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    Thursday, January 20th, 2011
    LIMERICK is to have a new auction room.  The first sale at Hamptons, located near Exit 29 of the M7 motorway, is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, February 23 at 6.30 p.m.  It will feature more than 300 lots. The aim is to hold two sales each month, with fine art and antiques on the second Wednesday of each month and a general antique auction on the last Sunday of every month.
    Limerick estate agents and car auctions concern Hamptons are operating in consultancy with Robin O’Donnell of Hibernian Antique Fairs, which has been running regular fairs around the country for the past 21 years.  There is no auction rooms currently in operation in Limerick city or county.


    Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

    Countess Markievicz aiming what appears to be a revolver. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: THIS PHOTOGRAPH SOLD FOR 500

    Blue Hills of Connemara by Douglas Alexander. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR 800

    Contrasting images of an early 20th century Ireland feature at Dolan’s 233 lot affordable art sale in Cork on Sunday, January 23.

    The photographic print on the left shows Countess Markievicz, the Rebel Countess, aiming what appears to be a revolver in a woodland setting.  Inscribed and stamped on the reverse Dolan’s say it was probbly for newspaper reproduction.  This rare image is estimated at 600-800.

    The tranquil oil painting below, Blue Hills of Connemara by Douglas Alexander (1871-1945) features in the same sale.  Alexander produced numerous Connemara landscapes in oil and watercolour and his paintings have remained enduringly popular.  This one is estimated at  1,200-1,500.

    See post for January 11.


    Monday, January 17th, 2011

    Canaletto's View of Mestre

    This View of Mestre by Canaletto, kept at Castle Durrow in Ireland until it was demolished in 1922, features at Christie’s two-part sale of paintings, drawings and watercolors by the great masters of European Art in New York on January 26.

    It is the only large-scale view Canaletto painted of Mestre, the mainland city now linked to Venice by bridge.  Previous owners were the Viscounts Ashbrook, whose ancestors likely purchased the work direct from the studio of Giovanni Antonio Canal, il Canaletto (1697-1768) during a Grand Tour and brought the work to Ireland.  It is estimated at $2,500,000-3,500,000.
    The sale of over 300 works in total represents great examples of European art dating from the 14th to the 19th centuries.  It features master works by Canaletto, Luca Carlevarijs, Jean-Francois Millet, Jean Léon Gérôme, William Bouguereau, and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema among the highlights.
    UPDATE:  The Canaletto did not find a buyer in sales which brought in $36.6 million.


    Friday, January 14th, 2011

    Lingering Sun, O'Connell St., once in the collection of John Huston was the most expensive Irish artwork sold at James Adam in 2010.

    Yeats, le Brocquy, Dillon, Lavery and Henry are all in the top ten of Irish artworks sold by James Adam in 2010.  Ireland’s largest auction house reported today that the total hammer price for the Irish art sales in their salesrooms was 4,873,030 in 2010, a 52 per cent increase over the 2009 figure of 3,216,150.

    The top ten Irish artworks sold at Adams last year are: Jack B. Yeats “Lingering Sun,O’Connell Bridge,Dublin”, 140,000 on  6/12/10; Louis Le Brocquy “Adam & Eve” (Aubusson Tapestry), 100,000 on 6/12/10; Louis Le Brocquy “Allegory” (Aubusson Tapestry), 80,000 on 6/12/10; Gerard Dillon “Mending the nets, Aran”, 80,000 on 2/6/10; Sir John Lavery “Portrait of Mrs Arthur Franklin”, 75,000 on 2/6/10;  Paul Henry “The Bog Road”  72,000 on 13/10/10;  Gerard Dillon “Italian washer women” 68,000 on 6/12/10; Mary Swanzy “A hilltop town in the South of France” 66,000 on 6/12/10;  Colin Middleton Opus 1 No. 41 Esmeralda (1942) 62,000 on 2/6/10 and  Daniel O’Neill “Figures on a beach,Newcastle 1928” 60,000 on 6/12/10.
    James Adam reports that the demand for high quality artworks was very strong. “Many purchasers were encouraged back into buying by the apparent good value and the increasing supply of quality, well provenanced and new to the market pieces”.
    They say:  “We took the view, early on, that it is vital for vendors to forget the bloated excesses of the height of the market and accept the new realities of life in 2010/ 2011. Those that did accept this advice were well rewarded as pieces with conservative estimates generally exceeded expectations. This phenomenon was confirmed by the very high sales rates which on average were 82% which is significantly higher than any other auction house”.
    The auction house reports that demand for ‘Blue Chip’ artists’ work is increasing while the demand for more contemporary artists’ work is definitely softening.  The years highlight was the sale of artworks from the Bank of Ireland collection.
    See posts for December 6 and November 30.


    Thursday, January 13th, 2011

    Henry Moore at Tefaf Maastricht

    Renoir at Tefaf.

    Among an extraordinary display of masterpieces at TEFAF Maastricht from March 18-27 2011 will be a Henry Moore Mother and child sculpture and Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s depiction of his son Claude.

    Mother and child block seat by Henry Moore will be brought to The European Fine Art Fair by Landau Fine Art of Montreal. The 244cm high bronze sculpture will be exhibited in one of the Fair’s squares. Cast in an edition of nine in 1983, three years before Moore’s death, it portrays the child as an elemental, virtually abstract, form as if to represent it in an early stage of development. The effect of “the big form protecting the small form”, as Moore described it, is compelling.
    Hammer Galleries of New York will exhibit La leçon (Bielle, l’institutrice et Claude Renoir lisant), which portrays Renoir’s third son reading with his school teacher. The picture, painted c1906, has been in private collections for decades.
    TEFAF 2011 will have some 260 exhibitors from 16 countries in nine sections. In addition to exhibitors from established centres of the art and antiques market in Europe and North America, the 2011 Fair will include dealers from Korea, Uruguay and Argentina.
    See post on for January 6


    Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

    Arthur Maderson's Stepping Out at Dolans Art Auction. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR 4,500

    This evocative painting by Arthur Maderson, entitled Stepping Out, features at Dolan’s art auction in Cork on January 23 next. Though not an image of contemporary, recession torn Ireland it does capture a somewhat hidden Ireland that continues to exist, line dancing included.
    A few months ago, at the annual away outing of the Munster Press Golf Society, I found myself at an old style music session and ceili in the clubhouse on the Dundrum House Hotel golf resort in Co. Tipperary.
    People from around the area regularly travel for miles to attend this midweek event in the bar of the clubhouse. This work evokes the enjoyable, devil-may-care and decidedly retrospective atmosphere of that evening in October 2010. The golf course is good too.
    The Dolan’s affordable Irish art sale takes place at Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork on Sunday, January 23 at 3 p.m.  Viewing is from January 21.  This is lot number 111 from that sale of 233 lots and it is estimated at 3,000-4,000, making it one of the more expensively estimated works on the catalogue.
    The sale features a number of works from the studio of Thelma Mansfield, the former RTE presenter who left the station in the 1990’s to pursue a career in painting.  There is art by a variety of painters and sculptors on offer including Kenneth Webb, John Schwatschke, Mat Grogan, Markey Robinson, Denis Orme Shaw,  Graham Knuttel,  John Kingerlee, Elizabeth le Jeune, Emer Byrne  and Sian Maguire.


    Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

    Monumental Warhol self-portrait. (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE £10,793,250

    THIS re-discovered self-portrait by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) from 1967 comes up at Christie’s in London on February 16.  Completely unpublished, it has been in a private collection since 1974 when it was acquired from Leo Castelli, Warhol’s primary dealer.  The six foot square work is one of an historic series of 11 large-scale self-portraits executed in 1967, five of which are in museums (Tate, London; The Staatsgalerie Moderne Kunst, Munich; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and two at the Detroit Institute for Arts).

    Francis Outred, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe: “I’m incredibly excited at the prospect of offering this rediscovered masterpiece by Andy Warhol. At the time of its execution Warhol was at the peak of his creative powers and this very rare series of works were the largest self-portraits he had made. This work shows a classic image of the artist in an imposing, larger than life scale, with an extraordinary presence of thick, red paint. That five of the works from this series are in museums is a testament to their importance.”
    It will be offered at the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction and is expected to realise £3 million to £5 million.
    A shot up Warhol portrait of Mao Zedong made $302,500 at Christie’s in New York on January 11, more than 10 times its high estimate. Easy Rider start Denis Hopper shot two bullet holes through the 1972 portrait. A friend of the actor, who died aged 74 last May, explained that Hopper saw the Mao out of the corner of his eye in the shadows and was so spooked that he shot at it. A delighted Warhol called him a collaborator and labelled the damage  “warning shot” and ” bullet hole”.   It had been estimated at $20,000 to $30,000.
    UPDATE|  It made £10,793,250.


    Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

    John Lennon's blue Ferrari

    JOHN LENNON’S 1965 Ferrari GT coupe will be sold at Bonhams sale of motor cars at the Grand Palais, Paris on February 5.  It is estimated at 120,000-170,000 euro.
    Philip Norman recounts in his biography John Lennon – A Life: ‘In February 1965, John passed his driving test, an event that made headline news across the nation. Within hours, every luxury car dealership in the Weybridge area, hoping for business, jammed the road outside Kenwood’s security gates with Maseratis, Aston Martins, and Jaguar XK-E. John strolled out to inspect this gleaming smorgasbord, eventually selecting a £2,000 light blue Ferrari.’
    Better known is Lennon’s Rolls-Royce Phantom V Limousine delivered two months later and subsequently painted in psychedelic colours.
    UPDATE:  The car was withdrawn two days before the auction.  Bonhams say this was due to “seller’s remorse”.


    Friday, January 7th, 2011

    The Madonna and Child enthroned with Angels, flanked by St. Bridget and the Archangel Michael at Sotheby's in New York. (click to enlarge)

    SIGNIFICANT works by artists from across Europe feature at Sotheby’s Important Old Master Paintings & Sculpture sale in New York on January 27.  This sale features Titian’s Sacra Conversazione (see post for November 2) estimated at $15/$20 million.

    Among the works to be sold by the J. Paul Getty Museum to benefit future painting acquisitions is
    The Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels and Flanked by Saint Bridget and the Archangel Michael.  Erroneously known as “The Poggibonsi Triptych”  the work has been attributed to the as-yet-unidentified Master of Pratovecchio, who worked in and around Florence in the mid-15th century. It is estimated at $200/300,000.
    The afternoon session of Old Master Paintings and Sculpture is led by an Italian marble relief portrait of Cosimo I de ‘Medici by Baccio Bandinelli, executed just prior to the future Grand Duke’s rise to power in 1537.
    Luis Meléndez’s Still Life with Tomatoes, a Bowl of Aubergines and Onions leads the Spanish paintings.   It is estimated at $1.5/2 million.  A popular exhibition of 40 still lifes by Meléndez (1716-1780), organised in collaboration with the Prado Museum in Madrid, was held at the National Gallery of Ireland in the summer of 2004.


    Friday, January 7th, 2011
    GAUGUIN’S Nature morte à “L’Espérance is the highlight of Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in London on February 9. Christie’s Art of the Surreal sale takes place on the same evening.
    The pre-sale estimate of £73,880,000 to £109,060,000 is the second highest for the February Impressionist sales at Christie’s in London.  The corresponding estimate in 2010 was £56.5 million to £80.8 million.
    Paul Gauguin’s (1848-1903) historically important still life was painted in 1901 when he was still living in Tahiti.  The work has been exhibited at over 20 major museum exhibitions including the artist’s first landmark Retrospective at the Grand Palais, Paris, in 1906. It is expected to realise £7 million to £10 million.
    Four works to be sold by the Art Institute of Chicago are led by Nature morte à la guitare (rideaux rouge) by Georges Braque (1882-1963) (estimate: £3.5 million to £5.5 million).
    A collection of works on paper by Paul Gauguin made in France and Tahiti between 1894 and 1902 will be sold at Sotheby’s in London on March 30.  From the Collection of Stanley J. Seeger, the American privagte collector, the ten works have a well-recorded provenance. They can be traced back in most cases directly to the artist. The group will lead the sale of Old Master, Modern and Contemporary Prints, and is estimated at £430,000-574,000.
    UPDATE:   There was disappointment when this work failed to sell in an otherwise sucessful auction that realised £84.9 million.  It was suggested that the brown colour of the work had something to do with this.