Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • Archive for December, 2010


    Thursday, December 30th, 2010

    Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) Great Yarmouth Harbour, Norfolk, c.1840 Photo © National Gallery of Ireland. (click to enlarge)

    Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) The Grand Canal Venice from below the Rialto Bridge, Venice, c.1820 Photo © National Gallery of Ireland. (click to enlarge)

    The National Gallery of Ireland’s magnificent collection of watercolours by J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) will be on annual display during January 2011.  These delicate watercolours are only ever shown at this time of year, when natural light in these latitudes  is at its lowest.  For January 2011 the theme is care of the collection, past and present.  It examines how Turner’s watercolours have been cared for before and after they entered the collection of the National Gallery in 1900.  Information on conservation methods from Victorian times is included.  Areas like pigments, fading and lux levels are addressed.  The Turner watercolour were bequeathed to the gallery by the English collector Henry Vaughan.

    ‘Colour and Light: Caring for Turner’s Watercolours’ runs from January 1 to January 31, 2011.
    (see post for July 7, 2010)


    Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

    A portrait by John Singleton Copley of Alice Hooper. (click to enlarge)

    THIS portrait  by John Singleton Copley promises to be one of the highlights of the Winter Antiques Show in New York.  In 2011 the show celebrates its 57th year as America’s most prestigious antiques show, providing museums, established collectors, dealers, design professionals and first time buyers with opportunities to see and purchase exceptional pieces showcased by 74 exhibitors.

    Copley, whose parents were Irish, is famous for his portraits in colonial New England.  He is considered the most influential painter in colonial America and made this portrait of Alice Hooper in 1763 when he was just 25.  Later on, in Britain, he continued to paint portraits, developed contemporary history painting and was one of the pioneers of the private exhibition.  His father, Richard, came from Limerick, his mother Mary was a Singleton from Co. Clare. Boston’s Copley Square and Copley Plaza bear his name. This portrait will be shown by Hirschl & Adler Galleries.

    Shiva Adhikaranandi. (click to enlarge)

    A copper alloy figure of Shiva Adhikaranandi from Tamil Nadu in India is another highlight.  It is from new exhibitors Carlton Rochell Asian Art, which was established in New York in 2002.   With Brahma and Vishnu, Shiva, the destroyer, is one of the three most important deities of the Hindu pantheon.  Typical images depict Shiva with a bovine head. Those in which he has a human head are rarer. This one was made during the Chola dynasty, a period considered to be the zenith of bronze sculpture production in India.  The Winter Antiques Show runs from January 21-30 at the Park Avenue Armory at 67th in Manhattan.
    See post on for December 21


    Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

    A very early view of Cork Harbour with Spike Island, artist unknown, from the Crawford Gallery Collection in Cork. (click to enlarge)

    A mid 19th century view of Blarney Castle by John Bosanquet from the Crawford Gallery Collection in Cork. (click to enlarge)

    A very happy Christmas to all readers of


    Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
    Bacon by le Brocquy is a feature lot at Bonhams first dedicated Irish art sale in London on February 9.

    Bacon by le Brocquy. (click to enlarge)

    An evocative portrait of Francis Bacon by Ireland’s foremost living artist, Louis le Brocquy, is estimated at £60,000 to £80,000.  Bonhams reckon the watercolour is one of the most significant lots to feature in the New Bond Street sale.

    Louis le Brocquy is on record as saying: “Contrary to a generally held view, I think that painting is not in any direct sense a means of communication or a means of self-expression. When you are painting you are trying to discover, to uncover, to reveal. I sometimes think of the activity of painting as a kind of archaeology – an archaeology of the spirit.”
    le Brocquy painted his friend Francis Bacon several times.  He set out to capture “the Baconness of Bacon”. The example at Bonham’s Irish sale is more representational than most.
    Penny Day, Head of Irish Art at Bonhams, says: “It is rare to find an image that combines the names and reputations of two giants of British and Irish art, in this instance as artist and sitter”.
    The worldwide reputation of Francis Bacon, who was born in Ireland, has grown steadily since his death in 1992. His South Kensington Studio has been re-constructed at the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin using the original door, walls, floors, ceiling and shelves. Over 7,000 items were catalogued on a specially designed database before their replacement.
    See post for September 15


    Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

    Pieces from the Historic Charleston Association loan exhibition. (click to enlarge)

    Treasures ranging from an ancient Egyptian relief of Akhenaten through to the mid 20th century furniture by Gerald Summers and Gio Ponti are to be showcased in America’s most prestigious antiques show.
    The Winter Antiques Show in New York provides museums, collectors, dealers, design professionals and first- time buyers with opportunities to see and purchase exceptional pieces showcased by 74 exhibitors.  Located at the Park Avenue Armory, 67th Street and Park Avenue, New York  it runs from January 21-30, 2011. This Armory Show celebrates its 57th year in 2011 with newly joined specialists in 17th to 19th century American furniture and decorative arts, old master drawings and European sculpture, and Southeast Asian art.
    The 2011 loan exhibition of masterworks is presented by the Historic Charleston Foundation and highlights more than fifty objects. Important pieces from Historic Charleston Foundation’s two museum houses will be complemented with loans from The Charleston Museum, Drayton Hall, Gibbes Museum of Art/Carolina Art Association, and Middleton Place Foundation. These include some works on view for the first time.


    Monday, December 20th, 2010

    The Blue Door by Markey Robinson. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR 3,000

    Girl Looking at an Andy Warhol is the title of this limited edition print by Robert Ballagh. (click to enlarge). This was unsold.

    The Blue Door by Markey Robinson dates from the 1960’s.  It is among the 250 works to feature in an affordable Irish art auction by Matthews Fine Art at Oldcastle, Co. Meath on Sunday January 2 at 3 p.m. Estimates range from 200 to 8,000.
    Artists whose work will feature include Percy French, Peter Collis, Colin Davison, Robert Ballagh, J.P. Donleavy, Markey Robinson, Patrick O’Reilly, Graham Knuttel, Sean Scully, Brian Ballard and Gladys McCabe.
    There is a collection of around 100 framed decorative oil paintings from the liquidator of an hotel group.  The Blue Door has an estimate of 3,000-5,000.  Robert Ballagh’s limited edition print entitled Girl looking at an Andy Warhol is estimated at 1,500-2,500.
    There will be viewing on New Year’s Eve from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., from noon to 5 p.m. on New Year’s Day and from noon to the start of the sale at 3 p.m. on January 2.
    UPDATE:  Percy French ‘Sunset over the Bog’  made 3,900, Markey Robinson ‘The Blue Door’ made 3,000, Elizabeth Brophy ‘The Grassy Beach’ made 1,800, Alice Maher ‘Night Garden Series’ 60″ made 3,800, Neil Shawcross ‘Standing Nude’ 26″ made 1,700, Ted Jones, ‘The Reader’, made 2,400, Breon O’Casey, ‘Abstract with Red’ made 1,850, Patrick O’Reilly, ‘A conference of Crows’ Bronze, Unique 23″ made 4,800 and Colin Davison, ‘Standing Nude, Morning Light,’ made 3,000.


    Monday, December 20th, 2010
    THE Season to be Merry extended year round in some quarters.  Sotheby’s wine auctions in 2010 brought an overall global total of US$88,270,602.  This is more than double the figure for 2009 and the highest in the company’s forty years of wine auctions. There was extraordinary demand from Asian collectors with every bottle offered in eight Hong Kong auctions finding a buyer and major Asian participation in London and Hong Kong sales.  Globally 99% of wine lots found buyers, and all 23 auctions exceeded the high estimate.
    The Asian sales were led by the two auctions of wine direct from the Châteaux – Cheval Blanc, Yquem and Dom Pérignon which fetched $2.6 million in May and Lafite Ex Cellars which brought $8.3 million in October.
    There was a new record for a single standard sized bottle at the Ex Cellars sale when a bottle of Château Lafite 1869 sold for $232,692.
    Sotheby’s will offer the Andrew Lloyd Webber Wine Collection in Hong Kong on January 22 next.


    Sunday, December 19th, 2010

    The Canadian Mona Lisa is a moniker that has been applied to Tom Thomson’s  The Jack Pine (1916-1917) pictured on the left. It is one of many paintings that will brighten up the 200th anniversary celebration at London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2011.  To mark the anniversary the gallery will exhibit twelve masterpieces from around the world, one each month. Included are works by Velazquez, Vermeer, El Greco, Veronese, Rembrandt, Ingres, Van Gogh, Gainsborough, Constable and Hockney.  The main summer exhibition will focus on work by Nicolas Poussin and Cy Twombly. In October the gallery will show Thom Thomson and the Group of Seven, 20th century  landscape painters seeking to find the language of the Canadian wilderness.
    The gallery was set up in 1811 when Sir Francis Bourgeois left a newly established collection to Dulwich College.  He and his business partner Noel Desenfans were asked in 1790 by the King of Poland to form a royal collection from scratch. During the five years they devoted to building it the King was forced to abdicate and the independent state of Poland ceased to exist.  So a boys school in south London became owner  of a national collection of old masters with no nation to claim it.  The gallery became independent from the school in 1994.


    Saturday, December 18th, 2010
    An antique model of the Lusitania made $194,500 at Sotheby’s in New York on December 17. The actual wreck of the ill fated vessel on the seabed off Ireland changed hands for just £1,000 in 1968. The Marklin model, made c1912 in Germany, was the top lot in the sale of the Malcolm Forbes toy collection.  The sale realised $2,381,008.
    Sotheby’s say the model, which has become the most expensive toy boat ever sold at auction, was crafted by Marklin at the height of their creative genius and that, like good wine, age has improved it. Lusitania was launched in England in 1906 and made her maiden voyage in 1907. The transatlantic liner was hit by a German torpedo off the coast of Cork in 1915.   The Cunard Line vessel sank in just 18 minutes, losing 1,198 of her 1,959 civilian passengers.  In 1967 the wreck of the Lusitania was sold by the Liverpool & London War Risks Insurance Association to former US Navy diver John Light for £1,000. Gregg Bemis became a co-owner of the wreck in 1968, and by 1982 had bought out his partners to become sole owner.  Mr. Bemis is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur who ran unsuccessfully three times as a Republican candidate in New Mexico.
    See post for December 9


    Friday, December 17th, 2010

    This Chinese teadust glazed teapot made 50,000 in Durrow.

    A Chinese teadust glazed teapot estimated at just 50-150 made 50,000 at the Sheppards Asian sale in Durrow, Co. Laois on December 16.  Bought by a telephone bidder from Beijing it was from the same Co. Carlow collection as a blue and white Qianlong vase which made 110,000 at Sheppards in March.  That had carried a top estimate of 150.

    A Co. Carlow family inherited the porcelain collection from two sisters who emigrated to the US in the 1940’s.  The women, now dead, returned to live in Ireland with a collection acquired from shops and markets over many years.  It is understood they collected the pieces for their decorative value and paid nominal prices.

    The greenish teapot carries the incised four-character sealscript reign mark of Yongzheng to the base.  At the same Sheppards sale a bright green glazed chrysanthemum dish made a hammer price of 31,000 and a Chinese blue and white bowl with  a seal-script reign mark of Qianlong in underglaze blue to the base made 16,500.  Both pieces came from the same Co. Carlow family and each one was estimated at 50-150 euro.

    A total of 265 out of 271 lots sold in the third day of the Sheppards sale, which attracted nearly 400 0n-line bidders. The chrysanthemum dish went to a private collector from Dublin who was in the room.

    SEE Qianlong Vase makes record price in Durrow in Collecting Backgrounder.

    This bright green glazed chyrsanthemum dish made 31,000 in Durrow.

    This blue and white bowl made 16,500 at Sheppards in Durrow.