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  • Archive for January, 2019


    Thursday, January 31st, 2019

    Lucian Freud – Head of a Boy 1956.  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £5,799,100

    Lucian Freud’s 1956 portrait of Garech Browne – Head of a Boy – will make its auction debut at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening sale in London on March 5. The portrait bespeaks the lifelong friendship between Lucian Freud and Garech Browne – dedicated patron of Irish music, poetry and culture, Guinness heir, and last custodian to the magical Luggala estate.

    Freud first visited Luggala in the 1940’s with his wife Kitty, before eloping with Garech’s cousin, Lady Caroline Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, in 1952. This painting of a young Garech was created at the Luggala estate during a potentially fractious moment in the course of Freud’s tempestuous second marriage; he and Caroline acrimoniously separated in 1957, barely a year after its execution.

    Embodying the sensational powers of observation which famously characterise Freud’s work, this is a remarkable example of portraiture executed when Freud was just 34 years of age.  Small in scale and yet boasting a remarkable emotional intensity, the 18 by 18cm work is at once testament to the artist’s masterful control over his subject, and a tremendous tribute to the sitter – the late Hon. Garech Browne.  The portrait hung adjacent to the fireplace in the grand sitting room at Luggala for over half a century.  It is estimated at £4.5-6.5 million.

    Garech, who founded Claddagh Records in 1959, became custodian of Luggala in 1970 and continued the legacy of legendary Guinness hospitality.  He relished live performances by musicians. The Luggala visitors’ book highlights the diversity of musicians who spent time at the house from 1970: singer Dolores Keane, composer Frederick May, singer Marianne Faithfull, Sting, Bono, The Rolling Stones, Mick and Bianca Jagger, and Michael Jackson.


    Thursday, January 31st, 2019

    Sir Peter Paul Rubens’s Nude Study of Young Man with Raised Arms.

    There was a new world auction record for a drawing by Sir Peter Paul Rubens’s when Nude Study of Young Man with Raised Arms made $8.2 million at Sotheby’s in New York.  Considered one of the most important drawings by the artist to appear on the open market in over 50 years it more than doubled the high estimate of $3.5 million.  There was intense competition between two bidders at the morning sale of Old Master Drawings.

    Drawn by the artist shortly after his return to Antwerp from Italy in late 1608 and in preparation for his monumental altarpiece, The Raising of the Cross, the drawing provides the viewer with a fascinating insight into Rubens’s working methods, as well as the energy and vigor employed by the artist in his best drawings.  Throughout his life, Rubens made substantial, chalk figure studies, but his drawings of this type are at their most imposing and sculptural in these first years back in Antwerp. At this pivotal moment, Rubens made figure studies that are genuinely Michelangelesque.

    It formerly belonged to King William II of the Netherlands and his wife Anna Pavlovna, who together amassed one of the finest collections formed anywhere in Europe in the 19th century. While many of the works they owned now reside in major museums, both in the Netherlands and around the world, this drawing was among those that passed down privately through the family.


    Tuesday, January 29th, 2019
    With a total of 807 lots and plenty of realistic estimates the sale at Sheppards online and in Durrow today offers something for new and established collectors. The Winter Show in New York, a world leading antiques fair, highlighted cool contemporary alongside antique pieces as being the way forward in interior style and Sheppards have latched on to this with their sale entitled Decor Decoded.
    The codes on offer here include design decor, decorative art, fine art, sculpture, rugs, silver and jewellery.  A garniture of three Chinese cloisonne enamel vases (200-300) would not be remotely out of place in a contemporary setting.  Lot 639 is an 18th century French transitional side table c1760 with veined grey marble top.  It is estimated at  800-1,200.

    There is much to catch they eye, from Edwardian and Regency mirrors to breakfront bookcases, art and Chinese ceramics.   There are large Chinese blue and white jardinieres, botanical prints, an Art Deco mantle clock, wall light brackets, vases, brass table lamps, a Tibetan bronze bust, lustres, figurines, toureens, bookcases, a Venetian pier mirror, a Georgian workbox and even a set of 15 antique apothecary jars. If that does not set fire to your imagination then it is difficult to say what will.

    (See post on for January 22, 2019)

    A garniture of three Chinese cloisonne vases

    18th century mahogany low boy

    A c1760 French transitional side table


    Monday, January 28th, 2019

    Charles and Sarah Vivian will bring this extremely rare advertising sign to the antique fair at the Silver Springs Hotel in Cork on February 3.  The sign comes complete with several bullet holes.  Measuring four feet by three feet it pre-dates the advent of the telephone and may have been on the building at 33 Bachelor’s Walk in Dublin when it was attacked during the Easter Rising in 1916.

    The building two doors east of 33 Bachelor’s Walk on the corner of Sackville St. was Kelly’s Fishing Tackle and Gunpowder shop.  This became known at Kelly’s Fort as it was occupied by Volunteer Captain Peader Bracken and ten men who were shot and shelled at form the direction of Trinity College. Wallis’s, whose number is listed as Dublin 392 in the 1913 telephone directory, made a successful claim for damages after the Rising and received £107-4-10.


    Sunday, January 27th, 2019

    The top lot was this album of 450 mixed early 20th century cards. This image is of Kingston, Jamaica after the January 1907 earthquake. It made 2,100

    There was a white glove sale at Whyte’s when every single lot from the postcard collection of Dubliner Seamus Kearns went under the hammer yesterday.  Over 100,000 postcards were offered and every single lot was sold.  The sale grossed 130,000, a world record for a single owner collection of picture postcards.

    Seamus Kearns (1929-2014) began collecting stamps in the 1930’s and fell in love with old postcards in the 1950’s when he started amassing this collection. A founder of the Irish Picture Postcard Society, he provided many exhibitions around the country, including a major show at The Guinness Hopstore in 1994. The collection encompassed Irish topographical views, historic events, advertising, comic and greetings. There were also large collections of worldwide cards including Gruss Aus (German Greetings From cards), Art Nouveau and Art Deco, glamour, greetings and comic.

    (See post on antiquesandartireland,com for January 12, 2019)


    Sunday, January 27th, 2019

    Banksy’s Bataclan work.

    A tribute by graffiti artist Banksy to the victims of the Bataclan terror attack in Paris was stolen overnight on Friday.   Banksy painted the work – which showed a young female figure with a mournful expression – as a memorial to the victims of the 2015 terror attack at the Bataclan Music Hall.  A total of 90 people died in the attack.

    The artwork was cut out and removed  from one of the emergency doors at the Bataclan.  The venue tweeted:  “We are today filled with a deep sense of indignation.  Banksy’s work, a symbol of recollection and belonging to all: locals, Parisians, citizens of the world, has been taken from us’.

    It was taken by a group of hooded individuals armed with angle grinders who drove away in a truck.



    Friday, January 25th, 2019

    The wardrobe of Catherine Deneuve designed by Yves Saint Laurent achieved a total of $1,025,581 at Christie’s in Paris last night. The auction lasted 5 hours, witnessing fierce competition from around the globe.  The sale was 100% sold and 90% of all 129 lots sold multiple times above their pre-sale estimates.   The top lot was the Haute Couture evening ensemble of the unique and very sought after Russian Collection, which Mr. Saint Laurent designed for the Fall/Winter collection of 1977/78. Selling at €52,500 it surpassed its high pre-sale estimate by 10 times.   A  short beaded dress designed by Yves Saint Laurent for the Spring/Summer collection of 1969, which the actress wore when she met Alfred Hitchcock the same year in company of Philippe Noiret and François Truffaut, sold for €42,500 against a pre-sale estimate of €3,000-5,000.  Amongst the most sought-after pieces was the famous YSL smoking which she wore at the occasion of Yves Saint Laurent’s 20th anniversary celebration.  It set a new world auction record for any smoking at €20,000.

    The online-only sale offers another 140 items from Catherine Deneuve’s YSL wardrobe and will conclude on January 30.

    (See post on for January 13, 2019)

    The 1977 Russian Collection Photo Jean Luce Hure

    Smoking set a new world record


    Thursday, January 24th, 2019

    The conservation of a former tenement house at 14 Henrietta Street in Dublin’s north inner city has been shortlisted for the prestigious European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2019.  This is one of 40 projects selected from nearly 400 nominations across Europe.  Now a home to Dublin’s social history and open to the public since last September the house at 14 Henrietta Street tells the story of 300 years of city life, all within the walls of one address.   Conservation and restoration work at the Dublin City Council-owned building was carried out over a 10-year period.

    Heritage officer with Dublin City Council, Charles Duggan, who oversaw the restoration project, said:  “The 10-year long journey to rescue, stabilise and ultimately conserve and adapt 14 Henrietta Street entailed not only the stabilisation of the house due to its serious structural condition, but the preservation and recovery of the fragile traces of human occupation embodied in the fabric and form of the house. The conservation of the house and the creation of the museum has been a truly collaborative project; our dedicated design team, led by Shaffrey Architects, GEM Construction, specialist conservationists, researchers, and curators have been guided by conversations with people who lived in tenement flats in this house and on the street.”

    The St Mary’s Medieval Mile Museum in Kilkenny by McCullough Mulvin Architects has also been shortlisted.


    Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

    A total of 386 lots are due to come under the hammer at Morgan O’Driscoll’s online sale of affordable art which runs to January 28 next.  The catalogue is online.  Here is a small selection:

    BANKSY (20TH/21ST CENTURY) BRITISH Banksy Walled Off Hotel box set print (2017)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,600 AT HAMMER

    LOUIS LE BROCQUY (1916-2012) A Flock of Birds (1969)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,500 AT HAMMER



    Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

    The Abduction of Ganymede’, 1635, by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606 – 1669)

    Highlights from the Dresden State Art Collections will be shown at the loan exhibition at TEFAF Maastricht from March 16-24.  The exhibtion will be a prelude to the opening of the State Apartments at Dresden’s Royal Palace in September and the reopening of the Semper Building, home to the Old Masters Picture Gallery, next December.  A total of 23 works from the State Apartments, the Royal Palace, the Semper Building and the Sculpture collection will be on show.  At TEFAF there will be a chance to see works such as The Abduction of Ganymede 1635 by Rembrandt before they go on permanent display in Dresden.

    The opening of the State Apartments in September will be the culmination of an extensive restoration and refurbishment project.  In 1997 the Saxon State Government decided to recreated the suite of rooms opened by August the Strong in September 1719 which had been destroyed in the war.  Outstanding textiles, porcelain and furniture will illustrate the splendour of the Saxon Court within the State Apartments.

    Highlights to be shown include the Crown of August  the Strong, Elector of Saxony, King of Poland, created in 1697 (from the Rüstkammer); a rare series of five Meissen vases, four depicting the elements and one centre vase bearing the coat of arms and portrait of Ludwig XV, created by Johann Joachim Kändler (from the Porzellansammlung); the extraordinary painting The Abduction of Ganymede, 1635, by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606 – 1669) (from the Gemäldegalerie); and an exquisite sculpture, Apollo and Daphne, after Bernini, which dates c.1700 (from the Skulpturensammlung).