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


    Saturday, February 19th, 2011
    THE recovery in art market prices continued over the London selling season in February.  According to our calculations Sotheby’s and Christie’s sold £423.6 million worth of Impressionist, Modern, Contemporary, Post-War and Surreal art over the past fortnight.
    Aided by an incredible private owner sale entitled Looking Closely, with 60 works by some of the greatest of all modern and contemporary masters, Sotheby’s led with a sales total of  £242,109,075. This is the second highest total for any sales season ever held at Sotheby’s in London.  Their sales featured property from 39 countries and attracted buyers from 47 countries spanning 5 continents.  The total at Christie’s series of sales amounted to £181.5 million.
    These results support a growing view that the international recovery in art market prices can be sustained.


    Saturday, February 19th, 2011

    Here is a sample of lots coming up at Hegarty’s sale in Bandon , Co. Cork on Sunday, February 27  at 4 p.m.  This is a sale of more than 350 lots including furntiure, art, ceramics, jewellery and silver.

    This Georgian knife box is estimated at 800-1,200. (click to enlarge)

    An early 20th century majolica stick stand with heron, estimated at 800-1,200. (click to enlarge)

    An Edwardian inlaid envelope foldover card table (1,000-1,500). Click to enlarge.

    This Wedgwood cheese dish and cover, with hairline crack to base, is estimated at 300-500. (click to enlarge)

    A Victorian walnut dome topped brass-bound stationery box estimated at 250-350. (click to enlarge)


    Friday, February 18th, 2011

    An opium box complete with certificate of authenticity. (click on image to enlarge)

    A number of items from the Hoi An cargo feature

    Hoi An bowl. (click on image to enlarge)

    at John Dunphy’s auction in Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare on February 22.  There are a couple of opium boxes, a blue and white ginger jar, a blue and while porcelain elephant, a monkey mother and baby and  a rice bowl among 1,000 lots.  All carry certificates of authenticity.

    Discovered in a shipwreck off Vietnam in the 1990’s much of the cargo was sold in San Francisco. Museum curators competed for the best pieces, but there was a lot on offer and some remained unsold.  Hoi An pieces regularly turn up on e-Bay. The pieces to be sold in Ireland range in estimate from 250 to 600.


    Friday, February 18th, 2011

    Enter Yellow is the title of this 1999 work by Sean Scully (click on image to enlarge)

    Small Grey Wall by Scullly dates from 2002. (click on image to enlarge)

    Enter Yellow by the Irish artist Sean Scully made a hammer price of  £409,250 at Sotheby’s  Contemporary art evening auction in London on February 15.  It had been estimated at £300,000-500,000.

    The following day Scully, who draws inspiration from the low stone walls of the west of Ireland, had another work at Sotheby’s day sale.  His work entitled Small Grey Wall, signed and dated 2002, made a hammer price with buyer’s premium of £289,250.  It had been estimated at £200,000-300,000.


    Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

    This Warhol self-portrait more than doubled its top estimate at Christie's. (click on image to enlarge). Picture courtesy of Christie's Images.

    A monumental-scale self-portrait by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) made £10,793,250 at Christie’s Post War and Contemporary Art evening sale in London on February 16. It had been estimated at £3-5 million.  In a private collection since 1974 this previously unpublished iconic work which dates to 1967 was recently discovered. It was bought by an anonymous bidder in the room.

    Warhol first used the image for a group of works in 1966, painted in a much smaller scale.  The following year he produced 11 monumental works in large scale six foot square format.   Six works from the series were shown at the American Pavilion at the 1967 Montreal Expo.

    The sale brought in £61,380,500 and was 92 per cent sold by lot.  It was the highest total for the category in London since June 2008.  The Warhol was the top lot and 16 lots sold for over one million pounds.  There were buyers from 21 different countries.  Six artists records were set, for Jenny Saville, Martial Raysse, Miquel Barcelo, Wade Guyton, Ged Quinn and Adriana Varejao.

    See post for January 11.


    Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

    Paul Henry's Achill Village at Sotheby's Irish sale on March 29. (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE £58,850

    Roderic O'Conor, Landscape at Cassis at Sotheby's Irish sale on March 29. (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE; IT MADE £337,250

    Roderic O’Conor and Paul Henry sought inspiration from landscapes in different though beautiful locations.

    O’Conor favoured in France while Henry is most noted for his art in the west of Ireland.

    Each one features at Sotheby’s annual Irish sale in London on March 29.  Roderic O’Conor’s Landscape, Cassis is estimated at £120,000-180,000 (€140,000-210,000) while Paul Henry’s Achill Village is estimated at £30,000-50,000 (€36,300-60,500)


    Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

    The Zodiac settle by William Burges. (click on image to enlarge)

    A piece of Gothic Revival furniture with unique architectural, artistic and literary connections has been sold for £850,000.  The Zodiac settle was designed by the leading 19th century architect William Burges (1827 – 1881).  Once owned by John Betjeman and Evelyn Waugh, it has just been sold by the Waugh family.
    Built around 1869 the ornate canopied bench combines the form of an Italian Reniassance day-bed.  Burges, whose first major commission was for St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork in 1863, installed the settle in his home at Tower House in Holland Park, London.  It was acquired by Betjeman in 1961 when he acquired the remaining short lease on Tower House. He gave it to Evelyn Waugh.
    Because of its significance the settle was subject to a temporary export bar from Britain last year after it was sold to an overseas buyer.  Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum, which houses a collection of Burges furniture, led a fundraising campaign to buy the work. Their campaign was successful thanks to a £480,000 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), £190,000 from the Trustees of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and £180,000 from The Art Fund.
    The settle will now form the centre piece of the Art Gallery & Museum’s new William Burges Gallery, due to open to the public late in 2012.

    Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds Make Four Times Estimate

    Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

    Gerhard Richters Abstraktes Bild, the top lot at Sotheby's Contemporary sale in London. (click on image to enlarge)

    The first of Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds (Kui Hua Zi) ever to appear at auction made £349,250 (£3.50 per seed) at Sotheby’s auction of contemporary art.  The 100 kilograms of the porcelain seeds made more than four times the pre-sale estimate of £80,000-120,000 in London. Four bidders both in the saleroom and on the telephones battled to acquire 100,000 of the artist’s seeds.  The seeds in this work of art are not from Tate Modern’s 11th Unilever Turbine Hall commission.

    Sunflower Seeds draws together many of the themes and formal concerns of Weiwei’s work to date.  Sotheby’s described it as a sculptural piece which is at once singular and complex in form and meaning.  This one was executed in 2010 and is from an edition of ten unique variants.
    This evening’s Contemporary Art evening sale realised £44,359,900.  When results from last weeks ‘Looking Closely’ sale are added it brings the total for Sotheby’s Contemporary Art auction series  so far this season to £88,022,550.  This is the  second-highest total for a February Contemporary Art sales series in London, and the highest total since July 2008.
    The top lot was as Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild of 1990, which sold for £7,209,250.
    (see post for February 10)
    UPDATE: The contemporary art day auction brought in a total of  £13,930,200 at Sotheby’s on February 16.  The result brings the overall total for contemporary art at Sotheby’s this season to £101,952,750. This is well above pre-sale expectations of £56-78million.


    Monday, February 14th, 2011

    This Limerick silver bowl comes up for auction at Hamptons in Limerick on February 23. UPDATE: IT WAS UNSOLD AT THE AUCTION BUT NEGOTIATIONS AFTERWARDS RESULTED IN ITS SALE FOR 20,000.

    An extremely rare plain

    The Kinsale Cup on offer at Hamptons in Limerick. UPDATE: IT WAS UNSOLD BUT NEGOTIATIONS ARE ONGOING

    silver bowl in Limerick silver features at the inaugural sale at Hamptons in Limerick on February 23.  It is one of a number of precious and highly collectable silver items in this sale.

    It is estimated that the ratio of Limerick pieces to Dublin silver is around one in 100.  The rarity, scarcity and quality of Irish Provincial silver  is one reason why it excites such interest among silver collectors.  This bowl, made by John Robinson c1735, is plainly stamped with the Arms of Molloy.  It is estimated at 20,000-25,000.
    The sale of 440 lots features a rare Queen Anne Kinsale cup circa 1710 by J&W Wall.  The organisers say it is the heaviest and most important piece of Kinsale silver ever on the open market. The estimate for this remarkable piece is 40,000-50,000.
    There is also a Limerick marrow scoop by Joseph Johns c1750 and a Limerick bright cut skewer by Connell overstruck by William Ward.  It is estimated at 4,500-5,500. Altogether there are over 30 silver lots in a sale which features furniture, art, jewellery and collectables.
    Hamptons Limerick Auction Rooms is at Garryglass Industrial Estate, Ballysimon Road, Limerick on exit 29 off the M7.


    Thursday, February 10th, 2011

    Dali's Portrait de Paul Eluard (click on image to enlarge)

    Portrait de Paul Eluard – a masterpiece by Salvador Dali – soared above its pre-sale estimate of £3.5-5 million to sell to an anonymous bidder on the phone for £13,481,250/$21,688,635 at Sotheby’s in London on February 10.

    This is a record for any Surrealist work of art at auction.   This price triples the record established for the artist at Christie’s on the previous evening in London.  It also stands a new record price for any Surrealist work of art sold at auction.

    The single owner sale of Modern and Contemporary Art, Looking Closely: A Private Collection brought a well above estimate total of £93.5 million.  This outstanding result of £93,520,600 / $150,455,941 / €110,307,368 was achieved against an estimate of £39,298,000-54,987,000.

    The top lot of the night was Francis Bacon’s  triptych Three Studies for a Portrait of Lucian Freud.

    The sale, which was 100% sold, set records for Dali, Julio González, Jean Fautrier and Wols. Wols’s Sans Titre (1946-1947) is one of only 40 works to have been created by an artist who  became a leading figure in art in Post-War Europe. It went for  £2,617,250, 17 times its pre-sale high estimate.

    See posts for February 5 and February 10.