Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • Archive for January, 2011


    Thursday, January 27th, 2011

    Titian's A Sacre Conversazione (click on image to enlarge)

    There was a new auction record for Venetian Renaissance master Titian at Sotheby’s in New York on January 27.  A Sacra Conversazione: The Madonna and Child with Saints Luke and Catherine of Alexandria sold for $16,882,500 to a European private collector.  The painting is also known as The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine.  The price paid exceeded the previous record of $13.6 million, which had held for 20 years.  A Sacra Conversazione is one of only a handful of multi-figured compositions by Titian that remain in private hands, and is the most important to appear at auction in decades.

    See post for November 2, 2010


    Thursday, January 27th, 2011

    A French coastal landscape by Sir John Lavery at Whyte's in Dublin on March 14. (click on image to enlarge)

    A French landscape by Sir John Lavery is to be a highlight at the Whyte’s art sale in Dublin on March 14.  Whyte’s is conducting research into the location depicted in the work, once owned by the actress Maureen O’Sullivan  (1911-1998).  It is thought to be around Deauville, Normandy.  Lavery’s love affair with France began in the 1880’s. It was there he was first introduced to Hazel Martyn, the future Lady Lavery. In subsequent years the couple would return to France together.

    The Whyte’s sale, at the RDS, will feature more than 150 works by artists including Patrick Hennessy, Louis le Brocquy, Cecil King, Robert Ballagh, Daniel O’Neill, Harry Kernoff, Sarah Purser, Erskine Nicol, Percy French and Maurice MacGonigal.


    Thursday, January 27th, 2011
    Christie’s International has announced worldwide sales for 2010 of £3.3 billion, up 53% on last year’s figure of £2.1 billion (Figures include buyer’s premium). The highest sales total in the 245 year history of the firm, the figure is also the highest annual sales total ever recorded in the industry. Sales totals include private sales of £369.3 million, an increase of 39% on 2009 figures.
    High sell-through rates at all price levels continued to demonstrate the strength and stability of the art market. In 2010, average auction sold rates (by lot) were 79.4%, on a par with 2009 (79.7%).  Results at the higher end of the market saw sell-through rates by lot and value in excess of 90% for works priced between £500,000 and £10 million.
    “2010 was a record-breaking year and early signs of 2011 indicate that the art market remains buoyant at all levels,” said Steven P. Murphy, CEO of Christie’s International. In 2010, the number of new clients who registered for a sale rose 22.7% on 2009 and the number who went on to buy in Christie’s sales increased by 13%.  Hong Kong and China accounted for 7% of total new client registrants.


    Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

    This Newport, Rhode Island bureau table made $5.6 million at Christie's, New York, a new world record. (click on image to enlarge) © Christie’s Images Limited 2011

    A $5.6 million bureau table and a $662,500 Federal side chair made new world auction records at Christie’s Americana Week 2011 in New York.  The Catherine Goddard Chippendale block and shell carved and figured mahogany bureau table c1765 is attributed to John Goddard (1724-1785), Newport, Rhode Island.  The desk bears all the unique characteristics that make Newport furniture of this era so highly prized by collectors. It had been estimated at $700,000-900,000.  The price paid of $5,682,500 represents a world auction record for the form.

    This chair made a new world auction record for a piece of Federal furniture. (click on image to enlarge). © Christie’s Images Limited 2011

    The Federal carved mahogany side chair, known as the Elias Hasket Derby chair, has carving attributed to Samuel McIntire (1757-1811) of Salem, Massachusetts. McIntire, one of the earliest architects in America, was influenced by the Palladian style and was skilled at furniture making and sculpture.  The chair had been estimated at $30,000-50,000.  The price paid represents a world auction record for a piece of Federal furniture.
    The combined total for Americana Week 2011 at Christie’s New York was $22,026,376/£13,784,788/€16,222,849, achieved through five sales from January 18 through 25.


    Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

    A Tiffany diamond dress ring from 1964 at O'Reilly's, Francis St., Dublin. (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE 12,600

    This Tiffany diamond dress ring from 1964 on the left is one of the highlights at the first 2011 jewellery sale at O’Reilly’s of Francis St., Dublin.  The sale takes place on Wednesday, February 2 at 1 p.m.  The ring, complete with its original receipt, is estimated at 10,000-12,000.

    A c1870 mourning brooch at O'Reilly's. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR 700

    It features antique and modern jewellery.  The example on the right is a Victorian mourning brooch dating from around 1870.  It is mounted in gold with a seed pearl surround and estimated at 700-800 euro.

    The 319 lots sale includes engagement rings, diamond solitaires, a three stone diamond ring,  bracelets, pendants, earrings, watches and gold jewellery.  There is a small selection of Irish antique and later silver along with collectables and paintings.


    Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
    MORGAN O’DRISCOLL will offer 285 lots of Irish art at his first 2011 sale.  This takes place at the Radisson Hotel, Little Island, Cork on Monday February 7 at 6.30 p.m.  Here are four lots from that sale.

    Red Falling is the title of this work by Felim Egan. It is estimated at 2,000-3,000. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE 1,800.

    Lying Down Girl is the title of this bronze by F.E. McWilliams RA (1909-1992). It is estimated at 12,000-15,000. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE 11,000

    Idrone II is the title of this work by Cecil King. It is estimated at 1,000-1,500. (click to enlarge) UPDATE; THIS FAILED TO SELL.

    The Apple Picker by Barrie Castle (1935-2006) estimated at 2,000-3,000. (click to enlarge) UPDATE; IT MADE 1,700


    Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
    Adelle Hughes has been appointed as an associate director at Whyte’s in Dublin.  Responsible for compiling and editing Whyte’s catalogues she holds a masters in Arts Manangement and Cultural Policy from UCD and an international BA in Art History. Whyte’s next auction of Irish and British Art is at the RDS, Dublin on March 14.


    Saturday, January 22nd, 2011
    CONTEMPORARY art collectors can readily access what major galleries have to offer this week.  The first on-line contemporary art fair opens at 8 a.m. Eastern (New York) time today.  The VIP (Viewing in Private) fair features 140 prestige galleries from around the world with big names like Hauser and Wirth, David Zwirner, Gagosian and White Cube.  This week they are showing 1928 works of art.
    The organisers are spurred on by the knowledge that the internet is growing. No less than 16 per cent of sales at Christie’s last year were carried out on the internet and half of these were new clients.  The idea came from New York dealer James Cohan. The VIP fair is modelled like most big art fairs.  Work is exhibited in booths.  Click on  a gallery and the art works are shown scaled against a human figure. You can use the zoom to see the details.  All this is free.  If you want more detailed information you must get a VIP pass, at a cost of  $100 for the first two days and $20 for the rest of the week.  The private viewer can enjoy tours and access price guides.  The price range is from less than $5,000 to over a million.  You can contact the gallery owner by text, telephone or Skype.  Deals can only be completed offline.
    Whether this works or not remains to be seen.  Even though imaging is very good I would not like to acquire a work of art I had not seen in a real rather than virtual way. The value of the fair for dealers is possibly in establishing contacts and expanding their reach in a global way. And it does not represent a major investment for dealers.  The cost of a booth ranges from $3,000 to $20,000.  The fair runs to January 30.
    As with the traditional fairs passes are being provided to more than 50 international museums for curators and high-level patrons. Participating institutions include the Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New Museum,
    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Whitechapel Gallery, Art Institute of Chicago, Serpentine Gallery, Kröller-Müller Museum, Mori Art Museum, Tate (American Patrons Group) and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
    UPDATE:  Overloaded servers and sluggish response times have caused much criticism.  Organisers say problems were due to traffic from visitors from 130 countries.  They say these problems are being addressed.  As of noon on January 25  there has been 291,476 log ons to the fair and artworks artworks have been viewed over 4.3 million times.
    When the fair closed it emerged that artworks on the site were viewed 7.65 million times by visitors from 196 countries.  However the technical problems, particularly on the opening weekend, meant that some galleries found the level of sales disappointing.


    Friday, January 21st, 2011

    Untitled Field Painting by John Noel Smith made 4,000 at de Veres in September. (click to enlarge)

    A rise in new clients purchasing Irish art and the return of collectors driven out of the Irish art market by the boom are two 2010 trends reported by de Veres art auctions.

    Uncertainty about what to do with savings has steered new buyers towards the art market. And those driven out by high prices during the boom are back now that realism has returned and there is value to be had.

    John de Vere White said that sales rates of over 70 per cent of Irish art lots offered at auction were achieved last year.  This is consistent with previous years. In 2010 the upper end of the Irish art market was under supplied. There are still plenty of buyers available for works of quality which are accurately estimated.
    A seminar on Irish art in the last 30 years with Robert O’Byrne will be hosted by de Veres at the D4 Berkley Hotel in Dublin on Sunday, January 30 at noon with an art valuation open day from 11 a.m.


    Thursday, January 20th, 2011

    Part of the Jerni Collection. (click on image to enlarge)

    THE greatest toy and train collection in the world is available for private sale through Sotheby’s as a single lot.  Now on show in New York the Jerni Collection is estimated at 10 million dollars by Sotheby’s.  Others say it could be worth $40/50 million.

    What is on view throughout January and February represents about 20% of a collection of 35,000 objects assembled over 50 years by a single dedicated collector. The pieces date from roughly 1850–1940, and form an encyclopedic collection of toys and trains from every major European and American manufacturer including Märklin, Bing, Ernst Plank Carette and Rock & Graner, chronicling the ‘Golden Age’ of European toy manufacturing.
    “Assembling this collection has been a 50 year journey for me,” commented Jerry Greene, 67, a Pennsylvania-based music executive who owns the collection. “They survived both world wars. For me it’s part of history.”
    Half of the collection was made by Maerklin. Some are outfitted with working fountains and clocks; many are replicas of the actual buildings in Europe. A highlight is an elevated train platform from 1895 with two curved staircases parting like a curtain at the center. “I put it together piece-by-piece”  Greene said.  Like all true collectors the fun for him has been the search.  Now that he is ready to part with it he thinks he will start collecting something else.