Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Saturday, July 1st, 2017

    This mallet salvaged from Liberty Hall is part of a collection of Easter Rising memorabilia at Sotheby’s English Literature sale in London on July 11.

    The auction will feature a map of Dublin issued to crown forces before going into action in 1916, a rare second printing of The Proclamation, the second manifesto of the provisional government, a propaganda newsletter, news cuttings, postcards and ephemera. The lot is estimated at £15,000-20,000.

    A half sheet of the original proclamation is estimated at £6,000-8,000.  The sale includes the first Irish printed edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost and a c1753 review of The Revenue Laws of Ireland.


    Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

    Andy Warhol – Self Portrait 1963-64.

    Andy Warhol’s first “selfie” sold for £6 million at Sotheby’s contemporary art evening auction in London tonight.  The work, from his  first series of self-portraits, million / $7.7  was at auction for the first time 30 years after the artist’s death in 1987.  After achieving renown for his candid portrayals of luminaries including Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor in the early 1960s, Self-Portrait represents the moment that Warhol stepped out from behind the camera and into the glare of its flashbulb.  This painting belongs to the very first sequence of self-portraits created by Warhol and was based on the first image in a strip of photo booth portraits.  The use of such unconventional source material was, at this time, fiercely innovative.

    “In the age of Instagram, Warhol’s fabled prediction that ‘in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes’ has never felt more prophetic, and the artist’s first self-portraits – created using a strip of photographs taken in a New York dime store photo-booth – have never felt more relevant to contemporary culture. This is a work of immense art historical importance that marks the watershed moment when Warhol joined the canon of the greatest self-portraitists,” James Sevier, Senior Specialist, Contemporary Art, remarked.

    The sale totalled £62.3 million, an increase of 20% on last year. Au Untitled work by Jean Michel Basquiat from 1983  made £6.4 million.


    Monday, June 26th, 2017

    Josef Albers – Colour Study for Homage to the Square  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £168,750

    A colour study for Homage to the Square by Josef Albers (1888-1976) to be sold to benefit Cork’s Lewis Glucksman Gallery comes up at Sotheby’s contemporary art day auction in London on June 29.   Made in 1976 the oil on paper is estimated at £80,000-120,000. It is to be included in the catalogue raisonne currently being prepared by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, who donated the work.

    A statement from the Bethany, Connecticut based foundation said:   The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation is delighted to sell this powerful Homage to the Square on behalf of the Glucksman Gallery. We feel that this particular oil on paper represents the bold experimentation and true dedication to human seeing, and the thrills of courageous art,  consistently achieved at this superb museum at University College Cork, Ireland. The small, innovative staff of the Glucksman, diligent and tenacious people of vision, embody the values the Alberses held most dear.


    Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

    Lucian Freud Strawberries – oil on copper

    The record for Kandinsky was broken twice in one night, there was a new record for Miro and Lucian Freud’s actual size strawberries made £120,875 per strawberry at a sterling night at Sotheby’s in London last night.  Three works made over £20 million for the first time in any London auction. The Actual Size and Impressionist and Modern evening sales brought in a combined total of £148.9 million. Kandinsky’s Murnau – Landschaft kit grunem Haus made a new record for the artist of £21 million followed just six lots later by Bild kit weissen Linien which sold for £33 million. Femme et oiseau by Joan Miro from his Constellation series sold for £24.6 million. A unique cast by Giacometti made £17.9 million. A small group of strawberries by Lucian Freud made £1.2 million.

    Helena Newman, Global Co-Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department & Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said: “To have three landmarks in the development of 20th Century art by Kandinsky, Miró and Giacometti come to the market in a single sale tonight was momentous. These key works stand as turning points in the history of art, and tonight auction history was made when the record for Kandinsky broken not just once but twice and an unprecedented three works sold over £20m in a single London Evening Sale. The strength at the very highest level of the market was echoed across price points – and sizes. Collectors were out in force, participating from a record number of locations around the globe, with the level of Asian buyers as numerous as those from the US, underscoring the enduring importance of London as a key driver of the global art market.”

    Joan Miró’s Femme et oiseaux

    Helena Newman finds bids during the sale of Wassily Kandinsky’s Bild mit weissen Linien for £33 million.


    Monday, June 19th, 2017

    Andy Warhol – Self Portrait (1963-64).

    A work from Andy Warhol’s first series of self-portraits comes up at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening auction in London on June 28. In the early 1960s the Pop art pioneer achieved renown for his candid portrayals of luminaries including Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor.

    Self-Portrait, 1963-64, represents the moment that Warhol stepped out from behind the camera and into the glare of its flashbulb – and the moment that Warhol the icon was born. This was a turning point that reverberated throughout his oeuvre. Created when Warhol was 35 years old, Self-Portrait will be offered at auction for the first time, 30 years after the artist’s death in 1987.

    Self-Portrait was created using images taken in a New York photo-booth. The use of such unconventional source material was, at this time, fiercely innovative, and added to the aura of technical invention that already surrounded this artist, who had pioneered the use of silkscreen printing in art only a couple of years previously. The work is estimated at £5-7 million.


    Monday, June 5th, 2017

    London to St. Ives, a journey through British Art is the title of the sale of an important private collection at Sotheby’s on June 29.  The evening sale comprises 49 works and features British artists such as Frank Auerbach, Lucian Freud, Graham Sutherland, Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon and Anthony Caro.

    During the middle of the 20th century, London – bomb-ravaged and starving but still the capital city of a global empire – had a serious competitor as the artistic capital in a small fishing village at the westernmost tip of the country. In both London and Cornwall, artists wrestled with the question posed by German philosopher Adorno – how could one write poetry after the horrors of Auschwitz? For London-based artists such as Frank Auerbach, Lucian Freud and Reg Butler this resulted in an intense and forensic re-examination of the human figure and human relationships. In St Ives artists such as Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon and Terry Frost turned to abstraction. This is an auction of work by the British artists at the forefront of the avant-garde. It is estimated to bring in between £3-5 million.

    Peter Lanyon – Fly Away 1961 (£300,000-500,000)

    Patrick Heron – Tall Brown June 1959 (£400,000-600,000)

    Frank Auerbach – Jake Seated (£300,000-500,000)


    Friday, June 2nd, 2017

    Dante Gabriel Rosetti – Lady Lilith  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £680,750

    The only version of one of the most iconic works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti to remain in private hands comes up at Sotheby’s in London on July 13. A celebration of the beauty of the artist’s first mistress, Fanny Cornforth Lady Lilith comes to auction for the first time in thirty years. The work was painted during Rossetti’s most innovative period in the 1860’s, when he created the cult of the Pre-Raphaelite beauty, or ‘Stunner’ as he called them, whose physical qualities were embodied by Fanny Cornforth.  It is estimated at £400,000-600,000.

    Simon Toll, Sotheby’s Victorian Art Specialist, said: “Rossetti’s work is a great passion of mine and I have been lucky enough to bring to auction several important examples by him in recent years, breaking the world record for a watercolour, a drawing and an oil painting. ‘Lady Lilith’ has always been one of my favourites but I had never seen this particular picture ‘in the flesh’. It was a moment of genuine excitement when I first saw it being unwrapped from the packing case in which it had been sent from Japan, its home for the last thirty years. Not only is the work in wonderful condition, it’s also in Rossetti’s original frame and with the artist’s hand-written poem attached to the backing-board. To find a picture in such an untouched condition is exceptionally rare.”


    Thursday, June 1st, 2017

    The bag used to bring back to earth the very first sample of lunar material ever collected comes up at Sotheby’s in New York on July 20 – the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. Traces of the moon dust and small rocks are still embedded in the fabric of the bag, which is labeled “Lunar Sample Return”.  Nearly all of the equipment from that historic mission is housed in the U.S. National Collections at the Smithsonian; however a recent court ruling has allowed this to be the only such artifact in private hands. It comes up at an inaugural Space Exploration sale and is estimated at $2-4 million.

    Cassandra Hatton, Vice President and Senior Specialist in charge of the sale commented: “This seemingly modest bag was part of mankind’s greatest journey, and played a crucial role in the single most important scientific task of the Apollo 11 mission – to bring back the very first sample of lunar material ever collected. To be able to see such an object in person is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is one thing to read about going to the moon; it is quite another to hold in one’s hands an object that was actually there, and that still carries traces of that faraway place.”



    Monday, May 29th, 2017

    Michele Marieschi – La Punta della Dogana e san Giorgio Maggiore

    A rare eighteenth century painting by Italian artist Michele Marieschi will come up at Sotheby’s  flagship Old Master evening sale in London on July 5. La Punta della Dogana e san Giorgio Maggiore, comes to the market following a successful restitution settlement, led by Art Recovery International, between the current possessors and the heirs of the previous owners – the Graf family who last saw the painting in 1938, before they fled Nazi occupied Austria. Following over 15 years of negotiations, the work will be offered this summer with an estimate of £500,000 – 700,000.

    Painted in 1739 – 40, La Punta della Dogana e san Giorgio Maggiore is a rare example of a unique work by Marieschi, who often created multiple paintings from the same viewpoint. Depicting the Dogana with the Church of San Giorgio across the Bacino in the distance, and animated by a host of colourful figures and gondolas in the foreground, this painting is notable for its broad panorama and the depth of its composition, and is one of Marieschi’s most successful works.


    Monday, May 29th, 2017

    The art collection of celebrated photographer Mario Testino will be sold across two auctions at Sotheby’s on September 13 and 14 and an online only sale of the photographs he collected. Proceeds from the sales will benefit Museo Mate in Lima, Peru.  The sale will be preceded by an exhibition – “Shake it Up” – at Sotheby’s in London.  More than 400 works will be displayed. “Art had a transformative effect on my life and I want to give people this same opportunity. I hope through Museo MATE and all its activities we can do that”  he said.

    A collector for over three decades Testino supported many leading artists before they became established names.  There are artists of 45 different nationalities in the sale.  They range from  renowned international artists including Richard Prince, Georg Baselitz, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rudolf Stingel, Sterling Ruby, Gilbert & George and Cindy Sherman, to emerging names from every corner of the globe.

    Wolfgang Tillmans Eclipse 2-3 (1998) (£40,000-60,000)

    Richard Prince Untilted (Girlfriend) 1993 (£250,000-350,000)