Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

    The historic match ticket to the Bloody Sunday game. (Click on image to enlarge)

    AN historic GAA ticket with a difference sold for 5,400 at auction in Co. Clare on February 14.  The ticket to the infamous Bloody Sunday match at Croke Park in 1920 at which 14 unarmed spectators were shot dead aroused huge interest.  Bidders competed on the internet and the telephone, but it was knocked down to a buyer in the room at The Auction Rooms, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare. The game between Tipperary and Dublin became a turning point in the Anglo-Irish War. In March 2007 another ticket from the game made 7,500 in Dublin.

    Bloody Sunday at Croke Park is such a seminal part of modern Irish history that Queen Elizabeth’s trip to the stadium during her historic first visit to the Irish Republic last May is regarded as an important new act of Anglo-Irish reconciliation.


    Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

    Bacon's portrait of Henrietta Moraes sold for £21,321,250..

    Boat, Connemara by Lucian Freud sold for £657,250.

    FRANCIS BACON’S Portrait of Henrietta Moraes made £21,321,250 at Christie’s Post War and Contemporary Sale in London on February 14.  Regarded as Bacon’s most seductive female portrait it had been estimated at about £18 million. The sitter was a close friend of the artist and the work was painted towards the end of 1963.

    An orange abstract painting by Mark Rothko, estimated at up to £12 million, was withdrawn before the auction.  Lucian Freud’s Boat Connemara sold for £657,250 and Sean Scully’s Wall of Light Stone made £657,250.

    The evening auction of Post-War & Contemporary Art totaled £80,576,100, selling 95% by value and 89% by lot. This is the second highest total for the category at Christie’s London. When combined with Post-War & Contemporary art sale from a private European collection on February 9 and 10 sales in the category this month have realised £96.6 million.

    Christie’s February auctions of Post War and Contemporary art realised  £109,514,400.   This was the highest total for a series of such sales in London.

    See posts for January 20, 2012, January 30, 2012 and video post for February 9, 2012.



    Monday, February 13th, 2012

    Yeats, Henry and O’Malley all feature at Morgan O’Driscoll’s  Irish art sale at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Little Island, Cork on February 20.  The 289 lots on offer feature a broad cross section of Irish art and artists. The catalogue is on-line.  Here is a small selection.  The Yeats and Paul Henry works are featured on an post published on on January 12, 2012.

    Tony O'Malley HRHA (1913-2003) 'Garden Impression, Paradise Island, Bahamas' (40,000 - 50,000). (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: WITHDRAWN AT 34,000.

    Sean Scully (b.1945) 'Barcelona Diptych' limited edition print 7/24 (3,000 - 4,000) UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 2,600

    Letitia Marion Hamilton RHA (1875-1964) 'In Summer' (3,000 -5,000). (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: THIS FAILED TO SELL

    John Noel Smith (b.1952) 'Red/Black Lacerations' (4,000 - 6,000) (Click to enlarge). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 3,800


    Friday, February 10th, 2012

    Personnages et oiseaux devant le soleil, 1946, by Joan Miró (1893-1983) made £5,081,250. (Click on image to enlarge).

    THE changing tastes of collectors was evident at a £30 million evening sale at Christie’s in London on February 9. The auction house charted the emergence of the kind of buyer who mixes and matches from different eras and places. This trend was evident at New York’s Armoury Show last month.  The top lot  at the evening auction Living with Art – A private European Collection on February 9 was a work by Miro which sold for just over £5 million. There was a world record of £3.5 million for a still life by Louis Melendez, whose work was subject of a popular exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland some years ago.

    This Still Life by Luis Meléndez (1716-1780) made £3,513,250. (Click to enlarge).

    “Collectors in today’s art market are no longer constrained to traditional collecting categories and are buying works of art with a focus on aesthetic quality, independent of origin or age. This trend was in great evidence this evening as we saw modern art collectors bidding for tribal art and furniture, and traditional collectors bidding for modern and contemporary pictures”, Orlando Rock, deputy chairman of Christie’s, Europe, said, adding: ‘ It is a great testament to the vision, quality and taste of this private collection that it attracted such competitive and diverse international bidding at this evening’s sale.”

    Impressionist and modern art in this sale brought in £15,775,700. Personnages et oiseaux devant le soleil, 1946, by Joan Miró (1893-1983) made £5,081,250.  Femme au fauteuil, 1949, by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) made £4,745,250 and La table devant le bâtiment, 1919, by Juan Gris (1887-1927) made £2,505,250.

    This 13th century bronze aquamanile in the form of a lion made £690,850. (Click on image to enlarge).

    Post-War and Contemporary Art from the collection realised £8,092,900. The top lot was Katezale (Enchained), 1956, by Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002) which made £1,945,250. Contracorrent (Crosscurrent), 1991, by Miquel Barceló (b. 1957) realised £1,497,250 and Die grosse Fracht (The Heavy Cargo), 2005, by Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945) sold for £505,250. Old Master paintings realised £4,450,500. Oranges, nuts, spices, boxes of sweetmeats, a jug and a cask on a table by Luis Meléndez (1716-1780) made £3,513,250 and The Wedding Dance by Pieter Brueghel II (1564/5-1637/8) realised £937,250 against a pre-sale estimate of £500,000 to £800,000. An exceptional North German 13th century bronze aquamanile (an implement used for washing hands at the table) in the form of a lion made £690,850 and a gilt-copper and polychrome  enamel rectangular reliquary chasse from Limoges, circa 1200, realised £217,250.


    Thursday, February 9th, 2012

    CHRISTIE’S has released videos about specific artworks in the Contemporary art sales in London on February 14.  Here are videos on Francis Bacon, Louise Bourgeois and Mark Rothko, and also featuring works by Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Yves Klein, Jeff Wall, Lucian Freud, Gerhard Richter and Nicolas de Staël:

    UPDATE:  The Bacon sold for £21.3 million and was the top lot, the piece by Louise Bourgeois did not sell and the Rothko was withdrawn. Gerhard Richter”s Abstraktes Bild made £9,897,250 and Agrigente by Nicolas de Staël made £5.3 million. A Piero Manzoni sold for £2.7 million and Lucio Fontana made two million.  Freud’s Boat Connemara made £657,250. A work by Yves Klein sold for £1.7 million.  The work by Jeff Wall sold for £301,250 on February 15. (See posts on for January 20 and January 30, 2012.)


    Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

    Claude Monet's L’Entreé de Giverny en Hiver made a record for a snowscape by the artist.

    Klimt's Lakeshore with Birches failed to get a bid and sold privately immediately after the auction for £5.6million.

    There was an auction record for a Monet snowscape at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern sale in London on February 8. But over ambitious estimates were blamed for the failure of a Klimt and a Dali to sell.

    Instead the top lot at a sale which brought in £78.8 million was for an 1885 snow scene at Giverny by Claude Monet.  “L’Entree de Giverny en hiver” sold for £7.3 million over an estimate of £4.5-5.5 million.

    There was disappointment that Gustav Klimt’s recently rediscovered 1901 “Lakeshore with Birches” failed to attract a single bid.  It was estimated at £6-8 million.  The work was quickly sold afterwards for £5.6 million. Dali’s 1946 “Oasis” had a top estimate of £6 million and failed to sell.

    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Das Boskett, Albertplatz in Dresden made £7,321,250:  George Braque’s L’Oliveraie made £5,081,250 and Fernand Leger’s La Jeune Fille a l’echelle made £3,961,250.  Works by Edouard Vuillard, Henry Moore and Alexej von Jawlensky made £3,401,250, £3,289,250 and £3,065,250 respectively.  Die Elektrische by Otto Dix made £2,953,250, almost three times its estimate.

    A group of 14 Surrealist works achieved a combined total of £16,083,000.  Giorgio de Chirico’s Ettore e Andromaca made £2,841,250 and Yves Tanguy’s Deux fois du noir made £2, 505,250.  The auction was was 76.9% sold by lot and 76% sold by value (41 of 53 lots were sold).  (See post on for January 10, 2012.)

    When Sotheby’s day sale concluded on February 9 with sales of £17.1 million it brought the cumulative total for Sotheby’s February sales of Impressionist & Modern Art to £96,087,750.


    Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

    Vincent Van Gogh’s Vue de l’asile et de la Chappelle de Saint-Rémy, which sold for £10,121,250. Image courtesy Christie's Images Ltd., 2012. (Click on image to enlarge).

    IT was one of the most successful private collection sales ever at auction.  When the auctioneer’s gavel fell on the last lot of the complete Elizabeth Taylor collection at Christie’s in London on February 8 the grand total for the collection amounted to a staggering $183,483,694 dollars or £117,249,761 sterling or  141,036,143 euro. Every one of 1,817 lots of fine art, jewelry, fashion, decorative arts and memorabilia was sold, often high above the estimate.

    In London 38 artworks from the collection were offered on February 7 and 8.  The top lot this week was Vincent Van Gogh’s Vue de l’asile et de la Chappelle de Saint-Rémy, which sold for £10,121,250.  Buyers from more than 40 countries took part.

    Marc Porter, Chairman, Christie’s Americas commented, “It has been an incredible honor for Christie’s to present this storied collection to the global collecting community. From our initial announcement of the collection sales last summer in New York, to the worldwide tour of the collection highlights last fall, to the last rap of the auctioneer’s gavel today in London, the global outpouring of affection and admiration for Elizabeth Taylor from fans and collectors alike has been amazing for us to witness.  We are grateful to the trustees of her estate for entrusting Christie’s with this one-of-a-kind collection, which will go down in history as one of the most successful private collection sales ever presented at auction.”


    Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

    Henry Moore (1898-1986) Reclining Figure: Festival made a world record price of £19,081,250 at Christie's. Image courtesty Christie's Images Ltd., 2012.

    There was a world record price for the English sculpture and artist Henry Moore at Christie’s in London on February 7.  His Reclining Figure, Festival – bronze with dark brown patina – sold for £19,081,250.  Conceived in 1951 and cast in an edition of five plus one artist’s proof it measures 96¼ inches in length. From a private New York collection it had been estimated at £3.5-5.5 million.  It was bought in the room by Cologne  dealer Alex Lachmann.

    Another world record price was established for the Spanish artist Joan Miro when his painting poem was knocked down for £16,841,250.

    A van Gogh previously owned by Elizabeth Taylor – Vue de l’Asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Remy” –  made £10.1 million over an estimate of £5-7 million. When the late actresses art was sold in London this week it brought the final tally for her complete collection including jewellery and couture to £117.2 million. (See post on for January 17, 2012.)

    The Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale and the auction of Art of the Surreal at Christie’s and realised £134,999,400, selling 86% by lot and 93% by value. The pre-sale estimate was £86.2-127.1 million. Buyer’s were from 21 countries in four continents. Three lots sold for over £10 million and 28 lots made over £1 million.

    Giovanna Bertazzoni, International Head of Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie’s said: “These strong results illustrate that the art market continues to attract significant levels of spending, particularly for the rarest and most exceptional works of art. It is an extremely intelligent market where pricing is key – and where collectors react with the greatest determination to the rarest works of art, and particularly to those which are fresh to the market. We are particularly pleased to have established record prices for two great artists of the 20th century: Henry Moore and Joan Miró. In both cases, we offered works of art that were among the greatest produced by the artists, and their quality drew the most determined of bidding”.


    Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

    Picasso, Notre Dame de Paris. (Click on image to enlarge).

    Modigliani, Jeune fille aux cheveux noirs. (Click on image to enlarge).

    Paintings by Picasso, Modigliani, Renoir and Chagall were among the top lots at Bonhams on February 7. A 1954 landscape ‘Notre Dame de Paris’ by Picasso made £864,450.  It shows the influence of earlier experiments with Cubism.  When it was completed the artist was falling in love with a woman who would later become his wife – Jacqueline Roque. His happiness is evident.

    Modigliani’s `Jeune fille aux cheveux noirs’ made £825,250. Renoir’s Femme en rouge lisant, painted in 1895 made £97,250 and La musique au village by Marc Chagall (1887-1995) made £73,250. Bonhams Impressionist & Modern Art auction brought in £2,657,700, drew interest from around the world and was 81 per cent sold by value.


    Monday, February 6th, 2012

    THE buyer’s market in antique household furniture continues to be very evident.  The sale of over 430 lots of Irish art, silver, furniture and jewellery at Adams, Blackrock, Dublin on February 14 illustrates the kind of value to be had right now.  Prices for solidly made furniture which has done service for decades and will continue to do so with minimum care and attention are at an historic low.  Here are a few examples.

    This George IV chest of drawers is estimated at just 150-250. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 200

    A George IV mahogany linen press is estimated at just 300-500. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 540.

    An Edwardian drop leaf breakfast table has an estimate of just 100-200. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 250

    This Victorian boulle centre table with tooled leather top is estimated at just 450-550. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 360.