Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • Archive for May, 2017


    Saturday, May 20th, 2017
    The Belgrave Square home of Irish tycoon Edward Haughey has been described as the Downton Abbey of our times.  Contents from his extraordinary London home – which formed a backdrop to life at the highest levels of British society – will come under the hammer at Sotheby’s on May 23 and 24.
    The Kilcurry, Co. Louth born pharmaceutical magnate Lord Ballyedmond (no relation of the late Taoiseach)  who died in a helicopter crash in 2014 was a keen collector with very deep pockets. Inspired by the Regency and neoclassical designs of Robert Adam he transformed a once dormant property in one of London’s most prestigious squares into a modern evocation of a great Georgian town house. Along the way he amassed a collection of paintings, tapestries, porcelain, silver and furniture.
    Among the lots are a silver wine cistern capable of accommodating over 70 bottles of champagne. This is a 1992 reproduction of a 1719 original by Paul de Lamerie and is estimated at £80,000-120,000. A 19th century dinner service with the arms of the Thurn & Taxis family is estimated at £2,500-3,500, a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds of Mrs. Richard Pennant has an estimate of £20,000-30,000 and a Louis XV tapestry is estimated at £12,000-18,000. Other lots include a silver aviary, chandeliers, marble sculptures, clocks and collectibles.

    Born in 1944 Lord Ballyedmond is renowned as only the second person in history after the Marquess of Lansdowne in the 1920’s to have sat in the upper houses of both the Irish and British  parliaments. A second sale, the Ballyedmond collection part II: Gentlemen’s Accessories Online, will open on May 23.  It will feature objects like cufflinks, tie pins and watches by makers including Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Boucheron and Tiffany. Estimates range from £150 to £6,000.

    UPDATE:  THE sale totalled £4.4 million with bidders from every continents and a sell through rate of 94.3%.  Most lots went able the high estimate.

    The dining room at Belgrave Square.

    The parlour at Belgrave Square.

    A reproduction silver wine cistern capable of holding 70 bottles of champagne modelled on a 1719 original by Paul de Lamerie (£80,000-120,000).  UPDATE: THIS WAS THE TOP LOT OF THE SALE AND MADE £112,500

    Sir Joshua Reynolds – Portrait of Mrs. Richard Pennant 1816 (£20,000-30,000).  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £25,000


    Friday, May 19th, 2017

    Fans of Pink Floyd will find lots of interest at Morgan O’Driscoll’s online sale of art, which runs until May 22. Among 354 lots are a limited edition collage box set of Dark Side of the Moon by Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013) estimated at 200-400;  there is a similar estimate on two similar pyramid box sets, each signed and numbered.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013)
    Pink Floyd – Dark Side of The Moon 0303 Box Set – Collage (200-400)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013)
    Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon-0303 Box Set – Pyramid (200-400)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    John Schwatschke (b.1943) Soft Day, Thomastown (500-750)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 460 AT HAMMER

    Pauline Doyle (20th/21st Century)
    Still Life – Apples and Red Currants (300-500)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 360 AT HAMMER

    Ronald Ossory Dunlop RA RBA MEAC (1894-1975) Moored at the Quayside (200-400)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 180 AT HAMMER


    Friday, May 19th, 2017

    Untitled by Jean-Michel Basquiat

    Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled from 1982 sold for $110.5 million at Sotheby’s in New York last night. This was an auction record for a work by an American artist.  It was purchased by Yusaku Maezawa, founder of e-commerce giant Start Today and ZOZOTOWN, the virtual mall on Japan’s largest fashion e-commerce site. The painting will eventually be housed in a museum based in Mr. Maezawa’s hometown of Chiba, Japan.  It was the highest ever price for an artwork created post 1980, the 2nd highest price for any contemporary artwork at auction and the sixth highest price for any artwork ever sold at auction.

    Tonight, Jean-Michel Basquiat entered the pantheon of artists whose works have commanded prices over $100 million, including Picasso, Giacometti, Bacon, and Warhol,” Grégoire Billault, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Department in New York commented. “This extraordinary canvas from 1982 has broken so many benchmarks – a record for any American artist at auction and for a work of art created post-1980, to name just two – but those of us lucky enough to have been in its presence will only remember it’s awesome power.  To think that it was created by a virtually-unknown 21-year old is humbling.  We are thrilled that it was purchased by Yusaku Maezawa for his planned museum so others will have a chance to experience its magic firsthand.”

    With participation from 39 countries the sale totalled $319,199,000 and was 96% sold by lot.  This was the 4th Consecutive Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby’s worldwide with a sell-through rate of over 90%.  There were artist records for Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jonas Wood, Wolfgang Tillmans, Mira Schendel, Blinky Palermo, Takeo Yamaguchi and Keith Haring.

    (See post on for April 27, 2017)


    Thursday, May 18th, 2017

    Cy Twombly (1928-2011) – Leda and the Swan

    The top lots at Christie’s Post War and Contemporary evening sale in New York last night were Cy Twombly’s  Leda and the Swan ($52,887,500) and  Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer ($51,767,500).

    The 68 lots sold brought in $448 million and Christie’s say that the results rank among the strongest ever for this category in New York.  A total of 71 lots were offered and five sold for over $20 million.

    La Hara by Basquiat made $34.9 million, Red White and Brushstrokes by Lichtenstein made $28.2 million and Big Campbell’s soup can with can opener (vegetable) by Warhol made $27.5 million.

    (See posts on for February 24 and March 21, 2017)

    IN a post sales roundup Christie’s reported that the spring auction series totalled $842.5 million.   The week scored the highest total for an Impressionist and Modern evening sale at Christie’s since May 2010 and the strongest sell-through rates for a Post-War and Contemporary evening sale in a decade.


    Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

    Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist Composition with Plane in Projection sold for $21.2 million to lead Sotheby’s auction of Impressionist and Modern art in New York last night.  The sale, which saw exceptional prices for sculpture, brought in $173.8 million. There was a new record for Max Ernst whose Surrealist bronze from the Motherwell collection made $16 million. New auction records were also established for Diego Giacometti ($6.3 million), Jean Arp ($4.9 million) and Germaine Richier ($3 million).  The Impressionist sale was led by a Monet view of the pond at Giverny which made $16 million.

    Simon Shaw, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Worldwide Impressionist & Modern Art Department, commented: “Collectors are ready to look in every corner of the marketplace  for the best of the best, be it sculpture, Impressionism, Modern or avant-garde works. When you offer something so rare, that hasn’t been seen at auction before, and is represented in the greatest museums, it ticks all the boxes. And today’s collectors are ready to go the extra mile to secure those special pieces – the excitement we saw around the Malevich and the Ernst reflects that. Taken together with our outstanding results achieved in London this past March, our flagship sales of Impressionist & Modern Art are up nearly 50% year to date – a statement on both the strength of the market and our performance for our clients.”

    Kazimir Malevich Suprematist Composition with Plane in Projection made $21.1 million

    Max Ernst Le Roi Jouant Avec La Reine (sold for $15.9 million)

    Claude Monet Le Bassin aux nymphéas ($15.9 million)

    Diego Giacometti Bibliothèque De L’île Saint-Louis (sold for $6.3 million)


    Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

    More than 300 lots will come under the hammer at the de Veres Design Auction in Dublin on May 21.  The auction will include 100 lots of contemporary art.  There is 20th century furniture by designers like Charles and Ray Eames, Grete Jalk, Erik Jorgensen, Rolf Benz, Arne Jacobsen, Mies Van der Rohe, Hans Wegner, Bruno Mathsson, Pierre Paulin and Erik Buch.  Artists whose work will feature include Tony O’Malley, Patrick Scott, Barrie Cooke, William Scott and Hughie O’Donoghue.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    Headland Landscape by William Crozier (1930-2011) (4,000-6,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,000 AT HAMMER

    A set of 10 French 1970’s dining chairs (1,500-2,500)  UPDATE: THESE MADE 2,600 AT HAMMER

    A pair of chairs by Grete Jalk for France and Sons (1,000-1,500)  UPDATE: THESE MADE 3,800 AT HAMMER



    Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

    CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI (1867-1957) La muse endormie

    Constantin Brancusi’s La Muse Endormie sold for a world record price of $57.3 million at Christie’s in New York last night. It went to a client in the room after a nine minute bidding battle.

    Pablo Picasso’s Femme assize, robe bleue made $45 million. A total of 43 of the 55 lots offered at the Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale found buyers.  The sale brought in $288.1 million.

    (See posts on for April 20 and March 30, 2017)


    Monday, May 15th, 2017

    William Scott (1913-1989) – Blue Still Life  UPDATE: THIS MADE 450,000 AT HAMMER

    William Scott’s Blue Still Life will lead Whyte’s sale of Important Irish Art in Dublin on May 29.  From the McClelland collection it has been on loan to the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) for the past eight years. This large scale work – it measures six feet long by four feet high – has previously been on exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London in 1972, at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York in 1973, at Gallery Moos in Toronto in 1973 and it was with Richard Green at Art Basel in 2008. It is the most valuable work by artist to appear at auction in Ireland.  The estimate is 400,000-600,000.  Scott was born in Scotland of an Irish father and spent most of his childhood in Enniskillen.

    The sale of more than 180 works will be on display at the RDS from May 27.  Top lots include a tapestry – Adam and Eve – by Louis le Brocquy from the McClelland collection, a sculpture in wood by F.E. McWilliam and a large landscape by Paul Henry.  There is work by Yeats, Orpen, William Conor, Frank McKelvey, James Humbert Craig, Percy French, William Leech, Micheal Mac Liammoir, Gerard Dillon, Barrie Cooke, Colin Middleton, Norah McGuinness, Camille Souter, Basil Blackshaw, Tony O’Malley and Gwen O’Dowd. The live and online sale will begin at 6 p.m.


    Monday, May 15th, 2017

    A typed Order of Surrender from the 1916 Rising signed by Patrick Pearse comes up at Bonhams  in London on June 14.  One of the most significant documents in Irish 20th century history it ended the abortive attempt to overthrow British rule in Ireland and establish an independent Irish State.  After six days of bitter fighting Pearse offered the surrender to prevent further bloodshed.

    Ronan McGreevy editor of Centenary – Ireland Remembers 1916 to be published this autumn explained the significance of the order: “The terse document expresses Pearse’s belief that he would certainly be executed, but that all the others would be spared. Instead the British executed 15 leaders, including Pearse, and imprisoned thousands. This brutal military fiat turned Irish public opinion against British rule in Ireland exactly as the rebels had hoped”.

    A small number of copies were made, signed by Pearse and distributed to rebel positions in Dublin and the outlying countryside by Nurse Elizabeth O’Farrell, who had acted as go between during the surrender negotiations, and members of the Capuchin community. It is not known exactly how many typed copies were produced, but it is thought to be in single figures. Two surviving copies are held by the National Library of Ireland. Another, signed by Pearse and countersigned by James Connolly, is held at the Imperial War Museum, London. In addition, there are known to be three hand written drafts. It is estimated at £80,000-100,000.


    Sunday, May 14th, 2017
    MORE than 180 lots of rare Irish and English silver from the collection of Jimmy Weldon will come under the hammer at James Adam in Dublin on May 16.  On offer is a selection ranging from the rarest of Irish provincial spoons to quirky table decorations.
    Provincial Irish silver is rare and prized nationally and internationally. The highlight of the sale is a Kinsale silver trifid spoon made by brothers William and Joseph Wall around 1712. It is estimated at 8,000-12,000.  There is a similar estimate on a fluted Limerick sugar bowl made by Collins Brehon around 1750. A second piece of Limerick silver is a c1785 soup ladle by Maurice Fitzgerald (4,000). A gold Claddagh ring made c1775 in Galway has an estimate of 3,000.
    There are a number of pieces of Georgian Cork silver  from makers like Carden Terry and Jane Williams,  Michael MacDermott, John Nicolson, William Reynolds and George Hodder. Major Dublin pieces from the early 18th century include a 1737 globular tea kettle on stand by Thomas Sutton and a 1715 strawberry dish by John Hamilton.  There is a collection of four early 19th century seals with the armorials of the 7th Viscount Powerscourt.  He was responsible for the remodelling of Powerscourt and laid out the gardens as we know them today.  The seals are estimated at 8,000.

    Weldon’s was established in Clarendon St. in central Dublin in the 1890’s. In the 1960’s Jimmy Weldon joined the business founded by his grandfather. A genial expert on Irish Georgian silver who has served twice as Master Warden of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.

    A very rare Kinsale silver trifid spoon (8,000-12,000  UPDATE: THIS MADE 11,000 AT HAMMER

    A c1750 Limerick sugar bowl by Collins Brehon (8,000-12,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 13,000 AT HAMMER