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


    Thursday, June 30th, 2011

    THE discriminating (and wealthy) collector can acquire anything from a World War II Spitfire fighter plane to the fourth bible ever printed at the Masterpiece London Fair.  Collectors of Irish pieces have plenty to choose from.  Masterpiece is at the South Grounds, Royal Hospital, Chelsea until July 5.

    Masterpiece was launched in 2010 to fill the gap left by the Grosvenor House Fair. It is a showcase for top quality antiques, art and luxury goods.  The World War II Spitfire, the only surviving fighter used by the RAF in World War II, is a cool £8 million, the bible from 1462 a mere £1 million.

    The eye of landed on some great rarities.  Here is a selection.

    This George II giltwood mirror c1750 by John Booker of Dublin is distinguished by its scale. It measures eight feet by fifty five and a quarter inches. The asking price? £320,000.

    The wonderful patina of this mid 18th century Irish hunt table shows all the signs of centuries of use. It is 79 inches long and asking £38,000.


    Thursday, June 30th, 2011

    This is one of the best examples of a Chippendale style mirror you are ever likely to find. It was made c1755 by John Linnell. Conceived as a Chinese landscape, the mirror plates are intended to represent water and be framed by twisting trees that hang over the water's edge, with cascading water and a bridge with a pagoda sitting above. The asking price is £680,000.

    It looks like a wine cooler but this sarcophagus shaped Regency piece veneered in plum pudding mahogany is actually a plate warmer. Made c1815 it has an Irish look to it and is asking £27,000.

    MORE Collectible pieces and furniture from the Masterpiece Fair in London, now one of the most eagerly anticipated fairs of the year.  It continues until July 5.

    One of a pair of George III satinwood pier tables once in the White House. The asking price is £395,000.

    This c1811 parcel gilt library table was once in Tyrone House in Co. Galway. It is asking £544,000.

    This George III giltwood chimney piece, attributed to Matthias Lock, is estimated at £850,000.

    A portrait of a boy by Nathaniel Hone (1718-1784) is asking £45,000.

    A GEORGE III MAHOGANY CABINET ATTRIBUTED TO WILLIAM VILE CIRCA 1760. There is a definite Irish feel to this piece which is asking £250,000.

    A Centre Table with a Royal Provenance from Windsor Castle, the design firmly attributed to A.W.N. Pugin. It is asking £185,000.


    Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

    The scene at Sotheby's contemporary evening sale.

    Sotheby’s evening Contemporary Art sale on June 29 brought in £108,803,550 the highest total ever for such a sale in London.  Francis Bacon’s Crouching Nude from 1961 was the top selling lot.  It made  £8,329,250.

    The Duerckheim Collection of contemporary German art, which comprised the first 34 lots, realised £60,401,650.  Almost every lot here was contested by multiple bidders. New artist records were established for Blinky Palermo, Sigmar Polke, Eugen Schönebeck, Markus Lüpertz and Georg Baselitz.
    Andy Warhol’s electric pink acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas of Blondie’s lead singer Debbie Harry – the only major painting of renowned lead singer of the new wave and punk rock band ever to come to auction – sold for £3,737,250/ against an estimate of £3.5-5.5 million.  An early Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, Untitled, made £5,417,250 to become the second highest priced lot.
    Headlining the Duerckheim collection were a number of paintings by Sigmar Polke. His record was broken three times in quick succession.  Dschungel, the largest of the Rasterbilder (dot paintings) from the 1960s ever to appear for public sale, made £5,753,250.  A new record was set for Georg Baselitz when Spekulatius from the celebrated ‘Hero’ series sold for £3,233,250. Baselitz’s Grosse Nacht made £2,393,250.  There was exceptional prices for Gerhard Richter whose 1024 Farben from 1974 more than doubled its pre-sale high estimate to make £4,297,250. Buyers from 14 countries took part in an auction which was 89.8% sold by lot and 93.9% by value.  No less than 29 works sold for over £1 million, and 45 lots made over $1 million.
    See posts for April 26 and June 7.


    Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

    A worldwide tour of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewellery, fashion and art is to start in September.  Christie’s, which is co-ordinating the event, will organise a ten day exhibition at the Rockefeller Center in New York from December 3.  This will be followed by four consecutive days of auctions from December 13-16.  In the interim there will be stops  in Moscow, London, Los Angeles, Dubai, Geneva, Paris, and Hong Kong.

    Marc Porter, Chairman and President of Christie’s Americas, said: “The global tour and exhibition of her collection at Christie’s will be a window into the world of a true icon, a rare woman who was at once an international film and fashion star, loving mother, successful businesswoman, and generous humanitarian”. A portion of the monies generated by exhibition admissions, events and publications related to the sales will be donated to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF).
    Christie’s will open the series with an evening sale of her most magnificent jewels on December 13, followed by two additional jewellery sessions on December 14.  Elizabeth Taylor’s vast collection of haute couture – the designers Valentino, Gianni Versace and Gianfranco Ferré were among her friends – as well as ready-to-wear fashion, handbags and accessories will be offered over two days. A final session on December 16 will be devoted to important furniture, 20th century decorative arts, and film memorabilia from her Bel Air home.
    Elizabeth Taylor’s collection of Impressionist & Modern Art will be offered at Christie’s London in February 2012.


    Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

    Francis Bacon (1909-1992) Study for a Portrait made £17,961,250. (Click on image to enlarge). Copyright Christie's.

    Study for a Portrait by Irish born Francis Bacon was the top lot at Christie’s Post War and Contemporary Art evening auction on June 28.  It made £17,961,250.  Bought by an anonymous telephone bidder it had been estimated to make around £11 million.

    The work was previously owned by Rodrigo Moynihan, a pioneer of abstract painting in the 1930’s, and the Irish artist Louis Le Brocquy.

    An untitled work by Damien Hirst executed in 1996 of butterflies and household gloss paint on canvas sold for £601,250.

    Damien Hirst (b. 1965) Untitled made £601,250 at Christie's. (Click on image to enlarge), Copyright Christie's Images.

    The sale realised £78,817,050. This was the second highest total for the category. A total of 19 lots sold for over £1 million (25 over $1 million). Buyers came from 16 different countries and the breakdown was 59% Europe including UK, 26% Americas and 15% Asia.  Artist records were set for Juan Muñoz, Ron Mueck, Paula Rego, Domenico Gnoli and Miquel Barceló, who set a record for any living Spanish artist.

    Red Boat (Imaginary Boys), 2003-04, by Peter Doig (b.1959) sold for £6,201,250; Faena de muleta, 1990, by Miquel Barceló (b.1957) sold for £3,961,250 and seven works from the collection of Kay Saatchi sold for a total of £3,992,750.

    See posts for June 27, May 24 and March 31.


    Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
    Irish furniture and art work will feature at a carefully selected sale at Lynes and Lynes on Saturday, July 2 at noon. Lynes and Lynes have re-located from Cork city centre to Eastlink Business Park at Carrigtwohill in east Cork.
    This is a sale of under 150 lots.  Here is a small selection of what is on offer. The catalogue is on-line at

    This Irish antique mahogany hall bench of curved shape, circa 1860 is estimated at 1,500-2,000. (Click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,400

    George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson 1806-1884 Naval Squadron in Cork harbour 1862, estimated at 10,000-15,000. (Click to enlarge) UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD, BUT UNDER NEGOTIATION AFTERWARDS.

    A Regency two door bookcase fitted with drawers c1840 estimated at 2,000-3,000. (Click to enlarge) UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,500

    A Regency mahogany bookcase with brass trellis doors and panelled sides, circa 1830, estimated at 3,000-5,000. (Click to enlarge). UPDATE: SOLD AFTER AUCTION FOR 3,000

    Exceptional 18th Century Chinese Vases at Christie’s

    Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
    18th century Daoist vases at Christie’s. (Click on image to enlarge). Copyright Christie’s Images.  UPDATE: THE SELLING PRICE FOR THESE WAS


    THIS set of four 18th century Chinese porcelain vases, mounted in the early 19th century with French ormolu, feature at Christie’s on July 7. Over four feet tall they were acquired by either the 3rd Duchess of Buccleuch or her grandson, the 5th Duke.  The only known parallels in form, scale, magnificence and style are the vases acquired around the same time by the Prince Regent, later George IV, now at Buckingham Palace, London. The ‘Daoist vases’ are an example of the Chinese taste for auspicious imagery. The presence of numerous bats in flight conveys happiness and prosperity – bats being a homophone in Chinese for a word meaning ‘happiness’, whilst the Eight Buddhist and Daoist Emblems, which take a central importance on these vases, are believed to bring blessings and harmony. The vases are expected to realise between £600,000 and £1 million.

    They form part of the Exceptional Sale.  This comprises just 52 works and is expected to realise £18 million.
    UPDATE:  THE SALE REALISED £28,781,000.  The four vases were bought by US casino owner Steve Wynn for his Macau Resort Hotel.
    This silver chandelier is a masterpiece of Palladian design. (Click on image to enlarge). Copyright, Christie’s Images.  UPDATE: THIS MADE


    The Givenchy Royal Hanover Chandelier is a masterpiece of 18th century Palladian design.  The  German silver eight-light chandelier was conceived by the celebrated architect and designer William Kent for King George II of Great Britain as Elector of Hanover (r.1727-1760). Kent’s inspired design was realised by the Hanover court goldsmith Balthasar Friedrich Behrens and was delivered to the Hanover palace on September 13, 1736. It later graced Windsor Castle and was most recently sold from the collection of the renowned designer Hubert de Givenchy in Christie’s Monaco in 1994. The estimate is £2.6 million to £3.6 million.

    Robert Copley, international head of furniture and decorative art at Christie’s said:  “For The Exceptional Sale 2011 we have extended the parameters to include pieces from all of the decorative arts which will give the market the opportunity to bid for some of the rarest and finest works of art to come to auction, many of which are offered for the first time.”


    Monday, June 27th, 2011

    Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Mao, signed and dated 'Andy Warhol 73', is estimated at £6-8 million. (Click on image to enlarge). Copyright Christie's Images. UPDATE: IT MADE £6,985,250

    Andy Warhol’s Mao is one of a number of highlights of Christie’s Post War and Contemporary art evening auction in London on June 28.  The sale of 67 works is expected to realised a combined total of £55.8-77.6 milion.

    The iconic large scale Mao (1973) was shown at the first exhibition of Mao paintings at Musée Galliera, Paris in 1974.  Other highlights are Warhol’s vivid emerald green Little Electric Chair (1964), Miquel Barceló’s Faena de muleta (1990), the largest and most important example of the artist’s celebrated bullfight paintings ever to come to auction and Juan Muñoz’s Esquina positiva (1992), first unveiled to great acclaim at the landmark Documenta IV in Kassel in 1992, which launched the artist’s international career.
    Francis Outred, European Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, said: “At a time when the global art world unites to celebrate the Venice Biennale, Christie’s is delighted to bring together works from 14 countries for this June’s Post War and Contemporary Art auction. At the heart of the forthcoming season is one of the finest groups of British Art ever to be assembled at auction, spanning from the early 1940s to the present day. Looking across the generations, one begins to see continuities between the inky-blue washes of paint in Francis Bacon’s landmark Study for a Portrait (1953) and Peter Doig’s liquid application of the medium in Red Boat (Imaginary Boys) (2003-04), undoubtedly one of his best paintings this century. Indeed the drive to depict real, physical presence is equally apparent in Lucian Freud’s pivotal painting Woman Smiling (1958-59) as in Ron Mueck’s mesmerising, hyper-real Big Baby (1996). Assembled from a variety of collections including that of Kay Saatchi, we are delighted to have brought together such a cohesive group of masterworks.”
    UPDATE: IT MADE £6,985,250
    See post for March 31.


    Monday, June 27th, 2011

    A Boer War bedspread, profusely decorated with devices, monograms, initials and assorted decorations. (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 550

    THIS Boer War bedspread, which features at Mealy’s on July 5,  was reputedly rescued from the sinking Lusitania off the coast of Cork in 1915.  It is lot number 211 at Mealy’s two day summer fine and decorative art sale in Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny on July 5 and 6.  There are 1,200 lots on offer.

    Such quilts were common at the turn of the 20th century.  They usually bore the name of the woman or women who created them, the soldiers name or initials and other decoration.  They often included symbols that were difficult to decipher.

    This c1900 quilt bears the names and initials of both men and women. The name Roberts, sewn on the middle left, is believed to be Field Marshall Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, a distinguished Indian born British peer, who was Anglo Irish.

    According to the catalogue notes this suggests that the quilt commemorates soldiers who sailed to the Cape on the RMS Dunottar Castle, which carried Earl Roberts.   It is estimated at 600-900.

    The catalogue for the sale is on-line.  It includes decorative art, furniture, carpets, textiles, paintings, light fittings, garden furniture, bronzes, musical instruments, clocks, silver, wine, glass, militaria and firearms.



    Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

    The James Adam auction of the Kelly Collection brought in over half a million euro on June 21.  The sale of contents from the elegant interior of a stately Georgian home at 24 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin, attracted large numbers of buyers.  There was some disappointment when the top lots failed to sell in these recessionary times but buyers were out in force for some of the less expensively estimated lots. The contents were on view at Fitzwilliam Square, the sale took place at the James Adam salesroom on St. Stephen’s Green.

    There were posts about the sale on on June 7 and June 17.  Here is a selection of some lots which were sold, (click on any image to enlarge it):

    This George III breakfront sideboard, possibly Irish, made 4,600.

    One of a pair of Louis XVI painted fauteuils, attributed to G.W. Gourdin and upholstered in blue silk, which made 16,500.


    A George III inlaid serpentine serving table made 4,000.

    A pair of French ormolu cylindrical hall lanters in the Louis XVI style made 7,000.

    One of a set of four Regency dining chairs which sold for 1,500.

    A George III fruitwood chest sold for 2,800.

    A Georgian style chandelier made 3,400.

    This George III Pembroke table made 2,600.

    One of a pair of Napoleon III giltwood console tables in the Louis XV style which made 6,000.