Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Thursday, March 31st, 2016

    blue diamondThe Oppenheimer Bluethe largest and finest Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ever offered at auction, comes up at Christie’s in Geneva on May 18. Weighing 14.62 carats and named in honor of its previous owner Sir Philip Oppenheimer, it is estimated at US$38-45 million.

    Sir Philip Oppenheimer, who began working at the family business at De Beers in 1934, controlled the Diamond Syndicate in London.  He was head of the Central Selling Organisation for 45 years and served as chairman of the diamond trading company branch.  He oversaw a diamond trade cartel set up by De Beers to keep strict control over diamond supply worldwide.

    Today he is remembered as a master negotiator and the foremost architect of stability in the international diamond industry.  The extreme scarcity of strongly coloured blue diamonds means that records continue to be broken each year. Last November a 12 carat fancy vivid blue diamond sold for $48.5 million at Sotheby’s in Geneva.


    (See post on for November 12, 2015)


    Thursday, March 31st, 2016

    The annual Headfort House antique and fine art sale by Matthews of Oldcastle takes place on Sunday April 3 at 1.30 p.m.  Many lots are estimated at under 500. Headfort House is in Kells, Co. Meath. The catalogue, which lists 843 lots, is online. Here is a small selection:

    William IV library table (1,000-1,500)

    William IV library table (1,000-1,500)

    Rouge marble fire surround (1,000-1,500)

    Rouge marble fire surround (1,000-1,500)

    Pair of Irish Georgian mirrors and sconces (1,000-1,500).

    Pair of Irish Georgian mirrors and sconces (1,000-1,500).


    Edwardian Coalbrookdale garden seat (500-800)

    Edwardian Coalbrookdale garden seat (500-800)


    Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

    Superb jewels from the collection of Princess Gabriela zu Leiningen will be offered by Christie’s in Geneva on May 18.  The 46 lots headed by the 36.09 carat Pohl diamond are expected to realise more than US$15 million.  The Princess hails from a successful German entrepreneurial and philanthropic family. A qualified lawyer, she was married to Prince Karl-Emich zu Leiningen for seven years, and became a consultant for UNESCO in Paris, advising on equality and women’s rights.  In May 1998, Princess Gabriela married His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, 49th Imam of the Ismaili communityinternational entrepreneur, horse-breeder and founder of the Aga Khan Development Network. During their 16-year marriage, the Princess held the title Begum Inaara Aga Khan and received superb and unique jewels from her then husband, a great art connoisseur, furthering her already extensive collection. Several of them are to be presented in the Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction in May.  Here is a selection from the sale:

    UPDATE: The collection made a total of US$22.5 million and was 100% sold.

    The Pohl diamond (US$3.8-5.5 million).

    The Pohl diamond (US$3.8-5.5 million).  UPDATE: THIS MADE $4,415,885

    A five strand natural pearl and diamond necklace ($350,000-500,000).

    A five strand natural pearl and diamond necklace ($350,000-500,000).  UPDATE; this made $435,552

    An emerald and diamond necklace by Cartier ($2.5-3.5 million)

    An emerald and diamond necklace by Cartier ($2.5-3.5 million)  UPDATE: THIS MADE $2,895,074

    A ruby and diamond novelty brooch by Cartier ($10,000-15,000).

    A ruby and diamond novelty brooch by Cartier ($10,000-15,000).  UPDATE: THIS MADE $275,673


    Monday, March 28th, 2016
     Set of Twelve Automatic Wristwatches with Day, Date and Engraved Miniature Mask Dial, Métiers d’Art – Les Masques made in 2007 – 2009 (US$1-1.55 million).

    Set of Twelve Automatic Wristwatches with Day, Date and Engraved Miniature Mask Dial, Métiers d’Art – Les Masques made in 2007 – 2009 (US$1-1.55 million).

    A complete set of 12 Vacheron Constantin wristwatches from the ‘Métiers d’Art – Les Masques’ Collection  comes up at Sotheby’s sale of important watches in Hong Kong on April 6.  Making its debut on auction floor each features an engraved tribal mask from the Barbier Muller Museum in Geneva.  The sale will offer more than 340 lots with a total estimate of US$8.2-12 million.

    Sharon Chan, Head of Watches, Sotheby’s Asia, said: “To stay on top of the competitive global watch market Sotheby’s international team of watch specialists have put together a meticulous selection of timepieces for the Important Watches Hong Kong Sale in April, including vintage Patek Philippe and Rolex watches, spectacular enamelled pieces as well as innovative creations by independent watchmakers.  Spanning vintage, modern and contemporary timepieces, the selection offered this season is attractively estimated, including extremely rare pieces appearing in auction for the very first time.”


    Monday, March 28th, 2016
    Patricia Burns, Eastwards 2, 2016

    Patricia Burns, Eastwards 2, 2016

    Dublin Paintings is the title of an exhibition by Patricia Burns at the Taylor Galleries in Dublin from April 1-23.  The artists’s interest lies in the hidden narrative in overlooked or changing parts of the built landscape. Her paintings often focus on specific places, most notably the in-between spaces of suburbs and ring-roads. Tomas McCarthy has said of her work that it “speaks to us from the twilight zone of remembrance and exile. Her haunting images are a technical triumph. The subject matter and the handling of it is unique and highly disciplined. Anyone who sees her work will be impressed by its uncompromising vision, its certainty of home-comings, its prodigious promise of a definition of home that transcends geography and crosses generations.”

    Born in Dublin, Burns studied Fine Art at Dublin Institute of Technology and Crawford College of Art + Design, Cork. She has shown regularly in the RHA Annual Exhibition as an invited artist and has exhibited in the Summer Exhibition at London’s Royal Academy several times. Her work is in corporate and private collections throughout Ireland and the public collections of AIB, AXA Insurance, Ballinglen Arts Foundation, NUI Galway, and the OPW / State Art Collection.


    Sunday, March 27th, 2016
    A set of bound volumes (13 in all) of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, 1844 comes up at Hegarty’s sale in Bandon April 3. The survey just predates the famine and is from the collection of the late Margaret Ridgeway, founder of Kilcolman National Nature Reserve in Doneraile, Co. Cork.  Some of these items, including the Ordnance Survey which is stamped Lord Doneraile, were previously in the collection at Doneraile Court. Also included is a set of maps of Cork and Waterford by a Captain Larcombe, which were commissioned by Lord Doneraile in 1845 and used by him on hunting trips.
    Another lot of historical interest is the belt plate of the Kinnalea and Kerricurrihy Cavaly from the Westropp collection. The plate closely resembles that worn by the Royal Cork Volunteers and has been featured in the Cork Historical Journal.

    Antique furniture includes a Regency rosewood Cork fold over card table (2,000-4,000), an Irish early 19th century partners desk (3,000-4,000), a George II Irish gilt wood mirror (2,000-3,500), a four door library bookcase (2,000-5,000) and an oval George III fold over tea table (3,000-5,000).t of the sale at 3 pm on Sunday week.

    Six bound volumes of the 1844 Ordnance Survey of Ireland

    Bound volumes of the 1844 Ordnance Survey of Ireland.  UPDATE: SOLD FOR 8,200

    A Regency rosewood Cork fold over card table

    A Regency rosewood fold over card table. UPDATE: SOLD FOR  2,200

    The belt plate of the Kinnalea and Kerricurrihy Cavalry

    The belt plate of the Kinnalea and Kerricurrihy Cavalry.  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD AND UNDER ACTIVE NEGOTIATION AFTER THE AUCTION


    Friday, March 25th, 2016

    An auction of important ceramics by Pablo Picasso takes place at Sotheby’s in London on April 5. There are over 200 ceramics, with estimates ranging from £1,000 – 1,500 to £80,000 – 120,000.  The focus of the sale is Picasso’s editioned ceramics and the Nina Miller Collection is highlighted by two unique ceramics Caractère

    Picasso - Caractère

    Picasso – Caractère  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    (£20,000 – 30,000) and Deux Poissons (£25,000 – 35,000).  Beginning with his first trip to Vallauris in the summer of 1946, Picasso remained enchanted by the freedom and expressive nature of the ceramic medium through the last 25 years of his life.  Taken by the idea that anyone could buy, use and decorate their homes with them he was persuaded to make numbered editions of some. There are 633 multiples, usually in editions of from 25 to 500.


    Picasso - Tripode, Gros oiseau

    Picasso – Tripode, Gros oiseau  UPDATE: TRIPODE SOLD FOR £191,000, GROS OISEAU FOR 3106,250

    Picasso - Deux Poissons

    Picasso – Deux Poissons  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £28,750


    Thursday, March 24th, 2016
    The armchairs in patinated bronze by Diego Giacometti.

    The armchairs in patinated bronze by Diego Giacometti.

    A pair of armchairs by Diego Giacometti once in the collection of Coco Chanel will come up at Christie’s in Paris on May 25.  Made in 1963 and gifted by Chanel to her doctor they are estimated at 120,000-180,000.  The armchairs are in patinated bronze.  After the Libération Coco Chanel fled to Switzerland and settled near Lausanne, on the edge of the Lac Leman.  She lived there for nearly ten years, occasionally travelling to Paris. At the Valmont Clinic, which she attended, she offered the chairs to her doctor in gratitude for the medical care received. They have stayed in his family until now.

    Paule de Smedt, director of the decorative arts and design department at Christie’s in Paris said:  “We are glad to present this beautiful pair of armchairs in our next evening sale. It gathers all the required criteria of the actual art market: works of art of high quality, in very good condition and from a prestigious provenance”.


    Thursday, March 24th, 2016

    Solo exhibitions from Irish artist Patrick Hennessy and Italian artist Carol Rama opened today at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). Born in the same decade both were neglected by the official art circles of their time. One a realist painter the other not faithful to any particular movement Hennessy and Rama explore human sexuality, gender and identity while challenging the political and social culture of their time.

    Patrick Hennessy De Profundis is the first major exhibition of his work since 1981. Re-examining and repositioning Hennessy’s work as part of the IMMA Modern Irish Masters Series this exhibition reflects on what Hennessy’s work might mean to audiences today. At a time when gay men were subject to social and legal persecution for the simple fact of their sexual orientation, Hennessy and his lifelong partner Henry Robertson-Craig bravely chose to exhibit works that clearly marked them as homosexual. They have almost no peers in Irish art, but Hennessy’s late work demonstrates an engagement with the emerging international queer-art movement of the 1970s. The Hennessy show runs to July 24.

    The Passion According to Carol Rama is an exhibition of almost 200 works – the largest exhibition of the artist’s work to date. It comes to Dublin following exhibitions in MACBA, Barcelona, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, and EMMA, Finland. Ignored for decades by official art history, Carol Rama is now recognised as essential for understanding developments within contemporary art. Her influence can be seen in the work of a later generation of artists such as Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, Sue Williams, Kiki Smith and Elly Strik. Rama was belatedly recognised in 2003, receiving the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, one of the most prestigious international art exhibitions. Divided into four thematic sections this exhibition is a guide through Rama’s many creative moments.  This exhibition runs to August 1.

    Carol Rama  (1918-2015) Appassionata, 1939. Private Collection. © Photo: Studio Dario & Carlos Tettamanzi © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino

    Carol Rama (1918-2015) Appassionata, 1939. Private Collection. © Photo: Studio Dario & Carlos Tettamanzi © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino

    Patrick Hennessy (1915-80) Kassim by the Sea, 1978. Image courtesy of Whytes, © The Artist’s Estate

    Patrick Hennessy (1915-80) Kassim by the Sea, 1978. Image courtesy of Whytes, © The Artist’s Estate



    Thursday, March 24th, 2016
    A Connemara Village by Paul Henry

    A Connemara Village by Paul Henry

    A Connemara Village by Paul Henry was the top lot at the James Adam sale of Important Irish Art in Dublin last night.  It sold for a hammer price of 119,000 over a top estimate of 100,000.  Four telephone bidders hotly pursued the work, which measures just 14 x 15 ¾”.  A smaller work by Paul Henry (five by six and a quarter inches) Cumulus Clouds, Dugort with a top estimate of 10,000 sold for 15,000 on the hammer with no less than eight bidders in pursuit, including one in Abu Dhabi.

    In fact very few lots at this auction had only one bidder, which is indicative of a continuing pick up in the Irish art market. The sale realised 855,000 with premium with a sell through rate of 81%.

    (See posts on for January 8 and March 16, 2016).