Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • Archive for June, 2018


    Saturday, June 30th, 2018
    THIS oil self portrait by the Irish artist Peter J. Keelan is among the highlights at London Art Week which runs at various galleries around Mayfair and St, James’ in central London until July 6.
    Redolent of the more Bohemian artists of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods the portrait is offered by Bagshawe Fine Art of Bury St.  Keelan spent time in Paris and Pont-Aven at the end of the 19th century.  He exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy and around 1890 he sent work to the RHA from an address at Pont-Aven.  This was a time when Gauguin, Roderic O’Conor and Walter Osborne were all in residence at Pont-Aven.
    The style of this 18″ x 15″ portrait is naturalistic with broad brush strokes and a stance that is close the viewer.  This work shows that he was plainly an artist of ability.  He remains for now a shadowy figure about whom information is hard to come by.  Bagshawe Fine Art remain confident that they will be able to make a fuller appraisal when more of his work surfaces.


    Friday, June 29th, 2018

    Too hot to face an auction standoff?  Never fear.  You can do it from the comfort of your own cool at Morgan O’Driscoll’s online sale of affordable Irish art which runs until Monday July 2 between 6.30 p.m. and 11 p.m.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    LA HART (20TH/21ST CENTURY)Keith Richards (600-900) UPDATE: THIS MADE 480 AT HAMMER


    BRIAN BALLARD (B.1943)Still Life on Window Sill (2003) (1,000-1,500)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 800 AT HAMMER

    NORMAN TEELING (B.1944)Ha’Penny Bridge, Dublin (600-900)  UPDATE: THIS MDE 500 AT HAMMER


    Friday, June 29th, 2018

    MASTERPIECE got off to a flying start and will remain in full swing at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London until July 4.  Dealers reported early sales and an increase in footfall on preview days.  Masterpiece attracts 160 leading international exhibitors and is the world’s leading cross collecting fair with art, design, furniture and jewellery from antiquity to the present day.  Here is a small selection of what is on show:

    Georges Braque – L’Oiseau de Feu c1954 at Connaught Brown

    Lalique brooch at Veronique Bamps

    Grand Tour centre table at Butchoff Antiques

    Bust with portrait of an elderly man at Cahn International AG

    Alvar Aalto – Ceiling Lamp 1953 at Modernity

    Sue Williams – Peculiar – 1999 at Maruani Mercier


    Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

    Lucian Freud – Portrait on a White Cover

    One of Lucian Freud’s last great nudes, Portrait on a White Cover sold  for £22.5 million at Sotheby’s in London tonight.  It was the most valuable painting by the artist ever sold in London. The previous highest price for a London auction of the artist’s work was £16.1 million set by Pregnant Girl at Sotheby’s in February 2016.  Painted when the artist was 80 years old it represents the culmination of Freud’s lifelong engagement with the reclining nude. Alongside the self-portrait, the reclining nude was the defining leitmotif of Freud’s career. Across sixty years of painting, innumerable mutations of painterly style, and a multitude of sitters, he returned to this challenging subject time and again.

    Portrait on a White Cover depicts Sophie Lawrence, who worked for Tate publishing and was spotted by Freud whilst preparing for his Tate retrospective in 2002. This is her only known portrait and there is little written about her in the literature surrounding the artist’s work. Ahead of this sale, she shared her story of sitting for the artist: “I wouldn’t have done it for anyone else, but he is one of the best artists who has ever lived. It was incredibly intimidating, but he made me feel at ease. He was very good at building a rapport with peopleI was very fond of him.”

    The artist painted only three further reclining nudes before his death in 2011. The painting which immediately preceded Portrait on a White Cover, Naked Portrait 2002 – depicting Kate Moss pregnant – set a new auction record for the artist at £7.3 million when it appeared at auction in 2005. Four of the top five prices for the artist at auction are for reclining nudes.


    Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

    Nelson’s pocket watch.  UPDATE: THIS MADE £322,000

    A watch that belonged to Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson and is thought to have been carried during the Battle of Trafalgar will be one of the highlights of Sotheby’s Treasures sale on 4 July. It is estimated at £250,000 – 450,000.  On the morning of the Battle of Trafalgar, William Beatty – the Irish surgeon aboard Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory, observed how before the battle commenced, the Admiral called upon his lieutenants to synchronise their watches to the time on his own watch. It is therefore quite possible that the tumultuous events of that historic day unfolded to the time kept by this very watch.

    Fought on October21,  1805 off the southern coast of Spain, the Battle of Trafalgar was a decisive moment in the Napoleonic Wars (1796 – 1815). Commanded by Admiral Nelson the British fleet defeated the combined fleets of the Spanish and French navies, fighting off Napoleon Bonaparte’s advancements to invade Britain. In the midst of battle, Nelson was shot in the left shoulder, a shot that would prove fatal.

    The Chairman of Sotheby’s International Watch Division, Daryn Schnipper said: ‘The perfect timing of the British assault at the Battle of Trafalgar was key in the historic victory of the Royal Navy so to be able to offer for sale the watch that Nelson probably used to establish the timing for this decisive battle, is a real privilege.”

    One of the nineteen relics returned to Nelson’s mistress, Emma, Lady Hamilton, following his death, the watch was inherited by the Admiral’s brother, Willliam, 1st Earl Nelson and subsequently passed to his sole surviving child, Charlotte. Charlotte arranged for the watch to be mounted in its current form as a carriage clock, presumably so it could be better admired and treasured as her illustrious uncle’s most precious possession. It was excluded from the group of precious relics, including the Admiral’s orders and decorations offered for sale in 1895 and subsequently acquired by the British government.


    Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

    There were 230 lots at the successful Morgan O’Driscoll online sale of Irish art on June 25.  Here are some results:

    CIARAN CLEAR (1920-2000) Moonlight Connemara Coast made 5,400 at hammer.

    JOHN SHINNORS (B.1950) Field Forms, Shooting Star made 6,600 at hammer.

    SEAN O’SULLIVAN (1906-1964)The Weaver (1952) made 1,900 at hammer.

    JOHN KELLY RHA (1932-2006) – Harbour, Castletownsend West Cork (2014) made 640 at hammer.


    Monday, June 25th, 2018

    This rare portrait of Sir Francis Drake (c1540-1596)  by an unknown artist from the Anglo Dutch School was authenticated by the wart on his nose.  Experts say that genuine portraits include the wart, others do not.  The sea captain, slave trader, naval officer and explorer of the Elizabethan era is shown in expensive half armour as a man of grandeur and social standing.

    It is believed the work dates to the mid 1570’s before his famous triumph as caption and second in command of the British naval defence against the Spanish Armada in 1588.  Regarded as a hero by the English and a pirate by the Spanish he carried out the second circumnavigation of the world. Various locations globally are named after him, including Drake’s Pool in Crosshaven where he is said to have hidden from the pursuing Spanish.  The portrait comes up at Bonhams Old Masters sale in London on July 4 estimated at £300,000-500,000.   UPDATE: THIS MADE £356,750


    Saturday, June 23rd, 2018
    A George III dining table at Sheppards sale in Co. Wicklow on June 26, 27 and 28 is of particular interest because of recent events Stateside.  The 20 foot long table is estimated at 30,000-50,000.  The estimate on a similar table at a sale in New York last month was the same.  But the Regency four pedestal dining table from the Rockefeller Collection was knocked down for $468,500 dollars in a global sale where many lots exceeded all expectations. The $832 million realised from that auction was the highest total ever for a single collection and the most significant charitable auction in history.
    Sheppards sale at Coolattin House, Shillelagh, Co. Wicklow is now on view.  It is composed of lots from the collection of the late Kanturk based solicitor Gerard O’Keeffe and other clients. The sale will be held over six sessions next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10.30 am and 2 pm on each day.
    There is a series of 18th century Irish furniture pieces including two side tables with scallop carved aprons.   Among the works of art is a Portrait of lady in a red silk gown by John Michael Wright.  It is from Cloghan Castle, Co. Offaly and was purchased at a Sotheby’s sale of Old Master paintings in 1968.  There is an Irish landscape by William Ashford and work by Hugh Douglas Hamilton.

    The collection of Gerard O’Keeffe forms a major part of the sale and it includes a collection of ivory and a series of watches including a Piaget.  There is a selection of contemporary Irish art and sculpture, Irish and international literature, bookcases and garden lots in a wide ranging auction of nearly 2,000 lots.

    A George III four pillar dining table

    A George III Chippendale bookcase

    A portrait of a lady in a red silk


    Thursday, June 21st, 2018

    Pablo Picasso, Femme dans un fauteuil (Dora Maar)

    The Impressionist and Modern sale at Christie’s in London last night made £128,081,750.  The top lot was Claude Monet’s exterior view of the Gare St. Lazare which made £24.9 million.

    Picasso’s Femme dans un fauteuil (Dora Maar) made £19.3 million.  Franz Marc’s Drei Pferde sold for £15.4 million, six times the estimate of £2.5 million and Auguste Rodin’s Baiser, moyen modele made £12.6 million.

    A landscape by Kazimir Malevich made £7.8 million and L’Estaque by Georges Braque sold for £5.2 million.  Strong results were also achieved by German and Austrian artists.


    Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

    Fresh to market works by Picasso, Giacometti, Monet, Kandinsky and Matisse brought a total of  £87.5 million  at Sothebys sale of Impressionist and Modern art in London last night.   The auction was led by Buste de femme de profil (Femme écrivant) from Picasso’s ‘year of wonders’, 1932, which sold for over ten times the £2.4 million it achieved when last at auction in 1997. At £27.3 million it brought the total for four works by Picasso in the sale to £40 million.

    Giacometti’s elegant Le Chat sold for £12.6 million. Subsequent to this rendition of a cat, a dog and two horses in 1951, Giacometti never turned his hand to sculpting animals again. Monet’s dazzling La Méditerranée par vent de mistral  made £7.2 million and Camille Pissarro’s Le boulevard Montmartre, brume du matin, from the artist’s most celebrated series of urban views, was acquired by an Asian private collector for £3.5 million.

    Pablo Picasso – Buste de femme de profil

    Alberto Giacometti – Le Chat