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


    Friday, October 14th, 2011

    Jussi Pylkkanen selling the record-breaking 'Kerze' by Richter in London tonight. (Click on image to enlarge).

    THERE was a new world record for Gerhard Richter at Christie’s in London on October 14. His Kerze (Candle), painted in 1982, was sold for £10,457,250 after a fierce bidding battle. This was the top price at this evenings auctions of Post-War & Contemporary Art and the Italian Sale.  There were nine artists records.  A life size maquette of Antony Gormley’s iconic Angel of the North (1996) sold for £3,401,250 a world record for the artist at auction. The evening saw record prices for Ahmad Alsoudani, Joe Bradley, Karen Kilimnik, Albert Oehlen, Domenico Gnoli and Arnaldo Pomodoro. Untitled by Martin Kippenberger (1990) sold for £1,329,250 a world record price for a sculpture by the artist at auction.

    The combined total for the sales was  £55,630,000.  Ten lots sold for over £1 million and 20 lots sold for over $1 million. The corresponding sales last year realised £38.2 million. The buyer breakdown was 49% Europe including the UK, 38% Americas and 13% Asia.

    See video post on for October 13.


    Friday, October 14th, 2011

    SHE was a surprise hit in Ireland in 2011. Now a touring exhibition which celebrates the Queen’s forthcoming Diamond Jubilee – The Queen: Art and Image – has arrived at the Ulster Museum.  Enthusiastically reviewed by distinguished critics the show includes work by Andy Warhol, Lucian Freud, Cecil Beaton, Annie Leibovitz and Pietro Annigoni.

    Kim Mawhinney, Head of Art, National Museums Northern Ireland, said: “This exhibition shows how the art of portraiture has changed  dramatically from the 1950s to the present day through various media. It features formal painted portraits, official photographs, media pictures, and powerful responses by contemporary artists. Early works in the exhibition including the photography can be interpreted as quite reverential whereas some of the modern portraits can be seen as controversial or even subversive”.

    The Queen: Art and Image offers a significant selection of unofficial portraits by major 20th century artists including those of Gilbert and George and Gerhard Richter as well as less formal portraits by photographers such as Eve Arnold, Patrick Lichfield and Lord Snowdon. It demonstrates too how artists and photographers have succeeded or failed in their attempts to portray Queen Elizabeth. Organised by the National Portrait Gallery in London in collaboration with National Galleries of Scotland, Ulster Museum, and the National Museum of Wales the show, which has been Edinburgh during the summer, is at the Ulster Museum from October 14 to January 15, 2012. It will be at the National Museum in Cardiff from February 4 – April 29, 2012 and at the National Portrait Gallery in London from May 17 to October 21, 2012. (Click on any image to enlarge it).

    Coronation Cross Gilbert & George, 1981 Tate: Purchased 1982

    Queen Elizabeth II Dorothy Wilding, 1952 © William Hustler and Georgina Hustler/ National Portrait Gallery, London.

    Elizabeth and Philip Potent Gilbert & George, 1981 © Gilbert & George.




    Friday, October 14th, 2011

    THE auction at O’Reilly’s, Francis St., Dublin on October 19  features gold and diamond jewellery, Victorian jewellery including Albert chains  and curb link bracelets, Ard Deco pieces, watches by Rolex, Cartier and Tag Heuer, gold sovereigns, antique silverware and paintings. The catalogue is on-line.
    Here is a small selection (you can click on any image to enlarge it):

    A diamond and pick sapphire cluster ring (650-750) UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 820

    A diamond and aquamarine cluster ring (1,800 - 2,200) UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    A diamond solitaire (9,000 - 12,000) UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD.

    A diamond dress ring (7,500 - 8,500) UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 7,500

    Two silver bars (600 - 800) UPDATE: THESE MADE 700

    A George III Irish silver helmet shaped sauce boat by Mathew West, Dublin 1791 (600 - 800) UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 600.


    Thursday, October 13th, 2011

    Boy's Head by Lucian Freud made £3,177,250. (Click on image to enlarge).

    Lucian Freud’s (1922-2011) 1952 portrait Boy’s Head made  £3,177,250 at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening sale on October 13.  It was bought by an anonymous telephone bidder.  The sitter, Charlie Lumley, was a neighbour of Freud’s when he moved to Paddington in 1952.  The portrait transmits a remarkable psychological intensity.  The estimate was £3-4 million.

    The evening sales of Contemporary Art and 20th Century Italian Art brought a combined total of £39,456,950 against the pre-sale estimate of £34,982,000-48,338,000.  A total of six artist records were established for Alberto Burri, Leon Kossoff, Wim Delvoye, Francesco Lo Savio, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Giuseppe Penone.

    Contemporary art realised £17,809,000 with 36 of the 47 lots offered sold.  The 20th Century Italian art sale achieved the highest-ever total for a sale in this category, at £21,647,950.

    See post on for September 12, 2011.


    Thursday, October 13th, 2011

    A Gerhard Richter  painting leads Christie’s two days of Post-War and Contemporary Art auctions in London on October 14 and 15 to coincide with Frieze Art Fair   There is an outstanding example of his seminal series of ‘Kerze’ or Candles painted in 1982-83 which is estimated to realise £6,000,000-9,000,000. This completely timeless image became a sign of the unification of east and west Germany.  More than 300 lots expected to realize a combined total in the region of £50 million.  There is work by Piero Manzoni Damien Hirst, Richard Prince, Alighiero Boetti and Lucio Fontana and contemporary British sculptures by Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst and Ron Mueck.



    Thursday, October 13th, 2011

    HERE are four works by Gerhard Richter an artist to love who seems to be cropping up everywhere right now.  A major retrospective, Panorama, is at Tate Modern in London until January 8 to coincide  with his 80th birthday.

    The images here are from Abstraction-Figuration: A Private Collection at Sotheby’s in New York on on November 9. It features one of the most important groups of works by the German artist ever to appear at auction.  The sale will also include works from the collection by Francis Bacon, Sigmar Polke, and Lee Krasner. The Impressionist and Modern art auction on November 2 will feature a group of eight paintings by Max Ernst including The Endless Night from 1940, an acute meditation on Europe in the early years of World War II ($2.8/4 million). Overall the collection is estimated to bring $40/56  million with works to be offered in five different sales.

    (All images are copyright Sotheby’s and you can click on any of them to enlarge).

    UPDATE:  THE sale  brought an outstanding total of $315,837,000, well above the $192/270.8 million pre-sale estimate and nearly 85% sold-by-lot. The total is the highest for a Contemporary Art Evening sale at Sotheby’s since May 2008 and the company’s third highest ever.

    The sale was led by four masterworks by Clyfford Still which sold for a combined total of $114.1 million.

    The other major highlight of the sale was the Abstraction Figuration Collection – a remarkable offering of paintings that thrive in the fertile space between abstraction and figuration by artists such as Gerhard Richter, Lee Krasner and Sigmar Polke.  All the works found buyers and were led by the superb group of Richter abstract paintings which brought a combined total of $74,280,000, over twice the pre-sale high estimate (group est. $27/36.7 million). Furthermore, an auction record for the artist was set when Abstraktes Bild from 1997 sold for $20,802,500 after a contest involving four bidders (est. $9/12 million).


    Gerhard Richter - Abstraktes Bild (849-3) ($9,000,000 – 12,000,000)

    Gerhard Richter - Gudrun ($5,500,000 – 7,500,000)

    Gerhard Richter - Abstraktes Bild (769–2) ($5,500,000 – 7,500,000)

    Gerhard Richter - Rain (676-2) ($700,000-900,000)


    Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

    IRISH lots to feature in the four day sale of the Lily and Edmond J. Safra Collections  at Sotheby’s in New York from October 18-21  include these stellar pieces.  Sotheby’s say  the six dedicated sales represent the pinnacle of their respective collecting categories and offer remarkable opportunities to collectors around the world.

    There is a group of fourteen Irish George II embossed paper and gouache painted pictures of birds c1750 by Samuel Dixon. They are estimated at $60,000-90,000.  The pair of Irish silver mugs illustrated here were probably made by John Stoyte in Dublin in 1807.  The maker’s mark is I pellet S in rectangle.  They are estimated at $9,000-12,000.

    See posts on for September 1, July 29 and July 10.

    One from a group of fourteen Irish George II embossed paper and gouache painted pictures of of birds circa 1750, by Samuel Dixon ($60,000 -90,000). Click on image to enlarge. UPDATE: THIS LOT WAS SOLD FOR $98,500

    A pair of Irish Silver Mugs probably by John Stoyte, Dublin, 1807 ($9,000 - 12,000). Click on image to enlarge. UPDATE: THE PAIR MADE $11,250




    Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

    This Ming dragon dish made 310,000 at Adams at Slane. (Click on image to enlarge).

    A Chinese blue and white Ming dragon dish made 310,000 at the Adams Country House Collections auction at Slane Castle on October 11.  It was bought on the telephone by a dealer in London.  It had been estimated at 2,000-3,000.

    Over the last few days the dish had attracted interest from buyers in London, Beijing and Hong Kong.  The Ming dish, stamped with the mark of the Emperor Xuande who reigned from 1425 to 1435, is painted with images of a five clawed dragon.

    The ten inch diameter dish had been brought to Ireland in 1905 by a member of a Derry family who served with the British Army in China during the Colonial era. In 1985 it was valued for probate purposes at around £1,000.

    Around 70 per cent of lots on offer found buyers at an auction which brought in 960,000 at hammer.


    Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

    Irish silver exhibited at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston in 1963 is to come under the hammer at Bonhams in London on November 23.  It is being sold to benefit Milton Academy, the school in Massachusetts attended by Senators Robert and Edward Kennedy, the  Anglo American poet T.S. Eliot and the singer–songwriter James Taylor.

    The silver  was shown as part of the Eire Society of Silver display in Boston. Among the most important items are a George II mug, by Mark Fallon of Galway (£12,000-15,000); a set of four George II candlesticks from 1750 by Robert Calderwood, previously in the collection of Earl Fitzwilliam (£6,000-8,000) and  a Queen Anne two handled cup, Limerick 1707 (£4,000-5,000). The sale also includes a gold Freedom Box (£20,000-30,000) presented by the Corporation of Limerick to the Earl of Carrick.

    Milton Academy has been rated by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top 25 schools in the world for preparing students for university and is traditionally seen as a feeder school for Harvard. The Kennedys were students here during the 1940s. The silver was given to the Academy and they have been permitted to sell it to raise funds.

    A set of four George II Irish silver candlesticks £6,000-8,000. (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: THEY MADE £12,500.

    A George II Irish silver mug, by Mark Fallon of Galway £12,000-15,000. (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £15,000.

    A Queen Anne Silver two handled cup by James Robinson of Limerick, circa 1707 - £4,000-5,000. (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: IT MADE £13,125.

    A Gold Freedom box, possibly by Samuel Reynolds £20,000-30,000. (Click on image to enlarge), UPDATE: THIS MADE £25,000.


    Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

    Matisse Nu de dos (1er état) is estimated at $20-30 million. (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: THIS WAS SOLD PRIVATELY BEFORE THE AUCTION.

    A cast of each of four monumental bronze sculptures by Henri Matisse, known collectively as Les Nus de dos (The Backs), is to be offered by Sotheby’s in four consecutive sales of Impressionist and Modern Art in London and New York.  The first comes up in New York on November 2.  Nu de dos (1er état) is estimated at $20-30 million.  Conceived in 1908-09 at the culmination of Matisse’s involvement with the Fauves the sculpture exemplifies the fluidity of line that dominated his paintings from this era.

    Each of the four works was conceived individually over the course of two decades, and together they chart the evolution of Matisse’s artistic development through the early 20th century. The bronzes have been consigned by The Burnett Foundation of Fort Worth  Texas, and proceeds will further support the community of Fort Worth – the Foundation’s primary mission since its inception 30 years ago.  Dos II, Dos III and Dos IV will be offered individually in the next sales of Impressionist & Modern Art at Sotheby’s: London, February 2012; New York, May 2012; and London, June 2012.

    They were consigned by the Burnett Foundation of Fort Worth and proceeds will support the local community.  The Foundation acquired the works in 1982 from Californian collector Norton Simon, who bought them from the artist’s estate in 1966.  They were on show for ten years at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.

    UPDATE:  THE Matisse bronze was sold on November 1 prior to the auction as part of a quartet of Matisse bronzes in a private transaction.  The deal was made by Sotheby’s who did not release any information about the purchaser or disclose the price.