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


    Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

    Between Paris and Pont-Aven, Roderic O’Conor and the Moderns, opens at the National Gallery in Dublin tomorrow and runs until  October 28. It presents around 43 of O’Conor’s works alongside his better known contemporaries Gauguin and van Gogh, who were his good friends. It focusses on the pictures made by O’Conor in Pont-Aven between 1887 and 1895.   The modern artists gathered then in the remote Brittany village were at the absolute forefront of the avant-garde in art.

    O’Conor and Gauguin often painted side by side and one drawing by Gauguin includes in the background some self portraits by the Irish artist.  After Gauguin’s death in 1903 O’Conor stopped going to Brittany and settled in Paris.  Suspicious of dealers he turned down the  chance to be represented by the legendary Ambroise Vollard, who provided invaluable exposure for artists like Cezanne, van Gogh, Degas, Picasso and Matisse.  This decision goes some way towards explaining why the reputation of this extraordinary Irish master suffered and still awaits proper rediscovery on the international scene.  Hopefully the National Gallery show will go some way towards redressing this imbalance.

    Roderic O’Conor (1860-1940) Still Life with Apples, c.1893
    Private Collection. Image Courtesy of Jean-Luc Baroni Ltd.

    Roderic O’Conor (1860-1940) Field of Corn, Pont-Aven, 1892. © National Museum NI. Collection Ulster Museum.

    Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) Bowl of Fruit and Tankard before a Window, 1890 © National Gallery London, Bequeathed by Simon Sainsbury, 2006

    Roderic O’Conor (1860-1940) A Tree in a Field Private Collection. Photographer: Roy Hewson


    Thursday, July 12th, 2018

    Tate’s chocolate mink swing coat

    Property from the collection of Sharon Tate will be offered by Julien’s auctions in Los Angeles on November 17.  The actress and model’s life and style embodied the essence of the swinging 60’s.  Her most famous role and acclaimed performance came as Jennifer North in the 1967 cult classic film Valley of the Dolls, which earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best New Actress. Her final film role was in The 13 Chairs, also known as 12+1, which was released posthumously in 1969.

    Highlights include a custom made chocolate slubbed silk dress attributed to William Travilla and worn by Tate while being interviewed on the 1968 documentary The New Cinema ($5,000-$7,000); a black floral lace Christian Dior mini dress worn to the London premiere of Roman Polanski’s Cul-de-Sac in 1966 ($15,000-$30,000); The chocolate sheer silk Alba gown worn at The Golden Globe Awards with Roman Polanski in 1968 ($4,000-$6,000); The ivory silk moiré mini wedding dress worn at her London wedding at the Chelsea Registry Office to Roman Polanski in 1968 ($25,000-$50,000); The green knit mini dress designed by Betsey Johnson for Paraphernalia worn at the Paris 1967 premiere of The Fearless Vampire Killers ($1,000-$2,000) and Tate’s chocolate mink swing coat designed by “Fuhrman’s Beverly Hills” with asymmetrical collar and fur puffs for buttons ($20,000-$40,000)


    Thursday, July 12th, 2018

    A  mid 19th century nickel cased eight day chronometer timepiece by Dent of Cockspur St., London was the top lot at Fonsie Mealy’s two day auction in Castlecomer this week.  It made a hammer price of 25,000 in a sale of 900 lots that brought in more than 420,000.  The auction was over 80% sold.  An ethnographic possibly Native American lot modelled as a grotesque figure spread on torso, with hollowed and shape box on back, highlighted with painted faces made 22,000 at hammer.

    A three stone diamond ring sold for 20,000, a set of 27 Malton views of Dublin made 11,000, a George III freedom box made 7,000 and a 1963 Morris Minor saloon made 6,100. An 18th century Irish Penal chalice made 4,000.

    Ethnographic possibly Native American piece made 22,000 at hammer.

    This chronometer made 25,000 at hammer.


    Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

    A new auction record was set for any book illustration at Sotheby’s in London today when the original map of Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood by E.H. Shepard sold for £430,000. Possibly the most famous map in children’s literature, this charming sketch from 1926 was unseen for nearly half a century ahead of the sale. It was offered with an estimate of £100,000-150,000.

    Featuring on the opening end-papers of the original book the sketch introduces readers to the delightful imagination of Christopher Robin and his woodland friends. Exactly 40 years later the map played a starring role in the landmark Disney film – Winnie-the-Pooh and the Honey Tree – where it was brought to life as an animation in the film’s opening sequence. The previous record for any book illustration was £314,500, set at Sotheby’s in December 2014 for the original illustration for Poohsticks. 


    Sunday, July 8th, 2018
    Antique silver,  Oriental and European porcelain, taxidermy, a 19th century pony and trap and a 1963 Morris Minor, garden furniture, old military uniforms, art including a private Irish collection of engravings and drawings by a range of artists including Durer, Van Dyck and Tiepolo and Lady Kildare’s writing desk from Carton are all included on day one of Fonsie Mealy’s two day summer auction in Castlecomer on July 10 and 11.
    The sale on day two features a pair of oak armchairs to a design by Pugin, a stained glass window depicting St. Patrick, 18th century portraits, an Edwardian dolls house in the Tudor style and a Victorian rocking horse, and an interesting selection of art and antique furniture.  A total of 900 lots will come under the hammer, 500 on Tuesday.  The sale comprises lots from a number of houses including Morristown Lattin, Naas, Albert House, Co. Sligo, and Irish American collection and Spire Hall, Portarlington, home of the Odlum family.
    The Tickell Cup, a massive two handled trophy cup made in London in 1899 on an Irish silver stand with three engraved races from Dublin in the same year is estimated at 4,000-6,000.  Lot 281 is a staged specimen of a brown bear cub holding a carved pillar, lot 430 is a cast iron model of a Phoenix from the Royal Phoenix Iron Works, Parkgate St., Dublin (1,500-2,000) and lots 676, the dolls house is estimated at 150-250.
    There is an Irish Penal chalice and a George III freedom box.  A three stone diamond ring with an intense yellow centre stone (20,000-30,000) and three Victorian diamond studded star brooch pendants (5,000-7,000) will are jewellery feature lots and Irish furniture is well represented.  There is a 19th century High Sheriff of Ireland uniform from the Mansfield family of Morristown Lattin (400-600) and uniform jackets including the Kildare Militia. A Kingsbury Motor Blue Bird toy model car is estimated at 180-220.

    Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the land and water speed record using blue birds in the 1920’s and ’30’s. His son Donald also broke land and water speed records and died in 1967 during a speed attempt on Coniston Water.  The catalogue is online.

    Lady Kildare’s writing desk from Carton  UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,400

    A stuffed bear cub  UPDATE: THIS MADE 580

    A Phoenix  UPDATE: THIS MADE 5,200 AT HAMMER

    The Tickell Cup  UPDATE: THIS MADE 5,600 AT HAMMER


    Sunday, July 8th, 2018

    The story behind this long lost Canova painting from London Art Week goes back to Rome in 1792.  Prince Abbondio Rezzonico, a patron of Canova, presented a self portrait by Giorgione, the 16th century Venetian painter, to a group of assembled artists then in Rome including Angelica Kauffman, Gavin Hamilton, Antonio Cavallucci, Giovanni Volpato and others.  All agreed it was an authentic self portrait.

    One year later Canova revealed that he was in fact the painter of the self portrait of Giorgione. The portrait was on a 16th century panel of the Holy Family.  Canova, best known now as a sculptor, was also a skilled painter but he seemed to regard painting as a hobby and rarely sold any of his works.  The story of the fake was known, but the painting was long thought to have been lost.  It was discovered during a valuation in Rome in 2016 and is now on the market in London for one million pounds.


    Saturday, July 7th, 2018
    Louis le Brocquy, Sean McSweeney, Markey Robinson, Peter Curling, Felim Egan, Edward Delaney and Brian Ballard are among the familiar names at Whyte’s summer auction in Dublin at 6 pm on July 9.  There will be nearly 300 lots with estimates from a little as 100 euro making this sale a great opportunity for emerging collectors.

    Lot 63 is the 2009 Obama inauguration poster by Shepard Fairey signed by the artist and estimated at 500-700.  Ceili Dancers by Oisin Kelly, less than six inches high and on a Connemara marble base, is estimated at just 300-500.  For this sale Whyte’s has changed its live  bidding platform.  There will be no extra charge for live bidding on the auction if it is done through Whyte’s.  Those who have already registered with the firm will have to do so again to avail of this. Third party auction platforms like Invaluable or The Saleroom will charge the customer 3% to 5% plus VAT.  The catalogue is online.

    2009 Obama inauguration poster  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 850 AT HAMMER

    Ceili Dancers by Oisin Kelly  UPDATE: THIS MADE 640 AT HAMMER


    Friday, July 6th, 2018

    The continuing international appeal of collecting was demonstrated at Christie’s Old Masters evening sale; The Exceptional Sale 2018 and Thomas Chippendale 300 Years  in London on July 5.  With registered bidders from 33 countries across five continents the sales realised a total of £45,205,750, bringing the running total for Classic Week sales so far to £51,667,375.  The auctions followed global tours of highlights to New York, Hong Kong, Amsterdam and pre-sale public exhibitions in London. Classic Week sales at Christie’s continue until July 12.

    The top lot of the Old Masters sale was Ludovico Carracci’s Portrait of Carlo Alberto Rati Opizzoni in armour which made £5 million.  A bronze group of Hercules Overcoming Achelous by Ferdinando Tacca c1640-50 was the top lot of The Exceptional Sale. It made £6.7 million.  A pair of George III giltwood torcheres c1773 was the the top lot at the Thomas Chippendale auction. These sold for £488,750.

    Ludovico Carracci (Bologna 1555-1619)
    Portrait of Carlo Alberto Rati Opizzoni in armour

    George III Giltwood Torcheres



    Thursday, July 5th, 2018

    James, 20th Earl of Kildare and his wife Emily Mary in the grounds of Carton, by Arthur Devis from the collection of the Duke of Leinster, sold for 262,000 euro at Bonhams Old Master Paintings sale in London on July 4. It had been estimated at 80,000-100,000, and was one of five works from the collection in the sale. They made a combined total of 510,215.

    The painting shows the Earl and his wife seated in the garden of the new family seat at Carton House in Kildare, commissioned by his father in 1739. The Countess is portrayed holding the plans for a bridge.

    Bonhams Representative in Ireland, Kieran O’Boyle, “These five beautiful and important pictures from the collection of the Duke of Leinster created quite the buzz when Bonhams announced their inclusion in today’s Old Master Picture sale. That interest translated into spirited competition among bidders on the telephone and in the room, seeing all five sold, with the wonderful double portrait by Arthur Devis”.

    Portrait of Emily Mary, Duchess of Leinster by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), sold for 92,215.  Portrait of Emilia Olivia, Duchess of Leinster by Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1740-1808), sold for 50,000. A pair of Views of Maynooth Castle by William Ashford P.R.H.A. (1746-1824), sold for 106,000.

    (See post on for June 17, 2018)

    James, 20th Earl of Kildare and his wife Emily Mary in the grounds of Carton, by Arthur Devis

    Portrait of Emily Mary, Duchess of Leinster by Sir Joshua Reynolds


    Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

    J.M.W. Turner – The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen

    One of the greatest watercolours by Turner left in private hands made £2 million at Sotheby’s sale of Old Master and British Works on Paper sale in London today.  The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen, which depicts one of the most dramatic landscapes in the Swiss Alps,  achieved  one of the top prices for a watercolour for an artist.

    Inspired by Turner’s travels to the region between 1841 and 1844, the work was commissioned by his patron Elhanan Bicknell to hang as a companion piece to the iconic Blue Rigi, which achieved a record price at Sotheby’s in 2006 and now hangs in Tate Britain . Works from Turner’s ‘late’ Swiss series, of which this is one, have come to be seen as the ‘climax of a lifetime devoted to the expression of light and colour’.