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


    Friday, July 29th, 2011
    The French commode and Russian vases pictured below will feature at the four day sale of  the Lily and Edmond J. Safra Collections  at Sotheby’s in New York in October.  Of interest to connoisseurs worldwide the sale offers lots that Sotheby’s say are at the pinnacle of their respective collecting categories.
    The six dedicated sales of the collection from October 18-21 are expected to realise more than $40 million.  A two day sale of the Safra collections at Sotheby’s in 2005 brought in $49 million.
    UPDATE:  The group of French 18th century lacquer furniture headed by the lacquer commode pictured which made $6,914,500 brought in a total of $12.5 million.  The four day sale realised $45,900,064.
    (See post for July 10, 2011.)

    A pair of Imperial Porcelain Vases, decorated with portraits of Alexandra Fedorovna and her father, King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia, after the portrait by Franz Krüger now in the 1812 Gallery of the Hermitage (est. $1.5/2.5 million). (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: THESE WERE UNSOLD.

    A Louis XVI Ormolu-Mounted Japanese lacquer commode with secretaire en suite, attributed to Adam Weisweiler (est. $5/7 million). (Click on image to enlarge).  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $6,914,500


    Thursday, July 28th, 2011

    THE west Cork artists no reserves auction in Skibbereen on Sunday, July 31 is arousing considerable interest.  The sale of 111 lots by locally based artists is wide ranging and timed to coincide with the August Bank Holiday weekend height of the holiday season in the area. It follows two no reserves studio sales by Morgan O’Driscoll already this year.  Each one of these proved to be popular and demonstrated that, even in the teeth of a major recession, Irish people will purchase the work of artists if the price is considered to be right.

    Here is some more of what is on offer on Sunday (see post for July 15):-

    John Minihan (b.1946) 'Al Pacino Photographed at the Duke of York Theatre, London, 1984' is estimated at 800-1,400. UPDATE: THIS MADE 225

    John Minihan (b.1946) 'Pierre Cardin Photographed Outside Maxims, Paris, 1985' (800-1,400). UPDATE: THIS MADE 275

    John Desmond (b.1950) 'Magic of Colour' (est. 300-500). UPDATE: THIS MADE 140

    Anne Marie McInerney (20th/21st Century) 'Heir Island, Cottages' (est. 350-550). UPDATE: THIS MADE 300


    Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

    Australia Kangaroo issue, 1913-14. (est. £15,000-20,000)(click on image to enlarge)

    RARE stamps of distinction will come under the hammer at Sotheby’s next September. The Philatelic Collection of the Northern Irish peer Lord Steinberg is unique as it contains only mint blocks of four or larger multiples from 74 countries of the British Empire. Highlights include Australia with many rare Kangeroo blocks; the British Solomon Islands block; classic Ceylon; Falkland Islands with the 1933 Centenary set in marginal blocks of four; Hong Kong; India; Newfoundland with the unique 1927 De Pinedo airmail block of four and the 1932 DO-X airmail block of four with the surcharge inverted, and a selection of Rhodesian Double Head issues.

    They will be offered in a series of sales on September 6-8 and on September 21.  The three day sale is of British Empire multiples, the sale on September 21 will feature Great Britain exclusively.  Altogether 2,068 blocks will be offered in a sale expected to realise £4 million.

    Lord Steinberg was the grandson of immigrants who turned a single unlicensed betting shop at the back of his father’s Belfast milk counter into the Stanley Leisure Group, a chain of 640 betting outlets and 45 casinos which employed 7,000 people. He became a peer, deputy treasurer of the Conservative Party and president of Lancashire County Cricket Club.  The business was founded in Belfast in 1958, but Steinberg moved to Liverpool in 1977 when he refused to pay protection money to either republican or loyalist paramilitaries. He was shot in 1977 by the Provisional IRA.  Proceeds are for causes and charities associated with Lord Steinberg, who died in 2009. This includes the fund he started with the aim of helping to rebuild Old Trafford, home of Lancashire County Cricket Club.
    UPDATE:  The four day sale brought in £2,648,652, the one day auction comprised of Great Britain Mint Multiples realised £1,134,924.

    Hong Kong 1863-71 at 30 cents. (est. £10,000-12,000) (Click on image to enlarge)







    1840 1d. black. (est. £150,000-250,000)  (click on image to enlarge)  UPDATE: This sold for 




    Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

    This image was the top lot.

    THIS 1964 photo of the Beatles on their first US tour was estimated to make $2,000 but in fact sold for $68,500.

    It was taken by a then 18 year old photographer named Mike Mitchell. He had been granted a press pass. But the photographs were never published and he kept 400 negatives and contact sheets in a box for 47 years.

    With encouragement from friends, he showed them to Christie’s.  They selected 46 images. Partly becasue Mitchell as a photographer is relatively unknown Christie’s reckoned they would make $100,000 dollars.

    The collection sold for $362,000.

    See post for May 26, 2011.


    Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

    Dolan’s Irish art auction house  will hold a summer sale of 200 works in a marquee in the grounds of Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara, Co. Galway on Wednesday, August 3 at 2 p.m.  On offer is a broad cross section of work from a variety of emerging and established Irish artists.  Here is a selection of what is on offer (click on any image to enlarge it):

    A handcoloured engraving of Queen Victoria and the Royal Squadron leaving Kingstown Harbour (now Dun Laoghaire) in August 1849. It is estimated at 180-250. UPDATE: IT MADE 300

    Achill by Markey Robinson is estimated at 9,500-10,500. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 9,250

    Girl with Parasol by Rosemary Fallon (1,800-2,500). UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Poppies by Kenneth Webb (6,000-7,000). UPDATE: THIS MADE 6,500


    Monday, July 25th, 2011

    THIS  lacquer cigarette box was an emperor’s gift.  It had been presented to the late Georgette Ellison by the late Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

    The cigarette box – an unusual feature of the Hegarty’s sale in Bandon on July 24 –  sold for 3,800.  It was bought by a collector in Hong Kong, who heard about the piece through the internet.

    Georgette Ellison was widow of a high ranking US military officer who served in the Far East in the years following the Second World War.


    Sunday, July 24th, 2011

    Aldourie Castle. (Click on image to enlarge).

    Aldourie Castle, on the southern shore of Loch Ness, near Inverness is the winner of the Historic Houses Association (HHA) and Sotheby’s Restoration Award for 2011. The restoration work has included the remodelling of 57 rooms, furnished with over 2000 works of art, and the replacement and repair of 172 windows. The aim of the restoration was to ensure its revival as an important historic Grade A Listed building.  The restoration included the castle, the formal gardens and the mature woodlands at this Scottish baronial castle and estate.

    Aldourie Castle was bought by Roger Tempest in 2004 and the restoration work began in 2007.  The interiors, which were allowed to develop as the project progressed, are ornamented with recently-acquired Old Master and British paintings, a specially-commissioned chandelier from Murano in Italy and curtains of Rubelli Silk.
    The HHA/Sotheby’s Restoration Award was launched in 2008.  Projects are judged on the way they respect the historic quality of the building and must have been completed within the last two years.  They must be must also be readily accessible to the public for at least 25 days a year or to groups by appointment.

    The Red Drawing Room before restoration. (Click to enlarge)

    The Red Drawing Room after restoration. (Click to enlarge).

    Lady Gray Bedroom before restoration.

    Lady Gray Bedroom after restoration.


    Thursday, July 21st, 2011

    The artist Lucian Freud has died in London aged 88.  He had been one of the most highly regarded living artists in the world, known particularly for his uncompromising paintings of nudes.  His work is much sought after by collectors and museums.

    A grandson of psycho-analyst Sigmund Freud, he was born in Berlin in 1922 and fled to Britain with his jewish family in 1933. He became a British citizen in 1939.

    This photo of Lucian Freud and Brendan Behan in Dublin in 1952 made 850 euro at Sheppards in Durrow in May. (click to enlarge)

    In a statement his New York-based art dealer and close friend William Acquavella said the realist painter died on Wednesday following a brief illness, but gave no further details.

    The painting above, Woman Smiling, 1958-59, is the only single portrait by Freud of Suzy Boyt who was to mother five of the artist’s children. It was sold by Christie’s in London in June for £4,745,250.  Christie’s described it as the most significant work by Freud to be offered at auction since Benefits Supervisor Sleeping sold at Christie’s New York in May 2008 for $33.6 million – a world record price for a work by a living artist.  It was bought by Roman Abramovich.

    As a result of Mr. Freud’s death the new most expensive work by a living artist is  Flag by Jasper Johns.  Part of the Michael Crichton collection it sold on May 11, 2010 at Christie’s New York for US$28,642,500.


    Thursday, July 21st, 2011
    Christie’s International today announced worldwide sales for the first half of 2011 of £2.0 billion ($3.2 billion), up 15% by £ on last year’s figure of £1.7 billion. In Continental Europe and the UK, auction sales totalled £803.4 million ($1.3 billion), up 24% in £ on the first half of 2010; sales in the Americas totalled £577.7 million ($941.6 million), down 13% in £; sales in Asia totalled £296 million ($482.5 million), up 48% in £ and sales in the Middle East totalled £6.6 million ($10.8 million), up 10%.
    Global auction sales increased by ten per cent, private sales are up by 57% on the first half of 2010, 19% of clients bid on-line via Christie’s Live and new clients rose by 14 per cent. Record results in Hong Kong reaffirm it as a growing global art hub and Asia as the fastest growing art market in the world. The strength of the European art market was also firmly illustrated.  Christie’s New York saw fewer collections come to the market after the blockbuster year last year but a continuing renewed confidence in the market for fine art, antiques, jewellery and watches and wine driven by increasing participation from private and trade collectors.
    Christie’s report that collectors at the highest levels are increasingly participating in the market across multiple categories. These include the “Medici” collector – or client who pursues the very best works of art across multiple categories, evoking the prosperity and taste of the Renaissance Medici dynasty.


    Thursday, July 21st, 2011

    SAWANSUKHA JEWELLERS ZAMBIAN EMERALD NECKLACE. (Click on image to enlarge). Copyright Sotheby's.

    A collection of bespoke Zambian emerald jewellery is to be auctioned to protect the Asian elephant.  Sotheby’s will conduct the sale on October 14, 2011 at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai.  Sponsors are the World Land Trust and ethical coloured gemstones mining company, Gemfields, together with Jaguar Land Rover and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA India).  Gemfields has picked ten leading jewellers from around India to create a one-of-a-kind piece or set of jewellery, incorporating Zambian emeralds.  The jewellers are Abaran Jewellers (Bangalore), Anmol Jewellers (Mumbai), Gem Palace (Jaipur), Khanna Jewellers (New Delhi), Meena Jewellers(Hyderabad), Narayan Jewellers (Baroda), Nirav Modi (Mumbai), Sawansukha Jewellers (Kolkata), Talwarsons Jewellers (Chandigarh) and Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers (Chennai).

    The aim of the charity auction is to create awareness and raise crucial funds for the conservation initiatives of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) for the Asian Elephant in India. Auctioneer Lord Poltimore, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said: “Sotheby’s is delighted to be supporting ‘Emeralds for Elephants’ charity auction in Mumbai this coming October, which will generate much-needed funds for the protection of the Asian Elephant. The combination of jewellers and gemstones has resulted in some truly magnificent jewellery pieces of outstanding workmanship, inspired by the very cause they will be sold to benefit. We very much look forward to playing a modest role in raising funds for this worthy cause.”
    The sale follows the success of ‘Emeralds for Elephants’ in London in the summer of 2010.