artistic movement than Durand-Ruel was to Impressionism – he was its promoter and its champion, its defender and its bankroller. Without him, and these revolutionary artists, art history might have looked very different.’

    Claude Monet, Le Port de Zaandam (£3.5-5 million)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Eugène Boudin, Crinolines sur la plage (£600,000-900,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE £850,000

    Claude Monet, Citrons sur une branche (£2.5-3.5 million)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Camille Pissarro, Le Boulevard Montmartre, brume du matin (£3-5 million)  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £3.4 MILLION


    Friday, June 15th, 2018

    Jean-Michel Basquiat – New York New York

    An early Basquiat masterpiece capturing the urban energy of New York’s cityscape comes up at Sotheby’s contemporary art evening sale in London on June 26.  New York New York was painted in 1981 at the moment when his ground-breaking practice came to the attention of the international art world.   It has been in the same private collection in Italy for over 35 years and is estimated at £7-10 million. “I wanted to paint like the Lower East Side and what it was like to live there”  the artist said. The work narrates his transition from spray painting the streets of Manhattan to painting on canvas. Unconstrained by convention, his paintings on canvas and found objects of 1980-81 fully embraced the urban environment that surrounded him and speak the language of New York’s city streets.

    New York, New York was made for Basquiat’s debut solo exhibition, which took place at Galleria d’Arte Emilio Mazzoli in Modena, Italy in 1981. The show came about following the artist’s participation in the legendary New York / New Wave exhibition at P.S.1. in 1980 – an underground show at a rundown former school in Long Island that came to define a moment and was recently celebrated in the Barbican Centre’s Boom for Real exhibition. It was at P.S. 1 that visionary gallerist Emilio Mazzoli first encountered Basquiat’s work and subsequently set the wheels in motion for the artist’s international debut. The Italian show was named SAMO, after Basquiat’s street tag (an abbreviation for the phrase ‘same old shit’). The exhibition’s title marked the coming of age of the downtown graffiti-poet. This is one of the first of Basquiat’s works in which the three-pointed crown plays a central role. Basquiat’s shorthand for a long overdue ennoblement of black subjectivity in western art, the crown is repeated twice in this work, emblazoned in metallic-silver spray paint and flanking the left and right sides of the composition.


    Sunday, June 10th, 2018

    Wassily Kandinsky – Gabriele Münter im Freien vor der Staffelei  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £5.3 MILLION.

    A 1910 painting by Wassily Kandinsky of Gabriele Münter Painting Outdoors in front of an Easel  comes up at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening and Day sales in London on  June 19 and 20 June.   The auctions will include a spectrum of works by some of the most important, challenging and powerful German and Austrian artists of the 20th century. Featuring paintings and works on paper, many of which are completely fresh to the market, by leading figures such as Wassily Kandinsky, Emil Nolde, Franz Marc, Alexej von Jawkensky, August Macke, Max Liebermann and Egon Schiele, the group of over 65 works constitutes one of Sotheby’s largest offerings of German and Austrian art in recent years.

    Leading the group is  the Kandinsky which is estimated at £3.5 million.  It marks the artist’s definitive transition into abstraction. His first major breakthrough was his discovery of how colour, when disassociated from representational concerns, could become the principal subject of a painting. In this work, he achieved a delicate balance between the subtle figuration of Gabriele Münter – his companion, lover and fellow artist – and the almost completely abstracted landscape that surrounds her. In 1908 they discovered the small town of Murnau in the foothills of the Alps, and the unique context of the Bavarian countryside was key to Kandinsky’s move towards abstraction. Münter appears in four paintings from this period, of which this oil is the only one still in private hands. The work originally belonged to Jawlensky, who kept it in his collection until his death in 1941, perhaps as a memento of the happy, productive years he spent in Murnau alongside Kandinsky in a spirit of communal and artistic collaboration.


    Thursday, June 7th, 2018

    Henri Matisse, Portrait of Mary Hutchinson, 1936  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £3.1 MILLION

    A Matisse portrait of the writer Mary Hutchinson comes up at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern evening sale in London on June 19. It was created in the Paris studio of Matisse in 1936 and is estimated at £2-3 million.  Mary Hutchinson, a member of the Bloomsbury gr0up, was an active patron of the arts throughout her life.  A cousin of Lytton Strachey and friend of artist Duncan Grant, Mary was introduced to the Bloomsbury set and commenced a decade-long love affair with the art critic Clive Bell, the husband of painter Vanessa Bell. In 1915, Vanessa painted her own portrait of Mary, in dazzling colours reminiscent of Matisse’s style.

    The charcoal portrait  – one of only a handful of commissioned portrait drawings Matisse made of English women –  is coming for sale from the estate of the late Lord Hutchinson of Lullington, QC, the sitter’s son. He was a renowned criminal barrister who defended Christine Keeler and Howard Marks, as well as the publication of Lady Chatterley’s Lover in a long career of watershed legal cases and cause célèbres.  The sitting was arranged by the artist’s son-in-law Georges Duthuit, who was a writer and friend of Vanessa and Duncan.