Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    October 1st, 2023
    A specimen marble table

    A specimen table and a military campaign travelling bookcase are among the lots of note at Aidan Foley’s last big sale at Sixmilebridge on October 2, 3 and 4. Among 1,900 los there is art by Patrick Copperwhite, Thomas Ryan, Tom Greaney, Christy Doran, Michael Hales, John Morris, Graham Knuttel and others. There is a diamond tennis bracelet, rings and costume jewellery as well as Persian rugs, Waterford Crystal and a variety of collectibles including militaria, stamps, silver and whiskeys. The Sixmilebridge auction room has been sold to a supermarket group and the auctioneer will continue to operate from rooms at Kilcolgan, Co. Galway and Doneraile in Co. Cork and online. A final smaller sale is scheduled to take place at Sixmilebridge early in November.

    A 19th century military campaign bookcase at Aidan Foley’s sale.


    October 1st, 2023

    The Jewellery Box, a timed online auction at James Adam in Dublin, runs until October 2 and is now on view in Dublin.  It offers over 200 lots of affordable jewellery including cluster rings, pendants, bracelets, necklaces and ear studs.  Meantime Matthews will hold an evening sale of jewellery, gold and silver in Kells, Co. Meath on October 3.  It features over 490 lots of executor and solicitor instructions and pawnbrokers unredeemed pledges. Lot 488 is a Faberge brooch set with Russian sapphire and diamonds. Catalogues for both sales are online.

    A selection from Matthews auction


    September 30th, 2023
    Brent Geese on the Salt Flats by Norah McGuinness. UPDATE: THIS MADE 21,000 AT HAMMER

    Brent Geese on the Salt Flats by Norah McGuinness at Whyte’s evening sale of Irish and International Art in Dublin on October 2 almost certainly dates to the 1960’s.  One of the founding members of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art in 1943 she was selected alongside Nano Reid to represent Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1957.  Norah McGuinness supplied illustrations to Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, worked in costume and set design for the Abbey and Peacock Theatres and as a window dresser for Altman’s on 5th Avenue in New York and at Brown Thomas in Dublin.  This work is estimated at €20,000-€30,000.  Viewing for the sale continues all weekend and the catalogue is online.


    September 30th, 2023
    The Blessington Commode 

    THE Blessington Commode – created by a refugee and asylum seeker and arguably the single most important piece of mid 18th century Irish furniture at auction in decades – comes up at the annual Country House Collections sale by James Adam at Townley Hall in Co. Louth on October 9 and 10.

    Attributed to John Kirkhoffer the commode has been linked directly to a signed 1732 piece dated 1732 by the same maker in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. The Kirkhoffers were Protestant asylum seekers who arrived in Ireland as refugees from the Rhineland Palatinate area.  They were in counties Kerry and Limerick before settling in Dublin. The influx of asylum seekers then – including silversmiths, clock and furniture makers from Germany, Holland and France –  gave Irish craft and skill an enormous shot in the arm.  John Kirkhoffer is recorded in Dublin in the early 18th century and  founded a cabinet making business that lasted into the 19th century.  His father Franz Ludwig arrived in Ireland in 1709. The walnut and seaweed marquetry chest was originally made for William Stewart, 1st Earl of Blessington.  He had a house at Henrietta St. in Dublin and a mansion at Blessington, Co. Wicklow which was burned down in the 1798 Rebellion.  The attribution to Kirkhoffer was made by Desmond Fitzgerald, the late Knight of Glin and it is estimated at €100,000-€150,000.  Earlier this year a George I secretaire by Kirkhoffer was donated by benefactor David Boles to the Irish Museum of Time in Waterford.

    A  mid 19th century Killarney wood davenport 

    Adams 757 lot auction draws together period furniture, paintings, silverware anddecorative objects from some of Ireland’s finest country houses and more modest collections with an emphasis on quality and rarity. Among the main furniture lots are a pair of c1776 elliptical side tables to a design by architect James Wyatt (€60,000-€100,000), a pair of c1785 Irish side tables with inlaid marble tops attributed to Pietro Bossi  and a c 1740 Irish hall table each estimated at €50,000-€80,000.  An Irish giltwood rectangular mirror is estimated at €20,000-€30,000, as is a pair of Irish red walnut and parcel gilt mirrors attributed to John Booker once at Adare Manor.  They lead a large selection of elegant mirrors in the sale.

    A c1740 Irish hall table

    There is a Killarney davenport (€8,000-€12,000), a George II chevron banded walnut bureau (€15,000-€20,000),  a pair of Irish marble topped side tables (€15,000-€20,000), a pair of c1790 torcheres (€20,000-€30,000) and a c1770 mahogany cased barometer by John Alment, Dublin set with a hydrometer and a thermometer.Other top lots include a portrait bust of Henry Grattan by Peter Turnerelli, a set of four silver entree dishes by James le Bas, Dublin, four Irish Georgian silver candlesticks and a Cork George III coffee pot by John Nicholson c1770.The Salmon Leap at Leixlip by Thomas Roberts and Lady Nugent’s Hunter by John Ferneley snr. are each estimated at €30,000-€50,000.The first 281 lots will be sold in a timed online sale on October 9.  There will be a live auction at Adam’s salerooms in Dublin on the following day.  The catalogue is online and there will be viewing at Townley Hall, Drogheda on October 7, 8 and 9.

    A c1770 Cork coffee pot by John Nicholson


    September 29th, 2023
    CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926) – Le bassin aux nymphéas  CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LIMITED 2023

    Le bassin aux nymphéas, one of Monet’s monumental canvases from the celebrated water lily series, will be a leading highlight at Christie’s 20th Century evening sale in New York on November 9. Modern and timeless, Le bassin aux nymphéas captures the dynamism and beauty of nature’s transience, exploring the ephemeral atmosphere, seasonal blooms, watery depths, and glimmering reflections of light of Monet’s famed lily pond in Giverny. This superb example has been held in the same family collection for over fifty years. It is estimated to realise over $65 million.

    Monet’s paintings of the water lilies are now among the most highly coveted and celebrated Impressionist masterpieces of his oeuvre, with examples held in the most esteemed private and institutional collections around the world. Le bassin aux nymphéas dates from 1917-1919, an all-important period of experimentation in Monet’s practice during which he achieved a new painterly vision of the lily-pond, sparked by his desire to create mural size images of the motif rather than the smaller water landscapes he had been creating prior. These grand, monumental depictions were filled with gestural, vigorous bolts of color that coalesce to form the watery landscape, the vibrancy and gestural quality of the brushwork revealing the impressive energy that lay behind the artist’s paintings, even at this late stage of his career.


    September 29th, 2023

    The artist Paul Henry was in his early ’20’s when this portrait was painted by Sir Robert Ponsonby Staples in 1898. Signed with a monogram and titled with a shamrock it comes up as lot 14 at Whyte’s sale of Irish and International Art in Dublin on October 2 with an estimate of €5,000-€7,000. Born in 1876 the year 1898 was the year the young artist moved to Paris to study at the Academie Julien and Whistler’s Academie Carmen. The portrait is from a private collection in California. Viewing for the auction continues all weekend at Whyte’s galleries on Molesworth St. in Dublin. Among the artists featured are  William Percy French, Letitia Hamilton, Rose Mary Barton, William Orpen, John Lavery, Paul Henry, William Leech, William Conor, Seán Keating, Gerard Dillon, Norah McGuinness, Patrick Collins, Louis le Brocquy, Tony O’Malley, Donald Teskey, John Shinnors, Genieve Figgis and Rowan Gillespie. 


    September 27th, 2023
    Louis Le Brocquy HRHA (1916-2012) – Eden (1952). UPDATE: THIS MADE 28,000 AT HAMMER

    Eden is the title of the 1952 tapestry by Louis le Brocquy from the sale of Important Irish Art at James Adam in Dublin this evening (September 27). Lot 12 is estimated at €25,000-€35,000. According to the catalogue note the artist was approached by Edinburgh Tapestry Weavers in 1948. They wanted him to design a tapestry. Interested in how colour could convey emotion and the pure colour of tapestry could convey this he complied. He created his own detailed, precisely colour-coded patterns, or linear templates, a pre-Renaissance technique learned from Jean Lurçat. Le Brocquy created several series of tapestries with Edinburgh and with Aubusson in France andthe Eden series spans both studios. The woman’s heel on the upper right refers to the divine pronouncement that the serpent, blamed by her for her fall from grace, will bruise her heel – though she will crush it.

    In his catalogue note Aidan Dunne states: “The dazzling, twisting form of the snake suggests that the artist takes a more uplifting view of the possibilities presented by the tree of knowledge, and the dawning of human consciousness and imagination, than religious judgement might decree.” This tapestry is from an edition of nine by Atelier Tabard Frères & Soeurs.


    September 26th, 2023
    PAUL CEZANNE (1839–1906) – Fruits et pot de gingembre ($35 million – 55 million).  CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LIMITED 2023

    Three masterpiece paintings by Paul Cezanne will highlight Christie’s 20th Century evening sale In New York on November 9 during Fall Marquee Week. Fruits et pot de gingembre ($35 million – 55 million),  Quatre pommes et un couteau ($7 million – 10 million) and La mer à L’Estaque ($3 million – 5 million) are from the collection of the Museum Langmatt in Baden, Switzerland, home to one of the most extraordinary collections of Impressionist art in Europe, assembled with care and passion in the early 20th century by famed collectors Sidney and Jenny Brown.

    Bequeathed to the City of Baden, Switzerland in 1987, the villa Langmatt a historic family home built in 1900-01 was converted into a public museum and cultural institution which opened in 1990. The Museum has required increasing levels of care, to maintain its aging physical facilities, which has substantially depleted the resources of the  Langmatt foundation. The Museum will receive substantial funds from the City of Baden and the Canton Aargau towards renovation and restoration and the foundation must raise CHF 40 million / circa US$45 million for its endowment fund, providing the necessary interest rates for the long-term future of the museum’s operation. The sale of these three Cezanne masterpieces will be offered in a unique sale format. They will be offered consecutively until the total amount bid achieves the fundraising target. The Museum has committed to sell only the lots required to achieve its goal. Once this 40M mark has been reached in the auction, any subsequent lot(s) in the trio will be withdrawn from sale and returned to public display in Switzerland. 


    September 26th, 2023

    THIS decorative card table, described as Irish by Sheppards, made a hammer price of €3,600 at the opening session of the three day Legacy of the Big House sale at Sheppards in Durrow today. It had been estimated at €3,000-€5,000. A platinum five stone ring made €18,000; an Irish brass bound peat bucket made €1,900; a Donegal carpet made €4,200 and a Donegal runner made €1,900; a Mappin and Webb plated oil lamp made €1,700; a pair of 19th century wingback armchairs made €2,400, a 1941 painting of Horses in a Parade Ring by the German artist Otto Dill made €3,200; a 19th century French kingwood commode made €2,800 and an Art Nouveau sterling silver punch bowl made €2,600.

    A collection of ten artworks by Percy French sold for various prices from €3,400 to €12,000 (2). A French Empire bronze and gilded mantel clock made €6,500 and a Sevres and ormolu mantel clock made €7,000 and a late 17th century lacquered cabinet on stand made €5,500. The sale of around 1,500 lots, with 500 on offer each day, is continuing.


    September 24th, 2023
    A Neo Classical marble chimney piece. UPDATE: THIS MADE €4,800 at hammer

    The annual Legacy of the Big House sale over three days at Sheppards in Durrow on September 16, 27 and 28 offers 1,496 lots of period furniture, art, militaria, silver, jewellery, Asian art and collectibles including an electric guitar signed by the Rolling Stones.  One of a number of rarities is a view of Cobh, Co. Cork before the advent of the railway  built in 1860 by the early English lithographer John Brandard (1812-1863).  Lot 118, which comes up on Tuesday, is estimated at €150-€200. There are Qing Dynasty hardwood palace cabinets, Limerick silver serving spoons, a punch ladle and a soup ladle, a neo classical marble chimney piece, a Donegal carpet, a platinum five stone diamond ring, art by Percy French and Mark O’Neill, Chinese ceramics and French mantle clocks among the top lots. Around 500 lots are to be sold on each day.  Viewing is underway in Durrow and the catalogue is online.

    John Brandard (1812-1863) lithograph titled “The Cove of Cork” UPDATE: THIS MADE €220 at hammer