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  • Archive for December, 2016


    Saturday, December 31st, 2016
    Red Earth VI by Hughie O'Donoghue sold for a hammer price of 28,000 at Morgan O'Drsicoll

    Red Earth VI by Hughie O’Donoghue sold for a hammer price of 28,000 at Morgan O’Drsicoll

    In 2016 the most notable antique and art market trends are an increasing use of online bidding and a growth in younger, wealthy buyers.  This will impact on taste in the year to come.

    In Ireland younger buyers new to a market are that has been dominated for what seems like forever by Yeats, Henry, Orpen, Lavery et al are more likely to opt for more cutting edge contemporary work into the future.  The most expensive artwork sold in the winter season of Dublin art sales was a pastel on paper entitled 1.6.92 by Sean Scully which made 165,000 at hammer at de Veres.
    Research by art and antiques search engine aggregator Barnebys – covering 1,600 auction houses carrying half a million objects at any one time – shows that about 35% of bids now come in over the internet.  Millennials are logging on to buy, instead of searching the high street. Growth by younger buyers is anticipated. The environmental aspect of buying at auction – upmarket recycling – appeals in particular to this segment. Another consequence of the internet is that auctioneers are making huge savings by cutting back on the number of catalogues they print, using online catalogues instead.
    This year the market performed strongly at the top. Auctioneers are increasingly focused on the middle and lower markets. Unique items – think of Marilyn Monroe’s Happy Birthday Mr. President dress making $4 million on the hammer at Juliens – are achieving prices not seen since 1990 and before the 2008 crash.  The middle market is struggling but the lower end is growing, thanks to the internet.
    The real excitement for new investors in emerging art markets is in contemporary African and Indian art, Latin American art and Cuban art. Barneby’s predicts that there will be an increasing focus on African art, and this will include sculpture. In terms of auction results right now artists from South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana are leading the pack.
    Globally the hunt is on for female artists.  Gallery owners, dealers and museums will place great emphasis on finding new artists and the best works by artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois, Irma Stern and Frida Kahlo. These four already enjoy high profiles and achieve strong prices at auction.
    Another growth area is 20th century design.  Demand has been growing since the late 1990’s and it is expected that this will continue.


    Friday, December 30th, 2016
    Hong LIng - A Peak in Reds.

    Hong LIng – A Peak of Reds.

    The retrospective by Hong Ling continues at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin until January 29.  It charts the development of Hong Ling’s art from student paintings in his personal collection to his vast later works painted in oil and in ink. Born in Beijing in 1955, the artist Hong Ling studied oil painting in the years after the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966–76). In the mountains of rural China, however, his brush found a new path. Drawing together the imported medium of oil on canvas with the landscapes and philosophies of China’s artistic heritage, Hong Ling has made a contribution to the world of Chinese landscape painting unparalleled in its vibrancy.

    Working from his studio in the foothills of the Yellow Mountains of China’s Anhui Province, Hong Ling reveals the charged atmosphere of this dramatic locale from the bold colours of the shifting seasons to the heavy mists that weave among pine-clad peaks. As exhilarating as they are immersive, Hong Ling’s paintings stand as an invitation to join him in the landscape that is his home and his inspiration.
    The exhibition is part of a touring retrospective sponsored by UNEEC Culture and Education Foundation, Taiwan, and organised with Soka Art and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.  It follows Hong Ling’s recent retirement from the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Beijing, where he taught oil painting since 1987.  The show will travel on to Bath from Dublin.


    Saturday, December 24th, 2016
    The Holy Family with an Angel by Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678) © Christie’s Images Limited 2016

    The Holy Family with an Angel by Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678) © Christie’s Images Limited 2016

    We wish everyone who enjoys a very Happy Christmas.  Here is a seasonal image of The Holy Family with an Angel by Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678). It was the top lot at Christie’s Old Masters evening sale in London this month. Jordaens succeeded Rubens as the leading painter in Antwerp in 1640. After the death of Rubens in that year he became the most important painter in Antwerp for large scale commissions.

    He painted altar pieces and mythological and allegorical scenes. As well as being a successful painter he was a prominent designer of tapestries.  In this painting his use of realistic models, the rustic presentation of religious subjects and dramatic use of light and shade point to the influence of Caravaggio. It sold for £1.8 million.  Bidders from 28 countries took part in the auction.

    It has been a great year for Old Masters at Christie’s with global sales of around £152 million.  Ruben’s masterpiece Lot and his Daughters which can be found elsewhere on this website sold for £44.9 million in July, the highest auction price for any work of art sold in Europe this year.


    Friday, December 23rd, 2016

    With everything from a cased taxidermy pheasant to a selection of mirrors, antique furniture, Waterford Crystal, jewellery and a variety of collectibles the sale by Matthews of Oldcastle on December 30 offers something from everyone in the immediate aftermath of Christmas.  The catalogue, which is online, lists 588 lots, but Matthews say that viewing is advisable as there is likely to be late entries.  Here is a small selection:

    Silver Condiment Set with Bristol Blue Liners (90-120)

    Silver Condiment Set with Bristol Blue Liners (90-120)

    Antique Giltwood Carved Mirror (600-900)

    Antique Giltwood Carved Mirror (600-900)

    Regency Crossbanded Fold Over Games Table  (400-700)

    Regency Crossbanded Fold Over Games Table (400-700)

    Cased Taxidermy Pheasant (150-250)

    Cased Taxidermy Pheasant (150-250)


    Friday, December 23rd, 2016

    home5a_tA collection of four Fox head stirrup cups will be a feature at the sale at Cork Auction Rooms on December 28.  Such cups are rare and of interest to specialist collectors.  One sold for 1,500 at Cork Auction Rooms two years ago. On offer this time is a pair of  Fox Head form stirrup cups and a  pair of Victorian Staffordshire stirrup cups in the form of fox hounds.  Each pair is estimated at 600-1,200.  A pair of Jack B. Yeats pen and ink cartoons and letters to his sister Susan  – “Two Dublin debutants exercising themselves close by O’ Connell Bridge” and “The turnip sculptor” – are estimated at 6,000-8,000.  A c1835 Georgian Irish mahogany sideboard with acanthus leaf decoration on barley twist supports is estimated at 1,800-2,500 and the sale will feature a selection miniature portraits and silhouettes.


    Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
    Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-1789) 'A Dutch girl at breakfast', c. 1756-57

    Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-1789) ‘A Dutch girl at breakfast’, c. 1756-57

    A Dutch girl at breakfast by Jean-Etienne Liotard  is to be displayed at the Gallery or Honour in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum from mid-January. An export licence for the work, recently purchased from a private collection where it has remained for more than 240 years, was granted today by the British government. Genevan pastellist Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-1789) created it in the style of Dutch seventeenth-century masters during a long sojourn in Holland around 1756.  It is one of his few oil-paintings and an important addition to a group of pastels by Liotard in the Rijksmuseum since 1885.

    Taco Dibbits, General Director of the Rijksmuseum said: “A Dutch girl at breakfast radiates the same atmosphere of peace and simplicity as Vermeer’s Milkmaid. In this sensitive representation, the painter allows us to get very close to his subject. As the girl carefully opens the tap of the coffee-pot, she won’t allow herself to be disturbed by the millions of visitors who will come to see her. We are extremely grateful to the funds and private donors who made it possible to acquire this masterpiece for The Netherlands”.

    In this work Liotard reveals himself as one of the earliest 18th-century artists from abroad to put his fascination with Dutch painting of the 17th century into practice. All the characteristics of Dutch 17th-century “genre” are present: the everyday scene, the intimate ambiance, the sober colours, the sophisticated rendering of textures, and the painted church-interior in the background. Nevertheless the furnishings and tableware are all from Liotard’s own time. The mise-en-scène is strongly reminiscent of the well-known interiors of his predecessors Johannes Vermeer, Gerard Dou and Frans van Mieris. Liotard appears to have kept the A Dutch girl at breakfast for himself until 1774, when he included it in a sale of his collection in London. It was bought there by his principal British patron, the 2nd Earl of Bessborough (1704 – 1793), with whose descendants it has remained until now.   The Earl of Bessborough is a title in the Peerage of Ireland. It was created in 1739 for Brabazon Ponsonby, 2nd Viscount Duncannon, who had previously represented Newtownards and County Kildare in the Irish House of Commons.  The 2nd Earl was Whig politician who served as Lord of the Treasury, as a Lord of the Admiralty and as joint Postmaster General.


    Tuesday, December 20th, 2016
    The most expensive lot at Sotheby's in 2016 was Picasso's Femme Assise

    The most expensive lot at Sotheby’s in 2016 was Picasso’s Femme Assise

    A heady list of art and diamonds make up Sotheby’s top ten lots in 2016.  Picasso, Modigliani, Munch, Twombly, Bacon, Daqian, Richter and Gentileschi in that order accounted for the top art works, a blue diamond and a pink diamond made up the balance.

    Picasso’s  Femme Assise, 1909 which sold for £43,269,000 ($63,631,391) in London in June topped the list.  Next came Amedeo Modigliani with Jeanne Hébuterne (Au Foulard), 1919 which sold for £38,509,000 ($56,631,335): Edvard Munch, Pikene på broen (Girls on the Bridge), 1902 which sold for $54,487,500: Cy Twombly, Untitled (New York City), 1968 sold for $36,650,000: Francis Bacon, Two Studies For A Self-Portrait, 1970 sold for $34,970,000: Zhang Daqian, Peach Blossom Spring, 1982 sold for HKD $270,680,000 (US$ 34,702,564) and Gerhard Richter, A.B., Still, 1986 sold for $33,987,500.
    Number eight on the list was the De Beers Millennium Jewel 4 which sold for HK$248,280,000 ($32,013,223). Ninth came the Unique Pink, a fancy vivid diamond ring which sold for CHF 30,826,000 (US$31,561,200) and Orazio Gentileschi, Danaë, 1621 which sold for $30,490,000 was tenth.


    Monday, December 19th, 2016
    The big winter Irish art sales – by de Veres, Whytes, Morgan O’Driscoll and James Adam – grossed almost five million euro. This figure suggests that market for Irish art is in a state of rude good health.  The real story is more complex.  Bidding is brisk, turnover is up and the market has its problems. All auctioneers are finding it difficult to source top quality works.  “What incentive is there to sell when you can get no interest on your money” one asked.
    Right now this remains very much a buyer’s market. Prices are deflated and a correction upwards is long overdue.  The view is that this has to happen, the only question is when.  Meantime prices are far from stratospheric across all levels and ranges. Todays art buyer has become both discriminating and picky and there is a price above which they will not venture.
    The market in 2016 was unpredictable and threw up some surprising results.  Adams failed to get their main Yeats away at the latest sale but still grossed 1.35 million with 76% of lots on offer finding buyers. Morgan O’Driscoll capped off what he described as an unbelievable year with a Dublin sale that drew bidders from 12 countries and grossed over a million this month. The September sale at Whyte’s was the most successful since 2008 and a small west of Ireland landscape by Paul Henry made a hammer price of 87,000 at their latest sale. A large pastel by Sean Scully sold for 165,000 at the late November auction by de Veres, which grossed around 1.6 million. And Sean Keating’s Aran Woman and her Children sold for 130,000 at hammer a Mealy’s this month – the first time since 2008 that a Keating sold for a six figure sum. Sell through rates of around 75%-80% are being reported from most sales.

    The Bronze Horses of St. Marks by Patrick Hennessy made a hammer price of 32,000 at James Adam.

    The Bronze Horses of St. Marks by Patrick Hennessy made a hammer price of 32,000 at James Adam.

    Garden at Night by William Crozier sold for a hammer price of 19,000 at Whyte's

    Garden at Night by William Crozier sold for a hammer price of 19,000 at Whyte’s


    Sunday, December 18th, 2016
    SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS (Seigen 1577-1640 Antwerp), Lot and his Daughters, circa 1613-1614. Courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2016

    THE MOST EXPENSIVE PAINTING SOLD IN EUROPE THIS YEAR – SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS (Seigen 1577-1640 Antwerp), Lot and his Daughters, circa 1613-1614 made £44.9 million. Courtesy CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2016

    Old Master sales at Christie’s in 2016 came to £152 million, doubling the auction sales total of 2015.  Classic Week, which ended in London on December 15, achieved a total of £47.8 million. This was a dedicated series of sales spanning Old Master Paintings, Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Antiquities, Japanese Art and private collections.  There was global participation with more than 1,200 registered bidders from 53 countries and substantial cross category buying. The entire classic week series achieved $272.3 million in 2016.

    Karl Hermanns, Global Managing Director, Old Master, 19th Century, Russian Art, said: “Classic Week in December concludes an outstanding year for the classical arts at Christie’s. Following its launch in April in New York and in July in London the new Classic Weeks series, complementing Christie’s innovative 20th-century weeks, have achieved for our clients significantly increased sales, cross-category bidders and new bidders. We are particularly encouraged by the number of 20th-century clients and Asian collectors participating in these sale. Classic Week auction sales were led by the masterpiece by Rubens, ‘Lot and his Daughters’, which achieved £44.9 million, the highest auction price for any work of art sold in Europe in 2016. Old Master and Victorian pictures also sold well alongside the best modern and contemporary art in the Defining British Art sale, the flagship event of Christie’s 250th anniversary. Christie’s also led the market in Old Master private sales, led by the historic sale of Rembrandt portraits, which sold to the French and Dutch states. Our specialists will continue to innovate and to inspire collectors with curated sales weeks of the highest quality. We look forward to hosting the next Classic Weeks in New York in April 2017 and in London in July 2017.”


    Saturday, December 17th, 2016
    An important original portrait of Charles Dicken’s wife Catherine by Cork born artist Daniel Maclise has been discovered hidden beneath what had been thought to be the original work. Doubts about the authenticity of a portrait of Catherince – treasured by the Charles Dicken’s Museum at Doughty St. in London for 20 years – emerged during the past year. It seemed crude to the museum curator Louisa Price, especially when compared to two gigantic paintings of the Napoleonic Wars by Daniel Maclise in the House of Lords. There were gaps in its provenance.

    An investigation showed it to have been heavily overpainted, with up to 70% of the surface not original. In September the painting was scanned and x rayed at the Hamilton Kerr Institute to determine whether the original Maclise work was underneath. The painting underneath was confirmed as the original 1847 work by Maclise, a friend of Charles Dickens. It remained in Catherine’s possession after she separated from Dickens in 1858.  The museum, which holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of Dicken’s material in the house where he completed The Pickwick Papers and wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby, is working to raise funds for a complete restoration of the Maclise painting.

    The overpainted portrait by Daniel Maclise of Catherine Dickens being examined at the Hamilton Kerr Institute.

    The overpainted portrait by Daniel Maclise of Catherine Dickens being examined at the Hamilton Kerr Institute.

    The x-ray showing the original work underneath

    The x-ray showing the original work underneath