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  • IRISH FREEDOM STRUGGLE AND CIVIL WAR AT NATIONAL GALLERY SHOWS

    August 15th, 2022
    Seán Keating – An Allegory, 1924. © Estate of Seán Keating, IVARO Dublin, 2022. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

    The divisive nature of the Irish Civil War is addressed in this 1924 painting, An Allegory by Sean Keating. The prevailing sense of disquiet and uncertainty is a reflection of Ireland in the wake of the war which raged on this island exactly a century ago. Among the characters featured are the artist, his wife and child.  A new display which opens at the National Gallery on August 20  comprises nine works by Keating and one by William Orpen.  Art on display includes Men of the West, On the Run – War of Independence and Homo Sapiens: An Allegory of Democracy. A number of portraits of nationalist figures such as Erskine Childers, John Devoy and Terence MacSwiney will be on display alongside William Orpen’s monumental painting The Holy Well in which Keating is the central subject.

    This is one of three displays marking the conclusion of the Decade of Centenaries at the National Gallery.  Hughie O’Donoghue Original Sins now on show addresses memory, history and questions of identity. In September an exhibition by Estella Solomons will feature portraits of leading revolutionary and cultural figures of that time.

    APPETITE FOR ART AUCTIONS UNDIMINISHED IN IRELAND

    August 13th, 2022
    An abstract artwork by Michael Hales at Aidan Foley’s sale UPDATE: THIS MADE 500 AT HAMMER

    A small pencil sketch of a country fair by Jack B. Yeats is similar in size to one Aidan Foley sold recently for €2,000 at Sixmilebridge. It comes up among about 180 lots of art at Foley’s sale on August 14 including work by Mark O’Neill, Arthur Maderson, John Morris, Markey Robinson, John Kingerlee and the British born Co. Tipperary based Michael Hales. The appetite for art at auction in Ireland is undiminished and paintings will be to the fore at Foley’s sale at Kilcolgan, Co. Galway and at Hegarty’s in Bandon on August 17. Both sales are online.

    Michael Hales, whose abstract art is gathering a growing band of admirers, has his studio at Emly and cites Bridget Riley, Gerhard Richter and Sean Scully as influences.  His work can be seen as part of a group show at the Kenmare Windows exhibition until August 28 where exhibitors are displayed in the windows of local businesses and Kenmare Butter Market as well as the Carnegie Arts Centre.  He has had various shows around Tipperary, at Cahir, Cashel and Tipperary Town and was recently at the Royal Ulster Academy’s 140th annual exhibition.

    If art is hot the same cannot be said for much of the antique furniture that surfaces at sales like Aidan Foleys.  The auctioneer is offering a mahogany four drawer chest tomorrow that would fit in any house or apartment.  It will, he predicts, go for €100 or less.  Demand for lots like Georgian drop leaf tables, a cross banded Victorian pembroke table, cheval mirrors and rosewood card tables, all of which feature in the sale tomorrow, remains weak even though antique furniture is the ultimate buy for those who want to go green and save the planet. 

    The Mill by Samuel Prout at Hegarty’s 

    Noted for the naturalness of his drawing and his play on light and shade the British watercolourist Samuel Prout (1783-1852) is credited with elevating the art of architectural drawing to new heights.  Among his pupils was the critic John Ruskin who once remarked: “Sometimes I tire of Turner but never of Prout”. A definitive collection of over 60 works by Prout as well as by his son Samuel Gillespie Prout (1822-1911) and his nephew John Skinner Prout (1805-1876) will kick off the sale at Hegarty’s on Wednesday. One of the more expensively estimated works by Samuel Prout is The Mill, a watercolour which depicts a house and watermill overlooking a stream. It is estimated at €2,500-€4,500.  There are many less expensively estimated works by the Prout family from €300 up.  A Quayside Scene by Samuel Prout is estimated at €300-€600 and a watercolour of Ratisbon Cathedral (modern day Regensberg) by Samuel Gillespie Prout is estimated at €500-€700. The Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery holds a collection of work by Samuel Prout. Among other lots of note at Hegarty’s is a portrait of a young female  by John Butler Yeats (1839-1922) from the Yeats family collection. It is thought to be of his daughter Lily who often sat for her father and is estimated at €1,000-€2,000. Poppies in Sunlight by Kenneth Webb is estimated at €3,000-€5,000. Kenneth Webb is to be the subject of an exhibition at Gladwell and Patterson, Beauchamp Place, London next month.

    NEW EXHIBITION ON THE LIFE OF ROBERT STEWART, LORD CASTLEREAGH

    August 13th, 2022
    Robert Stewart, 2nd Marquess of Londondonerry (Lord Castlereagh), c National Portrait Gallery, London.

    This year marks the 200th anniversary of the death by suicide of Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, an enormously influential and divisive figure, hated in both Ireland and Britain.  The silver inkstand presented by William Pitt to Stewart in 1805 when he became Secretary of State for War and the Colonies is now on display at his home at Mount Stewart, Co. Down. In this role he helped shape the future of Europe at the Congress of Vienna, the coming together of victorious leaders in 1814 after the defeat of Napoleon.  Earlier, in Ireland, he had played an important role suppressing the 1798 Rebellion and the creation of the Act of Union in 1801. 

    In England he supported the repressive measures of 1815 that linked him in the public mind to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 when the cavalry charged a 60,000 crowd demanding parliamentary reform, killing 15. This event inspired Shelley’s poem, The Masque of Anarchy, in which the second stanza begins:

    I met Murder on the way,

    He had a mask like Castlereagh

    The inkstand remained within the family until it was sold in 2019. It has been acquired by the National Trust which administers the magnificent neo classical Mount Stewart House and Gardens in Northern Ireland. It is part of a new exhibition of Robert Stewart’s life which opened on August 12. Some time after his death Lord Byron penned these lines:

    Posterity will ne’er survey

    A nobler grave than this:

    Here lie the bones of Castlereagh:

    Stop, traveller, and piss

    ESTATE OF KENNY ROGERS AT JULIEN’S AUCTIONS

    August 12th, 2022
    “ISLANDS IN THE STREAM” GOLD DIGITAL SALES AWARD COMMEMORATION ($500 – $700)

    Hold ’em or fold ’em a collection of the GRAMMY® award-winning Country and Pop music icon Kenny Rogers will come up at Julien’s Auctions in Hollywood from October 21-23. The three day live and online sale of more than 1,200 lots from the estate of the renowned actor, philanthropist, businessman and photographer will feature memorabilia, awards, jewellery, wardrobe and personal items from “The Gambler’s” six-decade career. He was one of the best selling artists of all time with 120 million records sold worldwide.

    “The Gambler” became Rogers’ signature story song, persona and one of his five consecutive hit singles to go to No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Music chart. It was a multiple-genre smash hit making the Top 10 across the pop and easy listening charts which earned him his second GRAMMY® Award.  A portion of the proceeds of the auction will benefit Music Health Alliance.

    BIANNUAL BANKSY SALE AT SOTHEBY’S OPENS ONLINE TODAY

    August 11th, 2022
    Banksy – Love is in the Air

    Sotheby’s biannual Banksy sale opens for bidding online today. This much-anticipated auction surveys the activist’s groundbreaking work with a selection of prints from his initial foray into screen printing to one of his more recent editions, Banksquiat. The auction of 34 lots runs until August 17.

    PRESIDENT OBAMA AND MAYA LIN ON SCULPTURAL COMMISSION

    August 10th, 2022

    Here is a video on Maya Lin’s sculpture at the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side. It is designed by architects Todd Williams and Billie Tsien and ground on the project was broken last September. The Museum building will be a new landmark for the South Side, welcoming visitors to Jackson Park and marking the Center as an historic civic destination. The Museum building’s design embodies the idea of ascension—of a movement upward from the grassroots. Its form is inspired by the idea of four hands coming together; a recognition that many hands shape a place.

    IRISH WHISKEY GALORE: THEY WANT IT AROUND THE WORLD

    August 9th, 2022
    Midleton Very Rare Irish Whiskeys 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 & 2022 (2,200-3,200)

    Interest in and demand for rare Irish whiskey’s is growing according to Niall Dolan of Galway based Dolan’s art auction house. He will offer 38 rare Irish whiskeys in a timed summer online auction of Irish art, whiskeys and antiques which runs until August 15. The sale of rare Irish whiskeys draws clients from around the world. There is a good selection of art by well known Irish artists in this auction of 275 lots. The catalogue is online.

    THE PRESENTATION SISTERS AND THEIR SCHOOLS IN CORK

    August 9th, 2022

    A window  offering a glimpse of school life in Cork over the past 250 years is about to open. An absorbing exhibition about the Presentation Sisters and schools in Cork city and county gets underway at Nano Nagle Place in Cork city centre today and will run until  April.  The social context of foundations like North Pres in Cork city (1789) and Doneraile (1818) through to modern convents in city suburbs like Ballyphehane and Farranree is explored through the rich archival collections of the sisters which have been thoroughly trawled through and extensively mined. Images from past pupils were crowdsourced too  resulting in a rich and fascinating show in a brilliant location. The image here is from St. Mary’s School, Presentation Convent, Fermoy.

    GOOD EVENING MR BOND, MR BOND, MR BOND

    August 7th, 2022
    Sean Connery as James Bond in a Goldfinger poster (1964). © 1964 Danjaq, LLC and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

    Fast cars, beautiful women and no less than six James Bonds over a 60 year span add up to exciting sales with much to entice and  little not to like at Christie’s.  If your taste runs to Aston Martin stunt cars, a gold-plated and Swarovski-encrusted prop egg commissioned from Asprey in the style of Fabergé, a Q Jet boat or a five night stay at Goldeneye, Ian Fleming’s Jamaican villa, then these are the auctions for you. Villains, temptresses and heroes don’t come cheap but it is all for worthy causes with no less than 45 charities set to benefit.

    To mark the 60th anniversary of the James Bond films, Christie’s and EON Productions will hold an official two-part charity sale next month and into October.  There will be 60 lots to mark the sale of  Sixty Years of James Bond.The cream of the crop is at a live auction of 25 lots on September 28.  This will be by invitation only to bid in person in the room with fans and collectors able to bid online or on the telephone. The auction will comprise vehicles, watches, costumes and props associated with the 25th film No Time to Die.  The final six lots will celebrate each of the six actors who have played Bond: Sir Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Sir Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. Each lot will be sold to benefit a charity chosen personally by the respective actor or their estates. An online sale opens for bidding on September 15 and will run until James Bond Day on October 5. This will comprise 35 lots from the 25 films including posters, props, costumes, memorabilia and experiences.

    Daniel Craig driving  an Aston Martin DB5 stunt car. © 2021 Danjaq, LLC and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc

    A silver birch Aston Martin DB5 stunt car, one of eight stunt replicas built for the film No Time to Die and fitted with ‘Q Branch’ modifications is the top lot. As the only DB5 stunt car to be released for sale this ultimate Bond collector’s prize is estimated at £1,500,000-£2,000,000 (€1.79 million-€2.38 million). Proceeds will benefit  The Prince’s Trust in its work with young people and the Prince of Wales charitable fund support for former members of the three  intelligence agencies and UK special forces.Two further No Time to Die Aston Martins come up, a 1981 V8 driven by Daniel Craig and a DBS Superleggera special edition.  Two Land Rover Defenders and a Range Rover from the film will be offered along with a Jaguar XF featured in stunt scenes.  Memorabilia includes Omega watches, Primo’s bionic eyeball, a Tom Ford dinner suit worn by Craig to a SPECTRE party, a Navy tactical costume worn by Lashana Lynch as Nomi.A clapperboard signed by Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Daniel Craig, Lashana Lynch, Léa Seydoux, Ana de Armas, David Dencik, Dali Benssalah, Naomie Harris, Linus Sandgren, Billy Magnussen, Hans Zimmer, Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell will be sold to benefit  Medecins Sans Frontiers.  It is estimated at £5,000-£7,000 (€5,952-€8,333).The online sale includes an otherwise unobtainable Champagne Bollinger experience celebrating a 40 year partnership  of Bollinger as the official champagne of 007. Eurostar to Paris, lunch at the former home of Madame Bollinger  hosted by her great nephew Etienne Bizot, an overnight stay at the Hotel le Bristol in Paris and a 1985 poster for A View to a Kill.There is sheet music signed by Sir Paul McCartney for Live and Let Die, a drax crew belt buckle from Moonraker, a cello case sled from The Living Daylights, a Michael Kors satchel used by Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, a Day of the Dead Aztec skeleton puppet from Spectre and a clock used by Judi Dench as M with a nuclear locator card. The last three official Christie’s 007 auctions have raised over €6 million for charity.

    James Bond (Timothy Dalton) and Kara’s (Maryam D’Abo) cello case sled  THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS © 1987 Danjaq, LLC and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

    PORT OF CORK EXHIBITION AT CRAWFORD GALLERY

    August 6th, 2022
    George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson – Naval Steam Frigate moored off Queenstown (with Haulbowline in the background) 

    Links to Titanic and Lusitania are just one part of the extraordinary history of Cork Harbour.  There is still time to catch a glimpse of just how deep and wide that history is at the Port of Cork Collection exhibition at the Crawford Gallery which runs until August 28. Last November’s donation of unique maritime artworks from The Port of Cork to the gallery consists of 17 maritime paintings, a 1912 ships register referencing both Titanic and Lusitania, an illuminated address to Charles Stewart Parnell and a silver Admiralty oar from 1686.  Art by George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson (1806-1884), Henry Albert Hartland (1840-1893), Robert Lowe Stopford (1813-1898) and Sean Keating (1889-1977) offers insights into the operations of the port down through the years.