Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • Archive for March, 2013


    Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

    The diary entry recording Dyer’s death. (Click on image to enlarge).  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 7,000

    The Crockford’s 1971 diary.

    Francis Bacon’s diary from 1971, recording the death of his lover George Dyer, comes up at auction in Co. Meath on March 24.  It is among the lots at an auction of 450 lots by Matthews of Oldcastle at Headort House, Kells. Dyer, with whom Bacon had a stormy relationship, committed suicide in Paris just before Bacon’s retrospective at the Grand Palais.  Bacon continued to paint portraits of Dyer after his death.  The diary is estimated at 2,500-3,500.


    Friday, March 22nd, 2013

    The Howitzer in Action by Sir William Orpen sold for £98,500 at Sotheby’s.

    A pencil and watercolour war work by Sir William Orpen sold for £98,500 over an estimate of £12,000-18,000 at Sotheby’s in London.  Completed in 1917 The Howitzer in Action was from the collection of renewed arbiter of taste and London club owner Mark Birley (1930-2007).

    The contents of Mr. Birley’s London home, Thurloe Lodge in Kensington, doubled pre-sale expectations to sell for a combined total of £3,854,619 over an estimate of £1.2 million to £1.8 million.  Over 850 people registered to bid and there was fierce competition both in the room and on the phone. More than over 85% of the 496 lots sold exceeded their high estimates and only five lots were unsold.


    Thursday, March 21st, 2013

    Edvard Munch (1863–1944), Young Woman on the Beach, sold for £2,133,875 at Christie’s in London.

    There was a new world record for a print by Edvard Munch today.  Young woman on the beach from 1891-92 sold for £2,133,875 at Christie’s.  It was bought by Galleri K of Oslo for a European private collector.

    Tim Schmelcher, Head of the Prints department, London and Murray Macaulay, Head of Prints Sale LondonThis result confirms an entirely new level of value for the most important and sought-after prints, joining the ranks of the four most expensive printed works at auction – all sold at Christie’s within the last two years. We are also thrilled that Edvard Munch’s ‘Young Woman on the Beach’ will be included in a major exhibition of the artist’s printed oeuvre, opening at the Kunsthaus Zurich in October this year. Furthermore, the sale saw strong demand throughout with many private collectors from around the world competing fiercely for works by Matisse, Miró, Chagall, Picasso and Morandi, amongst others.  Prints by the Masters of Pop, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, continued to perform well.”

    Today’s sale realized £5,631,700.


    Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

    A total of 146 lots of Irish art will come under the hammer at Dolan’s sale in Limerick on March 24.  The venue for the auction is Castletroy Park Hotel.  The catalogue is on-line. Here is a small selection (you can click on any image to enlarge it):

    Alan Kenny – Emerging Flowers (600-800).  UPDATE: THIS MADE 500

    Olive Bödeker – Receding Tide (380-480).  UPDATE: THIS MADE 450

    Kenneth Webb RWA FRSA RUA – Autumn Fields (2,200-2,800).  UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,850

    Paul Christopher Flynn – White Bowl – (500-600).  UPDATE: THIS MADE 600

    Douglas Hutton – The Horse Fair Dealing (450-650).  UPDATE: THIS MADE 420

    Val Byrne – The Puck Goat – watercolour (250-350).  UPDATE: THIS MADE 320


    Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

    Antique rings and necklaces with sapphires, rubies and emeralds will feature in the sale at O’Reilly’s of Francis St., Dublin on March 27. The catalogue is on-line. Here is a small selection (you can click on any image to enlarge it).




    N ANTIQUE DIAMOND STAR BROOCH (2,600 – 2,800).


    Sunday, March 17th, 2013

    Derek Gardner (1914-2007) Thurot’s Last Flight

    THE fascinating tale of a French pirate with Irish connections feted in England is recalled at Bonhams marine sale on April 24. Shortly after laying siege to Carrickfergus Francois Thurot was defeated by British Forces at the Mull of Galloway in 1760.  A painting by Derek Gardner depicting the battle is estimated at £20,000-30,000.  It shows the moment when Thurot’s ship, the Maréchal de Belle-Isle, was taken by Captain John Elliot’s H.M.S Æolus.  The battle ended four years of havoc wreaked by Thurot on the British Navy. Earlier that month Thurot and 600 men attacked Carrickfergus in Co. Antrim. After months at sea, the French fleet was depleted and was reported to be surviving on raw potatoes.  The Duke of Bedford, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, got word that Thurot was in Carrickfergus and hastily assembled the fleet which led to the final battle. Of the prisoners taken on Thurots ships 220 were brought to Carlisle, 500 to Carrickfergus, 90 to Cobh and 84 to Dublin.  The captured prizes were brought by Elliot to Kinsale.  Modern sources tend to agree that Thurot was the son of a postmaster at Nuirs-St-Georges, though there is a claim that one of his grandfathers was an O’Farrell from Ireland who had served in the Irish Brigade of the French Army.  Thurot was a popular figure and his death resulted in an outpouring of grief in Galloway, Dumfries and along the Irish coast. Ballads, biographies, paintings and engravings were produced commemorating his life, and he became a martyred ‘folk hero’.  Thurot’s defeat was a pivotal moment during the Seven Years’ War  and contributed to Britain’s ultimate defeat of the French army. It is seen as vital in securing the supremacy of British forces and resulted in the capture of key regions in North America including Canada and the eastern section of French Louisiana.


    Sunday, March 17th, 2013

    A limited edition silver chess set by Man Ray is a highlight at Christie’s sale of chess sets from a European Collection at the Style and Spirit auction on March 26 in London. The 58 chess sets featured celebrate the skill of 18th to 21st century carvers and craftsmen from around the globe. Materials used include ivory, bone, wood, amber and silver. Estimates range from £300 to £25,000. London is currently the venue for the World Chess Candidates Tournament which runs to April 2.
    The most valuable set at Christie’s is Anglo-Indian. In ivory it was carved at Berhampur near Calcutta in the first half of the 19th century. It is estimated at £15,000-25,000.

    An Anglo-Indian ivory chess set, Berhampur, India, first half 19th century (£15,000-25,000). (Click on image to enlarge).  UPDATE: THIS MADE £28,750.

    A selection from a limited edition chess set by Man Ray. (£10,000-15,000). CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2013. (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: THIS MADE £32,500


    Friday, March 15th, 2013

    Still-life with orchids, oil on canvas by Sir Winston Churchill, KG, OM, FRS, Hon. RA at MacConnal Mason gallery stand at  TEFAF.

    THE  US is once again the world’s biggest art market. The Chinese are no longer the biggest buyers of art according to a report prepared for The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), now underway in Maastricht by cultural economist Dr. Clare McAndrew.  She reports that the global market for art and antiques contracted by 7% to 43 billion euro in 2012. A key factor in this decline is the slowdown in China.

    Art buyers are opting for the top end of the market and Post War and Contemporary Art is performing strongly.  The top three art buying countries are the US (33%), China (25%) and the UK (23%).  The respective values for the three countries are 14.2 billion, 10.6 billion and 10.1 billion respectively.

    Post-War and Contemporary Art was the largest fine art sector with a 43% share by value. Auction sales by were up 5% to almost 4.5 billion, the highest ever recorded level. The Modern sector was second overall with a 30% share .  Auction sales dropped 17% to 3.2 billion in 2012 from a peak of  3.8 billion in 2011. The volume of transactions in the global art market was down by down by just under 4% in 2012, and down by nearly 30% on 2007.  TEFAF opened today and continues until March 24.


    Thursday, March 14th, 2013

    THE original 1954 acetate disc recorded by Elvis Presley. (Click on image to enlarge).  UPDATE: IT MADE 64,000.

    THE original 1954 acetate recording of Elvis Presley’s ‘That’s All Right (Mama)’ – the song that started the King on the road to fame – comes up at Whyte’s Rock and Pop Memorabilia auction in Dublin on March 24. It is estimated at 50,000-70,000. The story behind the song is history. In 1954 a young and unknown Presley walked into the offices of Sun Records and the Memphis Recording Service in Tennessee owned by Sam Phillips. He sang a fast version of ‘That’s All Right (Mama)’ by Arthur Crudup. It was recorded by Philips on an acetate record and sent to a local radio station disc jockey who agreed to play it. Elvis hit the airwaves for the first time. The station was inundated with phone calls and reportedly had to play it over 14 times during the show. The rest is music history. The acetate is lot 62 at Whyte’s.
    The sale includes a watch gifted by Elvis to his manager Colonel Parker (lot 88, estimate €8,000-€10,000), one of Presley’s famous “Taking Care of Business” pendants gifted only to those in his close circle (lot 85, estimate €5,000-€7,000) and a customised Mathey-Tissot watch which Elvis gifted to family and friends.


    Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

    A pear-shaped, D colour, Type IIA, Flawless, diamond of 101.73 carats. Christie’s Images Ltd., 2013. (Click on image to enlarge).  UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR $26.7 MILLION US DOLLARS.

    ONE of the world’s most perfect diamonds will be sold by Christie’s in Geneva on May 15. The 101.73 carat stone is offered for sale for the  first time. The rough diamond of 236 carats was found at the Jwaneng Mine in Botswana and took 21 months to polish. It is one of the largest pear shaped diamonds known to date and is one of the world’s most perfect diamonds. It is a D colour, Type IIA Flawless gem.  Christie’s say the estimate for the stone is on request. Outside estimates suggest it could make up to $20 million.
    Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewellery, Christie’s Switzerland and Americas said: “This diamond is in its scale, quality, and rarity one of the most beautiful ‘white’ diamonds Christie’s has ever had the honour of offering for sale.’
    Out of a total annual worldwide diamond production in excess of 100 million carats, the Gemological Institute of America estimates there are no more than 600 diamond crystals that finish as polished stones between one and two carats and that are D color, flawless clarity. Above ten carats this figure decreases dramatically, at 101.73 carats it is not only an exceptional rarity but a grand event in the world of gems and jewellery.
    The successful buyer of this 101.73 carat superb gemstone will have the privilege of establishing his or her own legacy by endowing this extraordinary diamond with a name.

    UPDATE: The diamond made $26.7 million US dollars in a sale which saw 20 lots make more than $1 million with buyers from 31 countries across five continents. The diamond was named the Winston Legacy after the new owner.

    Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewellery, Christie’s Switzerland and Americas, declared: “Harry Winston acquired the most perfect diamond ever offered for sale at auction, ‘Winston Legacy’, continuing the tradition of buying and selling only the very best, a trait of the founder Mr. Winston himself. World record prices were set for diamonds, pearls and sapphires, thereby firmly establishing the international appetite for the most beautiful gems and jewels in a record-breaking $102 million auction at Christie’s Geneva”.