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


    Friday, March 25th, 2011

    An extremely rare emerald and diamond tiara – the most important to have come to auction in 30 years – will be offered at  Sotheby’s sale of magnificent jewels in Geneva on May 17. It  is composed of 11 exceptionally rare Columbian emerald pear-shaped drops which weigh over 500 carats in total. The tiara was commissioned by the First Prince von Donnersmarck for his second wife Princess Katharina  (1862-1929). Their jewellery collection was known to be on a par with, or even to have exceeded, those of many of the crowned heads of Europe.
    The emeralds may have originally adorned the neck of a Maharajah and are believed to have been in the personal collection of Princess  Eugénie. It is thought the piece may have been commissioned from renowned jewellers Chaumet.  The estimate is £3.1-6.2 million (CHF 4.5-9 million / $5-10 million). (click on image to enlarge)
    UPDATE:  IT MADE  CHF 11,282,500/ $12,736,927, the highest price ever achieved for a tiara at auction.


    Thursday, March 24th, 2011
    A war of words has broken out between a Paris auction house and the Mexican government.  Mexico claims a Mayan statue auctioned for 2.9 million euro at a sale of pre-Columbian artefacts at Binoche et Giquello at Drouot Richelieu on March 21 is a fake.  The auctioneers say  this  is an attempt by Mexican officials to shake confidence in the auction market for pre-Hispanic artefacts.
    The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Mexico claim the seated divinity figure was manufactured recently. The auctioneers dated it to between 550 and 950. INAH says a thorough archaeological examination before the auction included 203 images of the 207 lots. INAH experts established that 140 pieces are Prehispanic and 67 others were recently made.
    The auctioneers say the piece has been publicly written about since 1976, examined by experts, exhibited and discussed in professional forums and publications.


    Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

    Oiseau Lunaire by Miro from 1945.

    A sculpture by the Spanish artist Joan Miró sold within hours of the opening of TEFAF Maastricht for $5 million. Oiseau lunaire, a 30cm high olive wood work dating from 1945, was sold to a private collector.  It was part of an entire room devoted to Miró by Landau Fine Art of Montreal. One of the earliest known sculptures by Miro it has not been seen in public since 1973.

    Dealers reported good sales across all sections of The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) with modern and contemporary art, antiquities and Asian art performing particularly well. Over 30,000 people visited for the opening weekend.  No less than 125 private jets landed at Maastricht-Aachen airport. Visitors included the World Chinese Collectors Conference from Shanghai with a group of 21 people, a party from the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, USA, and Wolfgang Heubisch, Minister of Culture in the Bavarian state government in Germany. TEFAF runs until Sunday, March 27.


    Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

    Pink Rose by Mat Grogan (est 300-400) click to enlarge UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR 325

    Shawlies on Inishmaan Beach, Aran by Ivan Sutton (est 1,800-2,400) click to enlarge UPDATE: IT MADE 1,800

    Connemara by Tom Greaney (est 300-400) click to enlarge UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR 400

    Shawlies by Markey Robinson (est 2,400-2,800) click to enlarge UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR 2,500

    Some works from the Dolan’s Irish art auction at the Carlton Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick on Sunday, March 27 at 4 p.m.

    There re 236 lots on offer.


    Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

    Enid Blyton's diamond and emerald necklace.

    Enid Blyton’s emerald and diamond necklace is one feature item at the 12th Irish & International Art & Antiques Fair. Dating from 1880, it contains approximately eight carats of natural Colombian emeralds and 10 carats of old cut diamonds.  The necklace is  set in 18 carat gold and silver and can be found at the stand of London based antique jewellery dealer Saul Greenstein.

    The fair runs at the RDS Dublin from March 25 to March 27.  It is aimed at both the seasoned connoisseur and the new collector.


    Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

    The Northern Sky (click to enlarge)

    The Southern Sky (click to enlarge)

    Dürer’s maps of the Northern and Southern skies, the earliest printed star charts, feature at Sotheby’s sale of Old Master, modern and contemporary prints in London on March 30.  The extremely rare woodcuts celestial maps by Albrecht Dürer are the oldest printed star charts published in Europe. Dated circa 1515, they were produced in Nuremberg under the patronage of the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I, and were the product of an innovative collaboration between Dürer, Viennese astronomer Johannes Stabius and German astronomer Conrad Heinfogel. They are estimated at £120,000-180,000.

    The sale also features a large group of prints by Rembrandt, a collection of works on paper by Paul Gauguin, and a rare linocut by Pablo Picasso. There is a group of seven works by Lucian Freud, comprising a series of etchings of landscapes and figure studies and three works by Roy Lichtenstein, all dating from the 1990’s.
    UPDATE: The earliest printed star charts, A Map of the Northern Sky and A Map of the Southern Sky, sold for £361,250 ($578,542) to Daniel Crouch Rare Books,


    Monday, March 21st, 2011
    A rare jadeite double-square seal from an Imperial Palace in Beijing and with an Irish link features at Bonhams auction of Chinese art in London on May 12.  It is believed to have been an Imperial seal of the Jiaqing Emperor and was taken from the Summer Palace during Britain’s second Opium War with China in 1860.
    It was brought to Britain by Liverpool born medical missionary William Lockhart who trained at the Meath Hospital, Dublin, and Guy’s Hospital, London before going to China in 1838.  He worked in Peking from 1861 to 1864. The seal is being sold with William Lockhart’s fan which is printed with a map of China on one side and a map of Beijing on the other. The location of Lockhart’s hospital in Beijing is marked with an X.
    The seal measures under an inch square and is estimated to sell for £40,000 to £60,000. The seal inscription reads Jiaqing Chen Han (‘Jiaqing Emperor’s Literary and Artistic Work’) and Ji Xia Yi Qing (‘When does one have the leisure to delight the heart?’ Bonhams hope this seal will return to China as did the Qianlong Emperor’s personal seal which sold for £2.7m last May in London”


    Sunday, March 20th, 2011

    The work by Atkinson (click on image to enlarge)

    WITH the planned visit of Queen Elizabeth to Ireland in May there is something very timely about this painting included in Woodwards auction in Cork on April 6.   The work, by George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson depicts the Royal Yacht squadron bringing Queen Victoria to Cork Harbour in August 1849. George Mounsey Atkinson mounted an exhibition of his maritime paintings for the visit and produced several different paintings of an event which resulted in the name of the town being changed from Cove to Queenstown.  The work is estimated at 20,000-30,000.

    UPDATE: It sold for a hammer price of 20,000.


    Friday, March 18th, 2011

    THERE are fabulous pieces to be seen in the Haute Joaillerie section at The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht.  Here are some to whet the appetite.

    The Graff blue diamond

    The Hemmerle vegetable collection.

    The aster brooch.

    The Chopard owl watch.

    Graff is exhibiting a 20.02 carat blue ice diamond ring.  The fancy deep blue diamond ring has white diamond shoulders. Each diamond pearshape sidestone is exactly one carat. The entire ring is 22.02 carats.
    Hemmerle Jewellers will unveil their new vegetable collection at TEFAF. The brooch illustrated is a white gold pod of five jade peas, speckled with demantoide garnets.
    THE Aster Brooch has a central cushion cut tourmaline supported by flame-shaped griffes bezel in yellow gold. It is contoured by a double circle of petals in white gold and brilliant-cut diamonds. This one-of-a-kind object of rare beauty and simplicity was created by Gianmaria Buccellati.
    At Chopard & Cie S.A. there is an Owl watch.  It is 18 ct white and rose gold set with diamonds (7cts), trapeze-cut diamonds (2cts) and trapeze-cut yellow sapphires (4cts).  It is from the ‘Animal World Collection 150th Anniversary.
    TEFAF 2011 has 260 exhibitors from 16 countries in nine sections. Some 30,000 works of art from the Neolithic Age to the present day are all rigorously vetted by 168 international experts in 29 specialist committees to ensure quality, authenticity and good condition.

    TEFAF Maastricht is launching the TEFAF Mobile Guide, an application for Android and iPhone, at the 2011 Fair. The application has been developed to help visitors get the most out of their visit to TEFAF.  It offers them a virtual tour, videos, an interactive floor plan, an overview of theFair’s sections, exhibitors and restaurants at the Fair and other information. It can be downloaded free at and from the iTunes AppStore and Android Market.

    (See posts for March 11, January 13 and January 6)


    Friday, March 18th, 2011

    The Qing Dynasty silver gilt tea service (click to enlarge)

    THIS extensive Qing Dynasty Chinese silver gilt tea service was the top lot at  Sotheby’s four-day sale of property from the estate of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.  The sale, in which all 1,535 lots sold, raised more than €5 million for charity against a pre-sale estimate of €1.5 million. There were bidders from around the world.

    The 18/19th century silver gilt tea service sold to a buyer in the saleroom for €204,750 against an estimate of €30,000-50,000.
    A rare Doccia Ginori porcelain dinner service, circa 1780-1810, sold for €168,750 ($233,172) against an estimate of €40,000-60,000.
    A watercolour by Hendrik Willem Mesdag entitled Bomschuiten in the Breakers sold for €82,350.  Half of the proceeds will go the Red Cross, the rest will be divided among four charities nominated by the late Queen Juliana’s daughters.