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  • Archive for April, 2011


    Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

    Zhang Daqian's Children Playing under a pomegranate tree (click to enlarge). UPDATE: This sold for 74,580,000 Hong Kong Dollars over a top estimate of 20,000,000 HKD.

    Zhang Daqian’s (1899 – 1983) Children Playing under a Pomegranate Tree is a highlight of Sotheby’s sale of the Mei Yun Tang Collection in Hong Kong on May 31.

    Zhang, whose name is also spelt as Chang Dai-chien  was the fourth highest selling  artist at auction globally in 2010, behind Picasso, Qi Baishi and Andy Warhol, and ahead of Giacometti.  He was one of the most prodigious and celebrated Chinese artists of the twentieth century.

    The Mei Yun Tang Collection is internationally recognised as the most preeminent and comprehensive private collection of Zhang Daqian’s paintings, assembled by the late Mr. Kao Ling-mei and his wife Jan Yun-bor since 1940s. All the works in this sale are offered on the market for the very first time.  They are masterpieces from the 1940s to the 1960s.
    Renowned in China as a “modern Impressionist and Expressionist painter”, he immersed himself in the art of the West, forming a particularly close tie with Pablo Picasso, whom he met in 1953, and to whom he gifted a set of his own brushes, in the hope that these would enable Picasso to paint as finely as he.
    The sale features 25 paintings from this collection, and is expected to fetch in excess of HK$130 million / US$ 16.7 million.  Children Playing under a Pomegranate Tree is estimated at HK$15 – 20 million / US$1.9 – 2.6 million.
    See post for April 7.
    UPDATE:  The sale of the Mei Yun Tang Collection realised 680,740,000 HKD,


    Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
    IRISH history is peppered with stories about informers. Vital information passed to the enemy cost many a battle. An 18 carat oval gold medal at the Adams-Mealy’s Independence sale recalls one such unhappy event.  It dates to the year the United Irishmen, influenced by the ideals of the American and French revolutions, rebelled against British rule. the 1798 Rebellion went on for several months.

    The Master Wardens and Brethren of the Guild of Merchants of Dublin presented this gold medal to the informer Thomas Reynolds in 1798..

    On October 15, 1798 this oval gold medal was presented to Thomas Reynolds (1771 – 1836) the 1798 Informer.
    Though he had inherited considerable wealth poor management and a profligate lifestyle led Reynolds to virtual bankruptcy.  He joined the United Irishmen, but became nervous about their plans. On St. Patrick’s Day, 1798, he betrayed the meeting of the Leinster Directory of the United Irishmen. The meeting, held at the Dublin house of Oliver Bond, was broken up and the conspirators arrested, Oliver Bond was later murdered in prison. Lord Edward Fitzgerald, warned of the raid, was absent at the time, but forced to become a fugitive. He was arrested by Major Henry Sirr in a house in Thomas Street on May 19, dying later of wounds suffered during his arrest, and left without treatment by the authorities.
    For this act of treachery Reynolds was paid £5,000 together with a pension of £1,000 per year for life, and a government posting. In addition he was presented by the city merchants with this gold medal and a gold freedom box, the whereabouts of which is unknown. Reynolds and his wife Henrietta – whose sister Maltilda had married Theobald Wolfe Tone who is widely regarded as the father of Irish Republicanism  – left the country after the trials of the United Irishmen. He obtained various diplomatic posts becoming Consul at Copenhagen in 1819.
    The medal sold for 15,000.
    See posts for April 16 and April 13.

    de Vlaminck, Monet, Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, de Chirico at Christie’s

    Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

    MAURICE DE VLAMINCK (1876-1958) Paysage de banlieue at Christie's, New York.

    Paintings and sculpture by masters Claude Monet, Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse, Maurice de Vlaminck, Pablo Picasso, and Giorgio de Chirico are a feature of Christie’s sale of Impressionist and Modern art in New York on May 4.  There are 57 exceptional works in a sale which is expected to realise more than $160 million.

    Head of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie’s New York Conor Jordan said the London sales in February demonstrated that collector demand for top-quality works offered fresh to the market continues to reach new heights.
    Among the most visually-arresting paintings in the sale is Paysage de banlieue, a fauvist masterpiece by celebrated French painter Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958). He was among the leaders of the movement dedicated to revolutionizing 20th century art through the use of pure, unmodulated color and expressive brushwork. Paysage de banlieue, painted in 1905, is estimated at $18-25 million.
    Picasso’s Les femmes d’Alger, version L is estimated at $20-30 million. It is one of the largest works within the artist’s groundbreaking series of 15 paintings created in 1955 in homage to the masterpiece of the same name by the 19th century master Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863).


    Monday, April 18th, 2011

    A studio sale of the work of artist Ian Humphreys will be held by auctioneer Morgan O’Driscoll in Skibbereen, west Cork on Easter Sunday (April 24) at 4 p.m.  The British born (1956) artist and graduate of Exeter College of Art has work in a number of public and private collections.  He has lived on Heir Island off the west Cork coast since 1999.  The sale features 80 lots in a variety of media over dates from 1976 to 2010.

    There are no reserves.  Estimates are a guide. Here is a sample, click on any image to enlarge:

    UPDATE: All lots were sold in an auction that realised 120,000.  There were buyers from Texas, the UK, Holland, Germany and Ireland, some bidding on the internet.  The auction attracted a large crowd including people on holiday in west Cork for Easter.

    'Reencorren' by Ian Humphreys (est 800-1,400) UPDATE: THIS MADE 500 EURO.

    Ian Humpreys 'The Fisher King' (5,000-8,000). UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,400 EURO.

    Ian Humphreys 'Juggling' (4,000-5,000) UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,300 EURO.

    Ian Humphreys 'Skeams' (400-500) UPDATE: THIS MADE 900 EURO.


    Saturday, April 16th, 2011

    Lot 546 is an Irish Flag from American Civil War period. The green flag was the basis of the unit colours of American Irish military organisations. This rare version is estimated at 1,000-1,500. UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR 4,600

    THE fascination of relatively recent Irish history underlines the success of the Independence series of auctions.  These have been held jointly by James Adam in Dublin and Mealy’s of Castlecomer in April for the past six years.  This year the sale is on April 19 at Adams in Dublin.

    The top lot is a copy of the Proclamation (see post for April 13) estimated at 100,000-150,000. A small hand gun given by Countess Markievicz (a crack shot) to Seamus Babington of the 3rd Tipperary Brigade, I.R.A. is estimated at 800-1,400. (Note image attached to post for January 11, 2011).
    Private letters from Michael Collins (who lost his life during the Civil War in 1922) range in estimate from 800 to 6,000.  The 32 letters cover the period before the Easter Rising of 1916, his imprisonment and his development into a rebel leader. Terence MacSwiney’s Volunteer Diary from 1915 records his daily activities as a Volunteer organiser in Co. Cork. He was Lord Mayor of Cork when he died on hunger strike in Brixton Prison in 1920. It is estimated at 6,000-8,000.
    There are 631 lots in total, including original photos and autograph books, pamphlets, medals, swords and flags. The sale will be held over two sessions at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on April 19.
    UPDATE:  The Collins letters brought in 202,000, the Proclamation failed to sell, Terence MacSwiney’s Volunteer Diary made 7,500.  The sale brought in a hammer price of 655,000 and  was 80 per cent sold.


    Thursday, April 14th, 2011

    Hugh Douglas Hamilton, R.H.A., 1736-1801, Arthur Hill, 2nd Marquess of Downshire (1753-1801), 1785-90, pastel (£200,000-300,000). Click on image to enlarge. UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR £337,250

    WORKS from the collection of Dr. Tony Ryan, the founder of Ryanair, will be offered at Christie’s in London on July 14. Dr. Ryan, who died in 2007, was one of Ireland’s biggest philathropists and supporter of the arts.

    On offer are 400 lots from his estate, the Lyons Demesne in Co. Kildare.  This is a relatively small selection, but Christie’s say it will provide collectors and institutions around the world with a rare glimpse into a private Irish treasure trove. The sale is expected to bring in more than two million sterling.

    Highlights include an important full length portrait in pastel of Arthur Hill, 2nd Marquess of Downshire (1753-1801) by Hugh Douglas Hamilton, R.H.A., 1736-1801  (£200,000-300,000); a pair of George III giltwood and painted satinwood console tables in the manner of Thomas Chippendale the Younger (£50,000-80,000); a Louis XV Gobelins tapestry, by Claude Audran ( £30,000-50,000) and a white marble sculpture of Love Awakened by Giovanni Battista Lombardi, Rome, circa 1870 (£30,000-50,000).


    The sale of Lyons Demesne: Works of Art from the Collection of the late Dr. Tony Ryan realised £3,352,200,  selling 90% by value and 83% by lot.

    The top lot was Hugh Douglas Hamilton, R.H.A. (Dublin 1740-1808), Portrait of Arthur Hill, 2nd Marquess of Downshire (1753-1801), which realised £337,250

    All images © Christie’s Images Limited 2011

    Interior, the Lyons Demesne, the Drawing Room. (click on image to enlarge).

    The Gabrielli room. Click to enlarge)

    Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A., Portrait of Mrs. Thomas Edwards Freeman (£50,000-80,000). Click to enlarge. UPDATE: THIS MADE £49,250

    An interior view. (Click to enlarge)

    One of a pair of Irish George III oval glass mirrors (£6,000-9,000). Click to enlarge. UPDATE: THE PAIR MADE 21,250


    Thursday, April 14th, 2011

    Expert restoration is needed for this c1760 Irish tallboy at Lynes and Lynes.

    This Irish Georgian Tallboy, circa 1760 is from the Lynes and Lynes sale in Cork on Sunday April 17 at 3 p.m.. The colour is untouched, the bracket feet and top moulding are gone.  Nonetheless it is a serious piece of antique furniture.

    Measuring three feet wide it is estimated at 1000-2000.

    There is a Fermoy longcase clock included in this sale of Georgian, Victorian and later furniture and effects at Lynes and Lynes new premises at Eastlink Business Park, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork.

    An early 19th century walnut davenport is estimated at 1,000-1,500. The sale features easy chairs and sets of chairs including six Victorian spoon back chairs with an estimate of 600-1,000.

    Among the lots on offer at this sale are bookcases, sideboards, dumb waiters and two card tables.

    Click on image to enlarge.

    UPDATE:  The tallboy made 1,300, the Fermoy longcase clock made 1,100.

    This Han Dynasty Amphora made from burnished black earthenware is at Kerry Auction Rooms, Tralee on April 19. It is estimated at 400-500. (click on image to enlarge)

    The auction at Kerry Auction Rooms in Tralee on April 19 at 2 p.m. features a number of unusual items including this Han Dynasty amphora dating from c200 B.C.

    A first British edition of “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” by James Joyce dating from 1916 is estimated at 800-1,200.

    Art includes an oil on paper”Race meeting” by Con Campbell with a starting price of 800, a gouache on paper ” Still Life”by Basil Ivan Rakoczi with a starting price of 800,  a watercolour port scene by Alethea Hill Platt (1861 – 1932) with a starting price of €700, an oil on canvas ” Still life of flowers” by Lady Kate Dobbin RHA with a starting price of €400 and a self portrait by Stella Steyn.

    There is a selection of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian furniture, coins and banknotes, silver, jewellery and collectibles among the 1,000 lots on offer.

    UPDATE:  The amphora sold for 250, the first British edition of Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist did not sell, Con Campbell’s Race meeting made 800 as did the still life by Basil Rakoczi.


    Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

    A mid 20th century diamond ring, the old cut diamond set within a diamond set mount. Estimated; weight of diamond; 6.54 carat, colour and clarity; tinted, VS - SI, estimate 35,000 - 38,000 UPDATE: IT REMAINED UNSOLD

    A tanzanite and diamond dress ring, estimated at 600-700. UPDATE: THIS MADE 800

    An antique diamond set target ring, Estimated; weight of diamond; 3.50 carat, colour and clarity; K, VS, estimate 18,000 - 20,000 UPDATE: THIS MADE 17,000

    An Irish silver Victorian Armada jug, possibly by John Scriber, Dublin 1870, estimated at 3000 - 3500 UPDATE: THIS MADE 3,200

    Some lots from O’Reilly’s sale of jewellery, watches, antique gold, silver and paintings at Francis St., Dublin on Wednesday, April 20 at 1 p.m.

    The catalogue, which is on-line, lists 347 lots in total.



    Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

    Robert Emmet's 1803 Proclamation. (click to enlarge)

    Lot 41 at Whyte’s History, Literature and Collectibles sale in Dublin  on Saturday, April 16 is Robert Emmet’s Proclamation of 1803.  Allegedly 10,000 were printed but it was dangerous to be in possession of one, so most were destroyed.  This is one of only three known examples in private hands.  It begins:   “The Provisional Government TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND” and is estimated to make 30,000-50,000.  This is a sale of 628 lots.

    SEE post for April 8.

    UPDATE:  This Proclamation made 25,000 in a sale that grossed over 300,000 with a selling rate of 70 per cent.

    The 1916 Proclamation at Adams-Mealy's. (click to enlarge)

    Lot 527 at Adams Mealy’s Independence sale in Dublin on Tuesday, April 19 is this 1916 Proclamation. There are thought to be no more than 50 surviving copies, many in public collections. This one is estimated at €100,000-150,000.  There are 631 lots in total in this sale.



    Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

    Cork Republican Silver strawberry dish. (click on image to enlarge)

    The rare Cork Republican Silver strawberry dish which was one of the highlights at Woodwards silver sale on April 6 is to be presented on long loan to Cork Public Museum.

    Estimated at 15,000-20,000 the dish was bid up to 9,500 at the sale at which point it was withdrawn.  It remained under active negotiation and was subsequently sold to a private bidder for 12,000.  This bidder intends to present the extremely rare item of Cork silverware dating to the most turbulent period of the Irish Civil War to the museum, which is located in Fitzgerald’s Park near the city centre.  With fluted sides the ten ounce dish is eight and a quarter inches in diameter.

    See post for February 24.