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  • Archive for June, 2011


    Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
    An exhibition celebrating Irish art and modernism runs at the Ava Gallery at Clandeboye in Northern Ireland from June 16 to September 3.  Comprising 49 paintings and sculptural objects it features work by Jack B.Yeats, William Orpen, Mainie Jellett, Charles Lamb, Colin Middleton, F.E. McWilliam, Evie Hone, John Luke, and Gerard Dillon.

    Gerard Dillon, Tea Break from the exhibition. (Click on image to enlarge)

    William Orpen, Portrait of Dolly Stiles. (click on image to enlarge)

    The show marks the 20th anniversary of the ground-breaking exhibition and book ‘Irish Art & Modernism’ by Dr. B S Kennedy.  This work surveyed the period 1880 until 1950, and was published to accompany an exhibition of the same title held at Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery in 1991.
    The Adam’s exhibition at the Ava Gallery looks to recreate the original show, but largely concentrates on the latter half of the period. It focuses on areas including the Pupils of William Orpen; the Traditionalists, including Keating, McCaig and McKelvey; the Dublin Painters, based on the school established by Paul and Grace Henry; the Ulster Unit, featuring Middleton, O’Neill, Luke, Campbell and Dillon; the White Stag Group and the early Living Art Exhibitions, heralded by Le Brocquy, Jellett and McGuinness.
    David Britton, Director, Adam’s & Ava Gallery, said: “We have gone to great efforts to feature almost every artist that was included in the original 1991 exhibition, and in three cases we were able to source the original paintings – Christopher Campbell’s ‘Self Portrait’ of 1950, Charles Lamb’s ‘Hearing the News’, c. 1920-2, and Nick Nicholl’s ‘Contemplation, 1944’. Furthermore a number of works were recently included in the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s (IMMA) ‘The Moderns Exhibition’, including Evie Hone, Paul Henry & Jack B. Yeats. Many of the works we’ve selected weren’t available for exhibition twenty years ago, so we hope this 20th anniversary collection provides further insight to Irish modernism, and perhaps puts the original exhibition into a newer context”.
    Further information is available online at An exhibition catalogue can be downloaded.


    Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

    George II sauceboats and other silver at Bonhams. (click to enlarge)

    Irish silver locked away in the vaults of the Bank of Ireland for the past 50 years comes up for sale at  Bonhams in London on June 22.  It is from the collection of Dr F S Bourke who lived in Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin and practised at Dr. Steeven’s Hospital.

    Bonhams silver sale on June 22. (click on image to enlarge)

    It was put together with the help of his close friend, the celebrated silver authority, Dudley Westropp.

    On his death in 1961 the collection was stored in the vaults of the Bank of Ireland. Some items retain original shops labels or have notes written by Dr. Bourke or Mr. Westropp.  It is expected to bring in between £36,000-46,000.
    Highlights include a pair of George II Irish silver sauce boats (£4,000-5,000) a rare 18th century Irish silver saffron teapot and an 18th century Irish Provincial silver cream jug.
    The collection is being sold by Dr. Bourke’s grandson.
    UPDATE:  The pair of Irish silver sauce boats did not sell.


    Monday, June 13th, 2011

    Gimcrack by Stubbs. (click on image to enlarge)

    A curated exhibition showcasing highlights from one of Christie’s most exciting auction seasons is on display at King St. in London from June 13 to June 15. Museum quality works by artists including Michelangelo, Gainsborough, Goya, Stubbs, Monet, Picasso and Renoir, exceptional furniture and medieval manuscripts are included in a disiplay of over 100 works entitled Masterpieces. Most will be offered at auction during the next four weeks in a season expected to realise more than £250 million.

    Jussi Pylkkänen, President & Chairman of Christie’s, Europe, Middle East, Russia & India said: “This year we have curated an exhibition for the public of extraordinary quality. The Masterpieces show will include Michelangelo’s beautiful study for the “The Battle of Cascina”, which has been seen in public only once since it was executed, Pablo Picasso’s voluptuous portrait of Marie-Therèse, which was last exhibited in 1941, Thomas Gainsborough’s mesmerising portrait of Miss Read, unseen in public since 1936 and last but not least an astonishing 17th Century sculpture by Adriaen de Vreis which has never been exhibited in public and is one of the great Christie’s discoveries of this generation.”
    Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath, with a Trainer, a Stable- Lad, and a Jockey by George Stubbs (1724-1806) is one of the most valuable Old Master paintings offered at auction. From the Woolavington Collection it is expected to realise in excess of £20 million on July 5.
    A further highlight is The Duke of Portland’s copy of the original edition of John James Audubon’s masterpiece, The Birds of America.  This will be offered in New York on January 20, 2012 and is estimated at $7-10 million.


    Saturday, June 11th, 2011

    The Cork cup and cover by William Clarke. (click on image to enlarge)

    AN unrecognised and rare piece of Cork silver which changed hands for 3,500 dollars at auction in the United States last May 22 is now on the market for 150,000 euro. Catalogued as an early Continental ice bucket this silver cup and cover turned out to be a previously unrecorded piece by the Cork maker William Clarke.

    The makers mark and the rare turret mark which told the true story. (Click on image to enlarge)

    Made around 1710 the main problem with attribution was the rarity of the hallmark.  The double turret mark, based on the arms of the City of Cork, was used for a brief period 300 years ago.  The only known piece of silver by William Clarke with this mark is a Queen Anne wavy end hash spoon with large rat tail bowl c1710 from the Westropp Collection. This changed hands for £20,315 at Bonhams in 2003.
    Less than two dozen pieces of Cork silver with these turret marks are known.  The other pieces with this mark are usually made by Robert Goble Senior and Samuel Pantaine.
    The Dublin silver dealer William Crofton of L and W Duvallier describes this as the most important piece of Cork silver which he has ever known or held.  It was bought at the Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, Thomaston, Maine on Sunday, May 22 by the London silver trade.  Mr. Crofton is now offering the 12 3/4″ high cup which weighs 49.665 oz. for 150,000. It is under active offer by an international silver collector.


    Friday, June 10th, 2011

    SIR ANTHONY VAN DYCK PORTRAIT OF A CARMELITE MONK. (copyright, Sotheby's). (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: IT MADE £713,250

    A newly discovered portrait by 17th Century Flemish painter Sir Anthony Van Dyck features at Sotheby’s sale of Old Master and British Paintings in London on July 6.  The intense and psychologically penetrating portrait of a young Carmelite monk is a hitherto unknown work, which Sotheby’s has discovered to have been painted by the youthful Van Dyck during the years he worked in Rubens’ studio.

    Early last year Sotheby’s Paris office did a routine valuation to appraise artwork. A painting of extraordinary quality which the family had owned for at least two centuries had always been known as the “Confesseur de Rubens”.  Experts say that while Rubens’ portraits are always formally composed, the current work, especially the way the young monk’s head is turned to one side, creates an impression of spontaneity.
    The brushwork in the picture, painted in oil on oak panel, is clearly legible. This is more reminiscent of Anthony Van Dyck when he worked in Rubens’ studio, than of his teacher. Specifically, the use of thick paint to denote highlights in the sitter’s habit is a characteristic of Van Dyck’s personal style at this date, and can be seen in a series of paintings the artist made of the Apostles.
    A large number of scholars have had the opportunity to study this picture at first hand. The consensus view is that it is by Van Dyck towards the end of the period during which he worked with Rubens in Rubens’ studio, circa 1617-1620.  It is assumed that Van Dyck painted this intense portrait in Rubens’ house in Antwerp.  It is estimated to make £600,000-£800,000.
    UPDATE: IT MADE £713,250


    Friday, June 10th, 2011

    A diamond tiara from the 1920's at Sotheby's. (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: THIS MADE £277,250

    A diamond tiara from the 1920’s highlights Sotheby’s sale of fine jewels in London on July 13. Estimates in this 288 lot sale range from £3,000-55,000.  The tiara has an estimate of £35,000-55,000.

    There are contemporary and period jewels, spanning three centuries of workmanship and design with signed pieces by designers like Repossi, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany and Boucheron.  The entire sale is expected to raise more than £1.7 million.

    An opal and diamond corsage. (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: THIS MADE £25,000

    An opal and diamond corsage from the mid-19th century highlights the 19th century jewel section.  It was formerly in the collection of Doña Maria Cristina of Bourbon, Princess of the Two Sicilies (Widow of King Ferdinand VII of Spain) Queen Regent of Spain.
    Designed as a series of ribbons and leaves and a central cabochon opal within a floral border, and set with cushion-shaped, circular-cut and rose diamonds, suspending a series of four tassels similarly set, it is estimated at £20,000-30,000.


    Friday, June 10th, 2011
    This painting, The Dance of Salomé, was an Emperor’s wedding gift to his grand-daughter. It is reckoned to be the greatest work by Hungarian artist Gyula Tornai

    Salome by Hungarian artist Gyula Tornai. (Click on image to enlarge)

    (1868–1928) ever to have come to market and features at Christie’s sale of 19th Century European and Orientalist Art  in London on June 15.  Salomé was a popular theme in art and literature in the 19th century. Oscar Wilde’s play on the theme was used as a libretto by Richard Strauss for his opera of the same name.

    The work was given by Franz-Josef, Emperor of Austria to his granddaughter as a wedding gift. It subsequently passed by descent to the present owner. It has never been on the art market before and is estimated at £1-1.5 million.

    The art auction features works by Giovanni Boldoni, Eugène Delacroix and nine works by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot as well as Ottoman and Orientalist paintings.


    Tuesday, June 7th, 2011


    Precious objects from a spectacular interior at one of the most graceful squares in Ireland come under the hammer at Adams on June 21.  The contents of 24 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin will be on view in situ over the preceding three days.

    Kevin and Rose Kelly, synonymous with glossy publications such as World of Interiors and Image, are downsizing.  They are disposing of contents amassed over 40 years of collecting.  The catalogue for the 590 lot sale is on-line.
    The collection draws together paintings from the Irish, English and Dutch Schools, Fine English and French furniture, fine silver, china, objets d’art and a wide variety of decorative pieces. There is a small couture section including Dior and Chanel designer-wear.


    Furniture highlights include a magnificent pair of sumptuously upholstered Louis XV giltwood Marquise armchairs made by Jean Baptiste Lelarge (1743-1802). They are estimated at 40,000 plus. The Kellys purchased these chairs from Bond Street dealers, Partridge. A Louis XV ormolu mounted kingwood and tulipwood bureau plat is signed by Nicolas Petit. Purchased from Monaco dealers Sapjo it is estimated at €30,000/50,000. A Louis XV giltwood framed canapé by ebeniste E.T.Nauroy, also from Partridge, is estimated at €8,000/12,000.
    There are English, Irish and French side-tables, bookcases, a dining table and chairs, mirrors, couches, soft furnishings, garden furniture and beds complete with Lyon silk and silk damask bedspreads and canopies.
    There are 17th and 18th Century portraits include two by Dutch artist Cornelius Johnson (1593-1661) both dated c.1640 and estimated at €20,000+ each. A massive portrait by Godfrey Kneller of a young lady, believed to be the artist’s daughter, Agnes, is estimated at €25,000 +.  There is a family group believed to be of Gerrit Jacob Witszoon, Burgomaster of Delft with his wife and daughter probably painted by Michiel van Mierevelt in the early years of the 17th Century. Irish art includes watercolour sketches by Maurice MacGonigal, two oils by Grace Henry and still lifes by Nicolo Caracciolo RHA and Martin Mooney.


    Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

    A Regency rosewood library table with Irish provenance at Bonhams. UPDATE: IT MADE £264,000

    A Regency rosewood library table originally from Tyrone House, an Irish estate in County Galway, is to be sold at Bonhams, as part of its Fine English Furniture and Works of Art Sale on June 15. Built in 1779 by Christopher St. George (1754-1826) Tyrone House was designed by Waterford architect John Roberts (1712-1796). Christopher St. George lived in the house for twenty years before passing it to his son, Arthur French, who, during the 1820s, also occupied Kilcolgan Castle. By 1905, the family was based between Dublin and America and the contents of the house were split amongst family members.  The table, estimated at £100,000 – 150,000, passed through the St. George family by descent.

    In 1921, the house was burnt down by the IRA, who believed it to be a base for the Black and Tans.   The Irish Georgian Society acquired the ruin in 1972.  It is a moody local ruin opposite the St George family mausoleum which inspired John Betjeman to write in his poem, Ireland with Emily:
    ‘There in pinnacle protection
    One extinguished family waits
    A Church of Ireland resurrection
    By the broken, rusty gates’
    UPDATE:  The library table sold for a remarkable £264,000 at Bonhams.


    Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

    Debbie Harry by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) (copyright Sotheby's). (Click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE £3,737,250

    Andy Warhol’s 1980 acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas of Debbie Harry, lead singer with Blondie, heads Sotheby’s sale of Contemporary Art in London on June 29.  Debbie Harry became a friend of the artist after they met in Manhattan.  In an interview with Cheyenne Westphal, Sotheby’s Chairman of Contemporary Art Europe, she described what it was like to sit for Warhol: “He was the master of understatement. He’d say ‘Try looking over here’. He was very softly spoken and used a funny Polaroid portrait camera. It was an easy environment and not really a pressured situation. He made it very easy.”

    Selected as the cover image for the major survey of Warhol’s portraiture published by Phaidon in 2005, Debbie Harry, from 1980, is one of Warhol’s most accomplished portraits of celebrity. One of only four such portraits of the Blondie star in this rare 42 inches format – two of which are in the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh – this pink version has become one of the best recognised images in Warhol’s oeuvre and the definitive portrait of the 1980s style icon.
    It is from a European private collection and is estimated at  £3.5-5.5 million.  The sale coincides with the release of Blondie’s new album Panic of Girls.
    Sotheby’s has also announced that it will offer a group of works by Damien Hirst, Gilbert & George and Angus Fairhurst from the collection of award winning musician, songwriter and record producer Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics.  He is a friend of Damien Hirst.  The seven artworks – estimated to bring in £1.3 million – will be included in the contemporary art evening and day auctions on June 29 and 30. The collection will be led by Dantrolene, an early Hirst pharmaceutical painting and one of the largest one inch spot paintings to appear at auction in latter years. It is estimated at  £600,000-800,000.
    UPDATE: IT MADE £3,737,250