Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Thursday, April 11th, 2013

    Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) Dustheads ($25-35 million). Courtesty, Christie’s Images Ltd., 2013. (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: IT MADE $48,843,750

    Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) – Number 19, 1948. Oil and enamel on paper laid down on canvas ($25-35 million). © 2013 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. (Click on image to enlarge).  UPDATE: IT MADE $58,363,750

    THE record for a work by Jean Michel Basquiat is likely to be broken with Dustheads at Christie’s evening auction of Post War and Contemporary art in New York on May 15.  Dustheads, estimated at $25-35 million, was executed in 1982 when Basquiat was at the height of his creative development and fame.  Set against a backdrop of intense, inky blackness the brightly coloured figures represent the ultimate tour de force of expressive line, colour and form that embodies his work. Combining raw, unabashed emotion with unrivalled draughtsmanship it is the epitome of Basquiat’s signature style. Christie’s say it is likely to break the $26.6 million record they set for a 1981 work, Untitled, last November.

    The sale features the most important work by Jackson Pollock to appear at auction in two decades. No. 19, 1948 is estimated at $25-35 million and is one of the drip paintings that Pollock made in a legendary three year creative burst from 1947 to 1950.  These works re-shaped the history of 20th century art.


    Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

    The portrait miniature of Keats. (Click on image to enlarge).

    A miniature portrait of the poet John Keats will be sold at Bonhams in Knightsbridge on May 30.  Bonhams believe it to be unique.  The portrait, discovered in the United States, was known as it was reproduced in an ‘Autobiography of John Keats: Compiled from His Letters and Essays’ by Earle Vonard Weller (Stanford University Press, 1933).

    Jennifer Tonkin, Head of Miniature Portraits, comments: “We believe this miniature to be a unique image of Keats, one of our greatest poets. The majority of contemporary portraits of Keats derive from the miniature painted by his friend, Joseph Severn, in which he is seated with his left hand to his face but this image differs from this and all other extant portraits of the poet in that it portrays him standing against a sky background. Given his untimely death at the age of twenty-five, this image has the power to move anyone who has ever admired Keats’ work.”
    Catalogued by Bonhams as ‘Circle of Charles Hayter (British, 1761-1835)’ it shows him wearing a black double-breasted coat and waistcoat, white frilled chemise, stock and tie. The miniature is housed within a gold frame, the reverse glazed to reveal sprays of dark blonde hair decorated with split seed pearls and gilt-wire, set on opalescent glass. The lower rim is also engraved, ‘John Keats 1795-1821’. Most portraits of Keats are posthumous and based on the miniature by Joseph Severn.  This one is estimated at £10,000-15,000.


    Monday, April 8th, 2013

    A pair of natural pearl and diamond pendants. ($600,000-1,000,000).

    Screen legend Gina Lollobrigida’s jewels will be sold at Sotheby’s in Geneva on May 14.  The auction will feature important Bulgari jewels from the 1950s and 1960s, worn by Miss Lollobrigida at landmark moments in her career and which were highlights of the international touring exhibition, Bulgari – 125 Years of Italian Magnificence in 2009-2012. Part of the proceeds from the sale of 22 Bulgari Masterpieces will benefit stem cell research.  Highlights include a pair of natural pearl and diamond pendant earrings made in 1964 ($600,000-1 million) and a 1954 dimaond necklace/bracelet combination ($300,000-500,000).

    Commenting on the sale, Gina Lollobrigida said: “I have been lucky enough to be given many roles in life – as an actor, a mother, a photojournalist, an Ambassador for FAO, and as an artist. I began collecting jewels from Bulgari in the 1950s and 1960s, drawn by the wonderful craftsmanship and distinctive style of these pieces. They accompanied me on many journeys – both professional and personal – and are redolent of those times and the extraordinary people I met along the way. These days I am focussing my time on my career as a sculptor. After more than 65 years I have come full circle, returning to the skills I first learned at the Fine Arts Academy in Rome. A sculptor has little need for jewels, and so, I have decided the time is right to share them with other collectors. In so doing, I can also help a cause very close to my heart, that of stem cell research – treatment, which I believe should be freely available to every child. It is my wish that part of the proceeds from the sale will contribute to help fund an international hospital for stem cell research.”

    Born in 1927 in Subiaco, Italy she became one of the best-known and most popular screen stars in the world, with a film career spanning Italy and France and Hollywood in the 1950’s and ’60’s. In 1953 she made her first American film – Beat the Devil, directed by John Huston and starring opposite Humphrey Bogart and Jennifer Jones. Many other leading roles followed, in movies including Trapeze, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Solomon and Sheba and Never so Few. Lollobrigida played opposite major stars of the day including Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Antony Quinn, Yul Brynner and Frank Sinatra. In 1961 she was awarded a Golden Globe (as World Film Favourite – Female) for her role in the romantic comedy Come September with Rock Hudson.

    A diamond necklace/bracelet combination, Bulgari, 1954 ($300,000-500,000.)

    A pair of emerald and diamond earclips, Bulgari, 1964. Each earclip suspends a detachable pendant set to the centre with a pear-shaped emerald ($150,000-250,000).

    An emerald and diamond ring, weighing 16.62 carats, estimated at $120,000-180,000, as worn by Miss Lollobrigida on a daily basis.



    Monday, April 8th, 2013

    THE auction of the Benson Collection of Early Spoons at Christie’s in London on June 4 offers collectors a chance to acquire rare historical spoons with an impeccable pedigree.  Previously exhibited at a stand alone display at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford this is the greatest array of early spoons to be offered at auction for many decades.

    Leading the sale is the Benson Wodewose spoon – one of only four Henry VI spoons known to survive with a wodewose, or wild man, depicted on the finial.  The wodewose was a wild, satyr like mythical figure that appeared from the 12th cnetury in artwork and literature.  The spoon is estimated at £40,000-60,000.  The spoons were collected over many years by dealer and advisor Mrs. G.E.P. How (née Benson) and estimates range from £700 to £250,000.  The sale is expected to bring in more than £500,000. (Click on any image to enlarge it).

    Benson Wodewose spoon Henry VI. One of only four known to survive (£40,000- £60,000). Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2013.

    Wodewose spoon, detail. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2013.

    Diamond-Point spoon. Edward III, circa 1350. Struck with one of the earliest known representations of the leopard’s head, the first English hallmark. (£30,000-50,000). Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2013.

    Acorn-Knop spoon circa 12th/13th century. Believed to be the only spoon of this type (£8,000 – £12,000). Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2013.


    Sunday, April 7th, 2013

    One of Ireland’s largest national group shows, the 135th annual exhibition of the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club, is at the Concourse Gallery, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Hall for two weeks from April 8. There is a European theme this year to mark Ireland as the current holder of the EU Presidency.  The show runs until Sunday, April 21 and features work from more than 80 artists.  Here is a small selection (click on any image to enlarge it):

    Michael Gemmell – Aran Island.

    David Long – Loch Voil (2)

    Tomas King – Over the Hills and Far Away

    Pat O’Breartuin – Bowl of Fruit

    Walter Bernardini – Alhambra Palace 1

    Patrick Cahill – Girl Among the Pigeons San Marco.

    Peter Dee – Still Life with Blue Vase.


    Saturday, April 6th, 2013

    Antique furniture at Hegarty’s auction in Bandon, County Cork on Sunday, April 7 includes an Irish Regency rosewood and brass inlaid foldover card table among a number of enticing lots. The catalogue is on-line.  Here is a small selection:

    An Irish Regency rosewood and brass inlaid foldover card table is estimated at 3,000-5,000.  UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,600

    A rosewood and brass inlaid writing desk surmounted by a two door cabinet is estimated at 2,500-5,000. UPDATE: THIS WAS WITHDRAWN DUE TO A MISSING KEY AND WILL BE RE-ENTERED IN A FUTURE SALE.

    A rosewood and inlaid davenport c1890 is estimated at 1,000-1,500. UPDATE: THIS MADE 925

    This c1860 breakfront bookcase is estimated at 2,000-4,000. UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,700


    Friday, April 5th, 2013

    A time capsule collection of art treasures assembled in the 1950’s is estimated to bring in more than $65 million at Sotheby’s in New York next month.  Seminal works by Paul Cezanne and Amadeo Modigliani are included in the collection of Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt.  The sale of 200 works will benefit a charitable foundation to be established in their name.  They will be offered in a series of Impressionist and Modern Art sales.

    Simon Shaw, head of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art department in New York, commented:  “The Lewyts’ connoisseurship is reflected in the exquisite quality of works from a roll call of key Impressionist and Modern artists – from Renoir, Degas and Pissarro through Picasso, Braque and Matisse.”

    Paul Cézanne – Les Pommes Painted in 1889-90.($25-35 million). Click on image to enlarge).  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $41,605,000.

    L’Amazone – Painted in 1909. Signed Modigliani ($20-30 million). (Click on image to enlarge).  UPDATE: THIS MADE $25,925,000.

    Auguste Renoir Petite baigneuse ($150,000-250,000). Click on image to enlarge.


    Thursday, April 4th, 2013

    Irene (on left) and Cynthia Curzon wearing jewels to be sold at Bonhams. (Click on image to enlarge).

    The photographs of Cynthia and Irene Curzon, elder daughters of Indian Viceroy and later British Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon (1859-1925), show them wearing pearls, rubies and diamonds to be sold at Bonhams in London on April 24.

    Their wealth and social position put them at the centre of the British political scene.  Guests at the 1920 wedding of Cynthia (1896-1933) to Oswald Mosley included King George V and Queen Mary, Leopold III and the King and Queen of the Belgians. In 1924 the Mosleys joined the Labour Party and she campaigned with her husband (Mosley had earlier fallen out with the Conservative Party over their use of the Black and Tans in Ireland).  Her costly dress was often remarked upon during these political campaigns and their lavish lifestyle often attracted negative comment.  After their third child was born in 1932 Cynthia was shattered to discover her husbands affair with Diana Guinness, one of the Mitford sisters.  She died in 1933 of peritonitis after undergoing appendix surgery.  Mosley later married Diana Mitford. Irene Curzon became surrogate mother to the children and when Mosley (now leader of the British Union of  Fascists) was interned along with Diana in 1940 she became their official guardian.

    The photograph of Cynthia Mosley shows her wearing a double row of pearls, some of which are believed to form the necklace (£60,000 – 80,000 ) to be offered. Irene Curzon wears the ruby and diamond brooch (£25,000 – 30,000) in her hat. UPDATE:  The necklace sold for £193,249, a ruby and diamond choer/bracelet, brooch/pendant, earring and ring suite by Van Cleef and Arpels made £115,249.


    Thursday, April 4th, 2013

    SIR EDWARD COLEY BURNE-JONES, BT., A.R.A., R.W.S. (1833–1898) Love among the Ruins (1870– 1873). (Click on image to enlarge).  UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR A RECORD £14.8 MILLION.

    A long unseen Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece by Edward Burne-Jones comes up at Christie’s sale of Victorian and British Impressionist art in London on July 11.  Love Among the Ruins, a meditation on the eternal nature of love, features Burne-Jones’ mistress Maria Zambaco. Christie’s say the five foot watercolour is the most important work by the artist to come to auction since Laus Veneris was sold to the Laing Art Galery in Newcastle in 1971.

    Not seen in public for 50 years the work has been celebrated since it was first exhibited at the Dudley Gallery in London in 1873. Love Among the Ruins established the interational reputation of Burne-Jones when it was shown at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1878. It was exhibited at the exhibition which inaugurated the Birmingham Art Gallery in 1885-86,  the Royal Jubilee Exhibition at Manchester in 1887, an annual loan exhibition at the Guildhall, London, in 1892, and in the Burne-Jones’s retrospective exhibition at the New Gallery, London later that year.  The title comes from a poem by Robert Browning. It was damaged in a way the artist considered beyond repair in 1893 while it was being prepared to make a photogravure. He kept it in his studio and repaired it five years later by redrawing the face of Maria Zambaco. Five weeks later he died. Last bought in 1958 for 480 guineas (£500) it is now estimated at £3-5 million.


    Thursday, April 4th, 2013

    Fernand Léger Trois femmes à la table rouge ($5-7 million). (Click on image to enlarge).  UPDATE: THIS MADE $7.2 MILLION.

    A Léger from the collection of Madonna, who has a passion for art, is to be auctioned for charity.  Proceeds from the sale of Fernand Léger’s Trois femmes à la table rouge estimated at $5-7 million will benefit the Ray of Light Foundation to support girls’ education projects in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries.  The painting will feature at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern evening art sale in New York on May 7.

    Madonna acquired the work at Sotheby’s in New York in 1990 and it has been in her collection since. “I have chosen to auction this painting called “Three Women” by Fernand Léger and donate all the proceeds to support girls’ educational projects in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries where female education is rare or nonexistent” she is quoted as saying. “I cannot accept a world where women or girls are wounded, shot or killed for either going to school or teaching in girls’ schools. We don’t have time to be complacent. I want to trade something valuable for something invaluable – Educating Girls! Knowledge is power. Let’s change the world!”.