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


    Monday, May 20th, 2019

    An Irish painting by the American artist Rockwell Kent comes up at Sotheby’s American Art sale in New York on May 21. Craigbeefin dates to 1926-27 and is estimated at $70,000-100,000. In a catalogue note Sotheby’s say that the paintings Rockwell Kent created while in Ireland can be categorised in two groups: one, the detailed landscape and human infused compositions such as Annie Mc Ginley (private collection) and Dan Ward’s Stack (The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia); and two, the stark, modelled landscapes that focus more on abstract form–such as in the work of Arthur Dove and Georgia O’Keeffe–that are more a human reflection on the essence of the world around us. Craigbeefin represents the latter. It was exhibited in New York at Wildenstein & Company’s Important Exhibition of Paintings of Ireland and Elsewhere by Rockwell Kent (Paintings by Rockwell Kent), April-May 1927, and at the ACA Galleries in New York in 1989.

    Craigbeefin by Rockwell Kent (1882-1971)


    Sunday, May 19th, 2019

    Bishop Willie Walsh of Killaloe is generally considered by liberals in Ireland to be one of the good guys. An arresting portrait of the catholic bishop who retired in 2010 by Brian Maguire, one of Ireland’s leading expressionist artists, comes up at Morgan O’Driscoll’s current online sale of Irish art which runs to May 20. It seems an appropriate pairing. Maguire’s long career has seen him reach fearlessly into the plight of people in uncomfortable places many of us might chose to not go – suicidal prisoners in Irish jails, children of the favelas in South America, refugees at risk of drowning in the Mediterranean and displaced Syrians and Sudanese are all on his list of subjects.

    Brian Maguire’s Portrait of Bishop Willie Walsh

    The Maguire portrait is lot 80 and estimated at 1,500-2,000. Meantime it might be of interest to not that the remains of the fishing vessel Barca Nostra, in which up to 900 migrants died when it sank in the Mediterranean in 2015, is displayed at the 58th Venice Art Biennale which runs to next November 24. 


    Saturday, May 18th, 2019

    This painting by George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson – Naval Ships off Roches Point – show two frigates of the Royal Navy with a date that appears to read 1855.  The former curator of the Crawford Gallery Peter Murray reckons it to be one of the most significant works by the Cork artist.  Atkinson was born in Cove, later Queenstown and now Cobh,  around 1806 and spent his early life at sea as a ships carpenter. He became government surveyor of shipping and emigrants at Queenstown, where he was known as Captain Atkinson. He was a self taught artist whose works show a thorough knowledge of the sea. His three sons and one daughter all later became painters. Atkinson first showed at the Cork Art Union in 1841 and exhibited in the Royal Hibernian Academy from 1842.  The work will be displayed at the Gorry Gallery, Molesworth St., Dublin as part of an exhibition of 17th-21st century Irish art which runs from May 23 until June 8.


    Friday, May 17th, 2019

    THE current online auction of Irish art by Morgan O’Driscoll runs to the evening of May 20. There are 242 lots and the catalogue is online. Here is a sample:

    PETER CURLING (B.1955) – Over the last
    Mark O’Neill (b1963) – Interior with lilac (2002)


    Thursday, May 16th, 2019

    Jeff Koons’ Rabbit sculpture sold for $91.1 million at Christie’s in New York last night, a new world record price for a living artist. The steel cast of an inflatable created in 1986 made more than $20 million over the top estimate.

    Jeff Koons (b1955) – Rabbit

    The Post War and Contemporary Art evening sale brought in $538,971,750. There were 56 lots offered and 51 were sold. Koons’ Rabbit and Robert Rauschenberg’s Buffalo II ($88.8 million) were the two top lots of the auction. Spider by Louise Bourgeois sold for $32,055,000 million, a world auction record and the second highest price at auction for a woman artist.

    There were world auction records for Koons’, Rauschenberg, Bourgeois, Frank Stella, Larry Rivers, Jonas Wood and Daniel Buren. Koons previously held the record for a work by a living artist with Balloon Dog (Orange). Last year the honour went to David Hockney Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) which sold for just over $90 million.

    (See post on for March 27, 2019)


    Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

    There was a world record for Monet at Sotheby’s in New York last night when Meules (Haystacks) sold for $110.7 million. This is the first work of Impressionist art to break the $100 million barrier and is 44 times the price achieved when Meules last sold at auction in 1986.

    The scene at the auction room

    A total of 13 works of Impressionism achieved $160 million – nearly half of the auction total of $333.2 million. Another highlight was Gustave Caillebotte’s La Rue Halévy, vue du sixième étage from 1878, which well-exceeded its $8 million high estimate to sell for $13.9 million.

    Helena Newman, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Impressionist & Modern Art, said: “Tonight we saw a great depth of impassioned bidding from around the globe, fueled by works long-cherished in private collections.  Nearly two-thirds of the lots offered tonight had never before appeared at auction, and the market responded enthusiastically – helping us to achieve our highest total since 2015, and our second consecutive evening sale with a sell-through rate over 90%. With the record-breaking Monet leading the charge, the Impressionist and Modern market is as strong as it has ever been in my more than 30 years in this business.”

    (See posts on for April 16 and May 7, 2019)


    Monday, May 13th, 2019

    Photographic works including images of Irish travellers by the pioneering photographer Charles Harry Hewitt (1915-1987) will come up at Chiswick Auctions Photographica sale in London on May 16.

    Irish Travellers, Dublin c1950’s.

    Known as ‘Slim Hewitt’, due to his slender frame, he led the way in reportage photography at The Picture Post and on the BBC’s Tonight programme. His fly on the wall style photography and filming has been described by those that knew him as having “the drive and ability to bring the world and its events before its audience.” Starting out as a war photographer, taking photos of the Normandy landings and the inside of Belsen Prisoner of war camp, ‘Slim’ had a unique ability to retain all nuances of a situation and encapsulate them in his work.


    Monday, May 13th, 2019

    A set of Finn Juhl chairs designed in 1946 for the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers Guild exhibition and which were used as boardroom chairs at the Gowan Group in Ballsbridge come up at de Veres design auction in Dublin on May 19.

    One of a number of pairs of chairs by Finn Juhl  UPDATE: THREE LOTS OF TWO CHAIRS MADE HAMMER PRICES OF 11,000, 11,500 AND 11,500 RESPECTIVELY.

    This is a pop up auction of 180 lots of classic design furniture and lighting, 250 lots of contemporary Irish art and wines from the 2005 Bordeaux vintage. Danish and Italian pieces from the 1950’s, ’60’s and ’70’s are included along with work by Arne Jacobsen, Eileen Gray, Florence Knoll, Willy Rizzo, Cini Boeri and Pierre Paulin with furniture by Bo Concept and Ligne Roset.   There is art by Patrick Scott, Michael Farrell, Neil Shawcross and the balance of The Axa Art collection sold last year by de Veres.    The 93 cases of en primeur wine are to be sold in a timed auction with bidding up to 8 pm on May 19.  The auction at 2 pm on May 19 takes place at 35 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin. The catalogue is online.

    An Italian triennale floor lamp attributed to Angelo Lelli UPDATE: THIS FAILED TO SELL


    Sunday, May 12th, 2019

    This 1887 work by Paul Gauguin, Chemin sous les palmiers comes up at Sotheby’s evening sale in New York on May 14. It is one of a series completed by Gauguin on his trip to the Caribbean island of Martinique from June to November of 1887.  This was his initial experience as an artist in an island environment.  Enthralled by the tropical landscape and native people Gauguin’s strong desire for a life outside Europe was born in Martinique.  The paintings he created there foreshadowed the works he would later complete in Tahiti. He departed for Polynesia in 1891. This work from the Levy family collection of Dallas is estimated at $6-8 million.


    Saturday, May 11th, 2019

    With just 129 pieces the Masterworks auction at Sbeppards in Durrow on May 16 is short on lots but long on interest.  The selection on offer is wide ranging and estimates vary from 140-180 for a first period Belleek basket to 35,000-45,000 for a signed watercolour head of Samuel Beckett by Louis le Brocquy which has been on loan to the University of Limerick for the last ten years.

    19th century Italian ebony pietra dura and ormolu cabinet on stand

    The sale kicks off with a 12 bottle case of 2006  Chateau Mouton Rothschild estimated at 3,500-4,500. It then ranges through a 19th century French ormolu clock garniture, an early Persian sword, Art Deco bronzes, a 2002 model Steinway boudoir grand piano, a Venetian violin to a Killarney work table. There are some Old Master paintings and a 19th century Italian cabinet on stand with Pietra Dura inserts estimated at 35,000-45,000. There are Meissen parrots, French panels, an 18th century Chippendale pier mirror, a Chinese rosewood screen, a pair of Venetian blackamoor figures and an early Sino-Tibetan bronze buddha.The catalogue cover lot is a Chinese Qing gilt bronze and polychrome censer in the form of a foo dog with an estimate of 15,000-20,000. The catalogue is online.

     Chinese Qing censer in the form of a foo dog