Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • Archive for March, 2019


    Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

    A Fabergé tiara wedding gift from Frederick Francis IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1882-1945) to his bride Princess Alexandra of Hanover and Cumberland (1882-1963) comes up at Christie’s sale of Magnificent Jewels in Geneva on May 15. The 1904 tiara is of symbolic design with forget-me-not flowers tied with ribbon bows, signifying true and eternal love, pierced by arrows representing cupid. Composed of nine graduated pear-shaped aquamarines, old, cushion and rose-cut diamonds, the historic tiara has a pre-sale estimate of US$ 230,000-340,000.

    The Faberge Tiara

    The Grand Duke’s mother, Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia, was a keen Fabergé collector, and encouraged him to order his wedding present at the atelier Fabergé in St Petersburg. At the time of their 1904 marriage Frederick was 22 and Alexandra, 21. Archives show correspondence between the Grand Ducal Cabinet of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Eugène Fabergé, revealing deliberations on a commission of an important jewel. One of the letters dated 10 May discussed the possibilities that could be offered: ‘a diamond tiara’ for 10’000 roubles or ‘an aquamarine and diamond tiara’ for 7’500 roubles, and that only using aquamarines as gemstones was not possible. Another letter referred to drawings with designs Fabergé proposed for the top section of the tiara, sent to the Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna for her son’s approval. However, these drawings went missing. Fabergé expressed concerns that he held no copies himself and did not know which design appealed to the Grand Duke.

    Two weeks before the marriage Fabergé wrote to the Grand Ducal Cabinet that he was yet to receive any instructions to proceed. For a second time he asked for the return of the drawings as he could not advance his work without them. A subsequent letter referred to a completion for the wedding on 7 June, as requested by the Grand Duke by which Fabergé declared that it was impossible to execute the commission in such a short time. On the day of the wedding the Princess wore the traditional Hanoverian nuptial crown commissioned in 1761 for the wedding of King George III of England and Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The Fabergé tiara, her own special wedding gift from the Grand Duke, followed later.


    Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

    Art by Cezanne, Warhol and Koons will feature among eleven works from the collection of S.I. Newhouse at Christie’s in New York in May. They will come up at the evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on May 13 and Post War and Contemporary Art on May 15. Representing Newhouse’s globally renowned taste and unfailing instinct for quality and historical significance, these works together trace key developments in the evolution of modern art, from the exceptional compositional inventiveness of Cézanne’s Bouilloire et fruits, 1888-1890 (estimate in the region of $40 million) to the quintessential image from Andy Warhol’s incomparable Death and Disaster Series, Little Electric Chair, 1964-1965 (estimate: $6-8 million). No work is more emblematic of Newhouse’s intuition for the revolutionary and sublime than Jeff Koons’ 1986 sculpture, Rabbit (estimate: $50-70 million). The group of 11 works is expected to exceed $130 million throughout 20th Century Week.


    Tobias Meyer, advisor to the Newhouse Family said:“Si Newhouse was one of the most important collectors of the 20th century and well into the 21st. He personified the rare combination of a great intuitive eye and equally great intellectual curiosity. He read voraciously about the artists he admired, and nothing could stop him once he decided to acquire a work of art that measured up to his exacting standards. Learning from Si was a privilege, and now helping his family is the highest honor of my career. It is a real pleasure to work with these amazing paintings and sculptures.”

    PAUL CÉZANNE (1839-1906) Bouilloire et fruits UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $59 MILLION

    ANDY WARHOL (1928-1987) Little Electric Chair UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $8.2 MILLION


    Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

    The evening sale of Important Irish Art at James Adam in Dublin on March 27 offers a broad selection of 166 lots. The earliest painting in the auction is a 1760 landscape by George Barret senior and there is a good selection of mid-20th century art and sculpture. The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    See posts on for March 16 and March 22, 2019.

    George Barret senior – Landscape with figures UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD
    Patrick O’Reilly (b.1957) Two Cows as Milk Cartons (2008) UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,200 AT HAMMER


    Monday, March 25th, 2019

    A cinematic masterpiece by Jean-Léon Gérôme will lead Sotheby’s annual Orientalist Sale in London on April 30. Rider and His Steed in the Desert is a unique work in Gérôme’s oeuvre. Dating to 1872 this highly charged picture captures both the stoicism of the North African tribespeople and a heroic struggle between man and nature. Estimated at £1-1.5 million the oil is one of five works by Gérôme in a sale comprising 79 paintings, watercolours and sculptures that together offer fascinating historical insights into the Arab, Ottoman, and Islamic worlds during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Claude Piening, Sotheby’s Head of Orientalist Paintings remarked: Rider and his Steed, the highlight of the sale, is an especially powerful and emotional image of a moment of tenderness between man and beast against the backdrop of the sun-drenched desert. Cinematic in its conception even before the medium of film existed, with its wide-angle perspective and bright luminosity, the viewer is drawn into the scene which engages our imagination and our empathy.

    Jean-Léon GérômeRider and his Steed in the Desert


    Sunday, March 24th, 2019

    Tralee shows Jack B. Yeats in the last and most romantic phase of his early style.  The 1924 work comes up at de Veres evening sale of Irish art at the Royal College of Physicians on Kildare St., Dublin at 6 pm on March 26 with an estimate of 150,000-200,000. Against a background of post sunset fading light it shows an old man gazing reflectively at the water with young people passing by. It can be read as a comment on the past and the future. Emigration had been halted since 1914 by the First World War and the war in Ireland which followed. In 1924 cheap fares to America saw a flood of young people leaving the country. The painting was previously owned both by Sean Lemass and Charles Haughey.

    (See post on for Marcb 21, 2019)

    Tralee by Jack B Yeats UPDATE: THIS MADE 180,000 AT HAMMER


    Friday, March 22nd, 2019

    Many of this country’s finest painters and sculptors from the last 250 years feature at the James Adam evening sale of Irish art in Dublin on March 27. The Children’s Fairing by Erskine Nicol is a masterpiece of Victorian artistic storytelling which brings a sense of luxury to a muddy harbour market.  It is an atmospheric work where the viewer becomes a spectator as the seller  offers fruit to a passer by and possible purchaser.  Dating to 1870 and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1871 it was once in the collection of the Lady Lever Gallery at Port Sunlight at The Wirral and is estimated at 15,000-20,000.Art of a different order is available in FE McWilliam’s Leg Figure.  The bronze dates to 1977 and is estimated at 6,000-10,000.The earliest work in the sale is a large oil by George Barret senior dating to about 1760.  The spectacular landscape, probably by the Dargle on the Powerscourt estate, features anglers and figures including a baby and a dog.  It carries an estimate of 50,000-80,000.

    The catalogue is online. Among 166 lots is work by sculptors like John Behan, Rory Breslin, Bob Quinn, Stephen Lawlor and Patrick O’Reilly.

    Leg Figure by F E McWilliam UPDATE; THIS MADE 15,000 AT HAMMER
    The Children’s Fairing by Erskine Nicol UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Thursday, March 21st, 2019

    The rarest Beatles record in the world features at Julien’s Auctions music icons sale in Liverpool on May 9. John Lennon’s signed album “Yesterday And Today” (1966), a U.S. First State Butcher prototype stereo example will highlight the auction. Displayed on the wall of his Dakota apartment in New York until he had an assistant take it down and deliver it to the Record Plant where he signed it in blue ink: “To Dave from/ John Lennon/ Dec 7th 71.” it is considered the rarest Beatles record in the world.
    The recipient was Dave Morrell, a Beatles fan and bootleg collector. “The Butcher” was given in essentially a trade for a reel-to-reel tape of Morrell’s Yellow Matter Custard bootleg that Lennon desired. Lennon filled the blank back of the cover with a drawing depicting a man holding a shovel with his dog in front of a setting sun. The cover also includes autographs by Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, which Morrell obtained later. This is believed to be the only First State Butcher album bearing three Beatles signatures and is estimated at $160,000-$180,000.

    The venue for the live and online sale is The Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool. Other top lots include a Beatles signed baseball from their final US concert and John Lennon’s signed guitar strap.

    Julien’s Auctions will partner once again with The Beatles Story to bring their Beatles and Merseybeat “Memorabilia Day” back home to Liverpool on Friday, May 10 for a Beatlemania event. Fans and collectors are invited to bring in their Beatles memorabilia to have appraised by the experts for free at The Beatles Story’s Fab4 Cafe on the Royal Albert Dock.

    UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £180,000


    Thursday, March 21st, 2019

    A number of Irish collections have contributed to de Veres evening sale of Irish art which takes place at the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin on March 26. The sale of 140 lots at de Veres includes two Enignum chairs by the Cork based internationally renowned designer Joseph Walsh each estimated at 8,000-12,000.  The collection of singer Brian Kennedy includes nine works by Patrick Scott.  There is art by Jack B. Yeats, Mainie Jellett, Louis le Brocquy, John Doherty, Felim Egan, Kenneth Webb, Markey Robinson, William John Leech, Patrick Hennessy, Lady Beatrice Glenavy, Dan O’Neill, Colin Middleton, Tony O’Malley, Charles Tyrrell and many others.

    Enignum chair by Joseph Walsh UPDATE: THIS MADE 8,500 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

    A pen and India ink drawing on paper by Pablo Picasso from the collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art comes up at Christie’s, Paris on March 28. Dating from October 1932 the work is part of the important but little-known series of India ink on paper addressing the theme of Joueurs de flûte et nus couchés.

    PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973) Joueuse de flûte et nu couché, (€250,000-350,000) UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 286,000

    It represents Picasso muse Marie-Thérèse Walter. The relationship between Picasso and the young Marie-Thérèse is thought to have begun as far back as 1927. Many years later, she would tell Life Magazine, “When I met Picasso I was 17. I was an innocent young gamine. I knew nothing – life, Picasso, nothing. I had gone shopping at the Galeries Lafayette and Picasso saw me coming out of the metro. He simply grabbed me by the arm and said: ‘I’m Picasso! You and I are going to do great things together’”

    The drawing underscores the amorous excitement Picasso felt in that pivotal year, as illustrated in the exhibition Picasso 1932 – Année érotique held at the Musée Picasso in Paris and at the Tate London in 2017-2018. The drawing was gifted by the artist to his dealer Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler, before being donated to MoMA by American painter Eve Clendenin in 1961. It is being sold to benefit the MoMA acquisition fund.


    Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

    There was a new record for any item sold in an online only auction at Sotheby’s when Friedrich von Hayek’s Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science Prize medal made £1.1 million. It led a white glove online only auction of 27 lots from von Hayek’s personal collection. More than 1,000 bids were placed on the 27 lots.

    Elsewhere in the sale, von Hayek’s personal underlined and annotated copy of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, estimated at £3,000-5,000, sold for £150,000. The Presidential Medal of Freedom presented to von Hayek by President George H.W. Bush in 1991, estimated at £10,000-15,000, reached £112,500.

    The auction brought in £2.04 million, quadruple the pre -sale estimate.

    See post on for March 3, 2019.

    The Nobel Prize awarded for Economic Science in 1974

    The previous benchmark for the most valuable item ever sold in a Sotheby’s online-only sale was $800,000, achieved the only complete archive of Supreme skate decks ain private hands which sold to Vancouver Collector Carson Guo in January 2019.