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  • Archive for September, 2010


    Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

    This 1939 oil on board by Jack B. Yeats, "The Cat Among the Stars", is a feature lot at the first sale of Irish Art at Bonhams in New Bond St., London scheduled for February 9, 2011. It is estimated at £50,000-70,000. Photo: Bonhams. (click on image to enlarge)

    Bonhams will hold its first sale of Irish Art on February 9,  2011 in New Bond Street, London.  This marks the end of the company’s 12 year association with Adams  in Dublin.
    Bonhams and Adams have decided to hold separate sales. One problem that arose is the issue of artists resale rights, the levy on the resale of work by living artists. Auction houses charge the buyer in Britain, in Ireland it is the seller who pays.  Given that some art has come down in value, vendors find it hard to pay the levy, particularly in cases where the art had been bought in Britain and  the levy had already been paid.
    The Irish Art Department at Bonhams is headed by Trinity College Dublin art history graduate Penny Day, who joined the company in 2006.  She plans to continue to develop Irish art and will offer an annual sale, including traditional and modern paintings, works on paper and sculpture.


    Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

    Jane Seymour, after Holbein. Update: it made 1,600. (click on image to enlarge)

    This antique Georgian portrait of Jane Seymour after Hans Holbein the Younger comes up at the Woodwards sale in Cork on September 22 next.

    Jane Seymour, Queen Consort of England, was the third wife of Henry VIII.  She married in 1536 shortly after the execution of Anne Boleyn and in 1537 gave him the male heir, Edward, he badly wanted. She was never crowned queen because there was plague in London when the coronation was to take place.
    Jane Seymour died of a childbirth infection. Her son became the short reigning Edward VI but he in turn died aged 15.
    The painting is estimated at 500-1,000.
    The sale features a selection of antique furniture. Georgian pieces include an Irish sideboard, a longcase clock by R.H. Thomas, Fermoy, an Irish mahogany peat bucket, a wine cooler, a teapoy, a chest of drawers, a three tier circular dumb waiter, a walnut card table, a linen press, a pair of ornate hall chairs and a pair of waterfall bookcases.
    There is a Regency brass inlaid card table, a set of six Chippendale dining chairs, a Victorian oval centre table, an inlaid satinwood kidney shaped desk, a rosewood chest, an inlaid display
    cabinet and a Regency display cabinet.
    The Woodwards sale is at 6 p.m. and features a selection antique furniture and some contemporary Irish art.
    UPDATE:  The painting made 1,600 and was sold to an Irish buyer.


    Saturday, September 11th, 2010

    A Wayside Chat by artist Thomas Hovenden, part of the French Connection exhibition at the Hunt Museum in Limerick until October 10. (click on image to enlarge)

    THERE are at least three works by Dunmanway born Thomas Hovenden (1840-1890) in the art collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.  Yet he is practically unknown in his native country.
    An exhibition now on at the Hunt Museum in Limerick may go some way towards redressing this imbalance.  Organised by James Adam The French Connection focuses on Irish artists who worked in France in the late 19th century and early 20th century.  This is a show of 35 works by artists including  Nathaniel Hone, Sir John Lavery, William John Leech, Roderic O’Conor,  Walter Frederick Osborne and  two paintings, A Wayside Chat and The Story of the Hunt, by Thomas Hovenden.
    Orphaned at the age of six during the Great Famine he went on to become a member of the Society of American Artists (1881), the Philadelphia Society of Artists (1883) and an Associate member of the National Academy of Design (1881). He succeeded Thomas Eakins as Professor of Painting and Drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1886-88) and his students included Alexander Calder and the leader of the Ashcan School, Robert Henri. Around the time of his untimely death in an accident academic painting went out of fashion and so he was soon to be forgotten.
    Hovenden arrived in America at the end of the Civil War and rose to fame painting patriotic scenes in sympathy with the American version of Victorian values, and later  for paintings of African Americans during the Abolitionist movement. Among his works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection are The Last Moments of John Brown. His work features in the collections of the Yale University Art Gallery, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the San Francisco Museum of Fine Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
    He spent time painting in Pont-Aven and his influence can be seen in the work of contemporaries, especially Aloysius O’Kelly. Hovenden was apprenticed to the Cork carver and gilder George Tolerton, who noted his skill at draughtsmanship and sent him to the Cork School of Design in 1858 (later to become the Crawford). Part of the South Kensington School (now the Victoria and Albert Museum), the Cork school promoted the ideas of Aestheticism and the teachings of John Ruskin at the time. Although the school focused on design, Hovenden subscribed to the notion of painting as a higher art with a social and moral purpose, and advanced his draughtsmanship by sketching the school’s collection of Antonio Canova’s plaster cast statuary as well as painting plein air watercolours. He was a medal
    winning student.  Later he studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts under Alexandre Cabanel.
    The French Connection is at the Hunt Museum until October 10.


    Friday, September 10th, 2010

    Leger's Cup of Tea is estimated at up to 12 million dollars. (click on image to enlarge)

    THE amazing collection of Max Palevsky comprising over 250 works is to be offered at multiple auctions at Christie’s in New York from October 2010. The sales are expected to realise from $53 million to $78 million.

    Palevsky (1924-2010) was a Chicago born innovator in systems technology. In 1951 he left his job as a philosophy professor at the University of California, Los Angeles to pursue the fledgling field of computers, working with firms like Bendix and Packard Bell.  In the early ’60’s he co-founded Scientific Data Systems, which he eventually sold to Xerox in 1969 for  close to $1 billion and helped found Intel Corp.
    He began collecting art later in life. The Collection of Max Palevsky comprises Antiquities, Impressionist and Modern Art, Post-War and Contemporary Art, 20th Century Decorative Arts and Design, Prints and Multiples, Japanese Art, Latin American Art, American Sculpture and  Modern British Art. The top lot, one of five works by Fernand Léger (1881-1955), is La Tasse de Thé 1921 estimated at  $8,000,000-12,000,000. It will be sold in early November. The sales include blue chip works by Rodin, Lichtenstein, Calder, Judd and Stella.


    Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

    An early map of Ireland published in Italy in 1646. (click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: It sold for a hammer price of 7,200

    THIS 1646 map of Ireland by Sir Robert Dudley features as lot 160 in the James Adam sale of the catography collection of Dr. Barry Hewson in Dublin on September 14.  (see post for September 4). Born in 1574 Dudley was an illegitimate son of the Earl of Leicester, a minister of Queen Elizabeth I,  one of her favourites, and brother in law of the circumnavigator Thomas Cavendish.  These were turbulent political times and problems led to his exile to Italy.

    Dudley was of a scientific mind and formed an ambitious project to map all the known world. Drawing on the original charts of Henry Hudson (the English explorer after whom the Hudson River is named) and notes from other navigators it took him the best part of 40 years. The first edition of the Atlas appeared in 1646 when Dudley was 73. A collection of all the naval knowledge of the age it surpassed anything previously published.  This was the first sea-atlas of the whole world published by an Englishman (although in Italian, and published in Italy) using original work; the first to use Mercator’s projection; the first to dispense with rhumb lines; the first to include information on magnetic variation, tides and weather; and the first to advocate the use of Great Circle sailing.
    The Mercator projection, a major breakthrough in the nautical cartography of the 16th century, is a cylindrical map projection by the Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569. Far ahead of its time it became the standard map projection for nautical purposes because of its ability to represent lines of constant course, known as rhumb lines or loxodromes, as straight segments.  Two main problems prevented its immediate application: the impossibility of determining the longitude at sea with adequate accuracy and the fact that magnetic directions, instead of geographical directions, were used in navigation. Only in the middle of the 18th century, after the marine chronometer was invented, could the Mercator projection be fully adopted by navigators.
    Lot 160, the Carte particolare dell Mare di Ierlandia e parte di Inghil terra e della Iscotia. Lalongitudine comincia da l’Isola di Picco d’Asores.~di Europa Carta XXVIII  761 x 481 From Dell’Arcano Del Mare, di D. Ruberto Dudleo, Duca di Nortumbria e Conte di Warwich. libri sei. In Firenze, Nella Stamperia di Francesco Onofri, is estimated at 3,000-3,500 euro.
    UPDATE:  IT MADE 7,200


    Monday, September 6th, 2010

    Ann Binyon by John Bedford (1846). (click on image to enlarge)

    John Binyon by John Bedford (1846). (click on image to enlarge)

    This pair of Victorian portraits of John Binyon and Ann Binyon, painted by John Bates Bedford (1823-1886) in 1846, will come under the hammer at the Ted Hegarty sale in Bandon on Sunday, September 12. The carved frames are by Birefield at Wellington St., The Strand, London.  They are estimated at 6,000-10,000 for the pair.

    The poet and dramatist Laurence Robert Binyon was a nephew of the sitters. The fourth verse of his most famous work, For the Fallen, often quoted at Remembrance Day Services, is familiar to everyone and has been claimed as a tribute to all casualties of war, regardless of nation.
    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
    We will remember them.
    The sale of 400 lots is at the new Hegarty Auction Rooms at Parnell Business Park, the By-Pass, Bandon, Co. Cork on Sunday September 12 at 4 p.m.
    UPDATE: The portraits failed to sell at the auction but went under active negotiation immediately afterwards and changed hands at a figure just below the low estimate of 6,000.


    Saturday, September 4th, 2010
    LOT 369, THE EAST INDIES and the adjacent countries; with the Settlements, Factories and Territories, explaining what belongs to England, Spain, France, Holland, Denmark, Portugal with many remarks not extant in any other map by Herman Moll (c1654-1732) (London) estimated at 2,500-2,700. (click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: This lot made 5,200 at hammer.

    THERE is something of everywhere for everyone at the Cartography Collection of the late Dr. Barry Hewson sale in Dublin on September 14.  The auction at James Adam will feature early maps of Ireland, sea charts, guides to Irish landed estates, coastal maps, sea charts, wind and current charts of the North Atlantic, the Bay of Bengal, The Malabar Coast, the west coast of North America, the Turkish Empire, Lower Egypt, maps of England and Europe and the Cape Verde Islands.

    A huge chart of part of the St. Lawrence River, lot 341, eight feet in length, estimated at 800-850. (click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: This lot was unsold.

    There is a map of the East India Archipelago western route to China and a chart of Kinsale Harbour in which the naming of one of the Stags rocks after a certain part of the King’s anatomy has been judiciously removed!  Lot 85, a chart of Kinsale Harbour by Capt. Greenvile Collins, omits the name of one of the rocks contained in an earlier Dutch version by Van Keulan which features as Lot 72.

    The sale features 447 lots with estimates ranging from around 100 euro to up to 10,000 euro.  Main lots include a folio of 17th century maps of Ireland by Sir William Petty (1623-1687), one of the most successful adventurers to benefit from the confiscation of the estates of Irish landowners. His survey of the estates of Irish landowners, known as the Down Survey, was carried out by 1,000 soldiers and took 13 months to complete.  The lot is estimated at 6,000-8,000.

    Dr. Barry Hewson, who died in 2008, was a Ballina native who trained as a dentist in Ireland and subsequently as a doctor in England. He practised in the north of England, made frequent visits to Ireland and was an inveterate collector with a wide range of interests.

    UPDATE:  THE top lot at the sale was the 17th century portfolio of maps by Sir William Petty which made a hammer price of 10,000.


    Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

    This Victorian diamond and pearl heart shaped pendant in original fitted case sold for 700 at O'Reilly's, Francis St. on September 1, 2010 (click on image to enlarge)

    A Victorian pearl set double swallow brooch in original fitted case made 600 at O'Reilly's, Dublin on September 1, 2010 (click on image to enlarge)


    Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

    David Wilkie's 1835-36 image of a cabin in the west of Ireland featuring the Peep-o'-Day Boys. (click to enlarge).

    THIS striking image by David Wilkie (1785-1841) is entitled The Peep-o’-Day Boys’ Cabin, in the West of Ireland.  It features in the Romantics exhibition at Tate Britain, Millbank, London until July 2011.  The nine room display in the Clore Galleries presents Romantic art in Britain, its origins, inspirations and legacies. It showcases major works by Henry Fuseli, JMW Turner, John Constable, Samuel Palmer and William Blake.

    In 1835 the Scottish artist David Wilkie visited Ireland, and compared it to Spain for its picturesque potential.  This picture was exhibited the following year.  According to the Tate notes the picture evokes the  ‘state of primeval simplicity’ he found in Galway and Connemara, while underplaying the political and religious unrest implied by the title.  The Peep-o’Day Boys were Protestant guerrillas. They raided Catholic rebels at dawn, during uprisings in the 1780s and 90s. Wilkie had first planned a more contentious subject: a Whiteboy, from another group who championed oppressed tenants.