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  • Archive for November, 2019


    Saturday, November 30th, 2019

    Major evening winter sales of art take place in Dublin at Whyte’s on December 2 and James Adam on December 4. There are two works by William Scott (1913-1989) at Adams purchased from his estate and never before on the market.  Still Life with Pan and Bowl is estimated at 200,000-300,000 and Red on Red has an estimate of 150,000-200,000.  Dated to 1967 this latter work featured in his retrospective at the Tate Gallery in 1972 and is related to the RTE abstract of the same year commissioned for RTE which sold for £187,500 at Sotheby’s in London last week. In sharp contrast to this work Cottages by a Lake by Paul Henry, one of three paintings in this auction by an artist whose work achieves stellar results, is estimated at 80,000-120,000.  There is a portrait of J.P. Dunleavy painted by Robert Ballagh to mark his 60th birthday and The Irish Farm by Margaret Clarke is the original 1930 artwork for the Empire Marketing Board Free State Butter poster. There are some highly affordable artworks with low estimates of up to 600 by artists like Anita Shelbourne RHA, Imogen Stuart, Colin Middleton, Mainie Jellett, Rosamund Praeger, Ronald Ossory Dunlop and Elizabeth Rivers.  If the budget stretches to 1,000 and beyond the choice widens considerable. 

    Whyte’s, which goes on view at the RDS today hot on the heels of the sale of the Ernie O’Malley collection last Monday, offers art by Yeats, le Brocquy, Dan O’Neill, Sir William Orpen and Paul Henry alongside international artists like Andy Warhol and a selection of  19 North American works from the collection of Anglo Irish Banks.  These are from their New York office and are being sold by the special IBRC liquidator.  Why Anglo in their heyday did not avail of the opportunity to hang Irish art in their New York offices is yet another Irish banking mystery. The 238 lots on offer at Whyte’s includes a joyous Bahamas canvas by Tony O’Malley titled Air, Water, Light (40,000-60,000) which was purchased from the  collection of the Bank of Ireland almost a decade ago.  A painting of Glencree, Co. Wicklow by Paul Henry is estimated at 60,000-80,000. Given what Whyte’s describe as an upsurge of interest in the work of Irish women artists there should be plenty of bidders for a selection of paintings by Letitia Hamilton and one by her sister Eva.  A portrait of James Joyce by Louis le Brocquy is estimated at 18,000-22,000 and a 1952 work by Maurice MacGonigal depicts the artists wife and family with dog at Errisberg, Co. Mayo (20,000-30,000). Lot 46, Figures on a staircase, York St., Dublin by Patrick Hennessy was painted in 1942 when the street was the site of a terrace of grand Georgian houses that had become one of the worst tenements in Dublin. They were pulled down in the 1960’s to make way for modern social housing. In this work Hennessy documents some of the grimmest poverty to be found anywhere in the country with large families in single rooms, no sanitation and no privacy. He depicts a woman reading a newspaper on the landing with another woman looking out nervously from her doorway at a time of war. The work is estimated at 8,000-10,000. 

    The Anglo collection was acquired mostly through artists agents and galleries and offers a selection of mostly contemporary North American artists at price guides ranging from 500 to  2,000. Three of the works, in sets of nine, five and three respectively, are more  expensively estimated.  They are Glass Series 2004 by Kermit Berg (4,000-5,000);  Scene Studies 2000 by Carla Arocha (3,000-5,000) and Seething City This is and We Experience by Gabart Farrar (2,000-3,000).

    The Irish Farm by Margaret Clarke at James Adam (12,000-16,000). UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD
    Air, Water, Light Bahamas by Tony O’Malley at Whyte’s (40,000-60,000). UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Friday, November 29th, 2019

    A single stone rectangular cut diamond ring of 6.74 carats is, at 160,000-200,000, the most expensively estimated lot at the James Adam sale of fine jewellery and watches in Dublin on December 3. A pair of diamond ear studs is estimated at 50,000-60,000 and a sapphire and diamond pendant on chain has an estimate of 25,000-30,000. A total of 246 lots will come under the hammer in this evening sale.

    This ring is estimated at 160,000-200,000. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Thursday, November 28th, 2019

    Irish and International art will come under the hammer at Whyte’s in Dublin on December 2. The auction will include 19 lots from the New York offices of Anglo Irish Bank on behalf of the special liquidator of the IBRC. On offer is a selection of contemporary North American art at very affordable prices. Orpen’s 1919 portrait of Capt. Robert John Woods of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers is described thus by Prof. Kenneth McConkey: “A handsome fellow has lost his youth, his greatcoat weighs him down, and behind his eyes are the horrors he has seen. Long, slow looking, patience, and an accurate eye provide for great psychologicalpenetration in Orpen’s picture of this quiet Ulsterman in uniform.” The portrait is estimated at 25,000-30,000.



    Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

    Art by Patrick Collins, Hughie O’Donoghue, Barrie Cooke, Basil Blackshaw, John B. Vallely and Markey Robinson performed well at de Vere’s in Dublin tonight. The walking cane once owned by Michael Collins made a hammer price of 11,000 over a top estimate of 4,000. F.E. McWilliam’s Anthropomorphic Bean once in the collection of Lehman Brothers failed to find a buyer. The top lot was Hughie O’Donoghue’s Return of Ulysses Blue Elegy which made 30,000 at hammer. Among the other top lots, with hammer prices in brackets, were: A memory of W.B. Yeats walking in Dublin by Patrick Collins (29,000); Moorland Water by Patrick Collins (26,000); Five Musicians by John B. Vallely (21,000); Frission by Mark Frances (20,000); Longshore VIII by Donald Teskey (18,000); Wind, Strings and Reeds by John B. Vallely (15,000); Big Forest Borneo by Barrie Cooke (14,500); Landscape by Basil Blackshaw (13,000); Image of Seamus Heaney by Louis le Brocquy (12,000); Arrival of the catch by Markey Robinson (11,000) and Winter Pattern by Tony O’Malley (10,000).

    (See post on for November 24, 2019)

    Hughie O’Donoghue – Return of Ulysses, Blue Elegy


    Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

    A rare pair of German 19th Century finely carved ivory relief panels was the top lot at Fonsie Mealy’s Chatsworth fine art sale in Castlecomer today. They made a hammer price of 15,000. Among the other top lots with hammer prices in brackets were a large stuffed and mounted Bengal Tiger head (7,500); The Wooing of Emer by Cuchulainn from the Harry Clarke Studios (7,000); an 18th century French Regence commode (6,400); an 18 carat gold mesh necklace set with diamonds by Boodles (3,500); a private collection of 18th century blue and white English porcelain (3,400); a Georgian Irish Chippendale style breakfront bookcase (2,800); a light grey Chanel handbag (3,300); a Spode dinner service (1,700); a 19th century Canton carved jewellery casket (1,500) and an embroidered Chinese silk robe (1,100).

    One of a pair of German carved relief panels of ancient battle scenes.


    Monday, November 25th, 2019

    NOT one but two works of art by Jack B. Yeats soared past the million euro mark at the sale of the Ernie O’Malley collection by Whyte’s and Christie’s in Dublin tonight. There were five major oils by the artist in the sale. The Enfolding Night, a work from 1947, was the first to go and it made 520,000 at hammer. This was followed minutes later by Reverie from 1931 which made 1.4 million at hammer. Each of these works had been estimated at 500,000-700,000. Lot 30, Evening in Spring, was similarly estimated and sold for 1.3 million. Death for Only One, which dates to 1937, made a within estimate hammer price of 470,000. Lastly The Fighting Dawn from 1945 made a within estimate 320,000 at hammer.

    The Land Eire 1940 by Mainie Jellett made 110,000 at hammer over a top estimate of 40,000. This was a hugely successful White Glove sale of 100 lots. The sale of the first lot, an 1899 sketch of the Castle of Kinvara by Yeats, for 14,000 at hammer over a top estimate of 1,500 was an important indicator of how things would go. Many lots, even minor sketches and pencil drawings, made significantly more than the top estimate. It underlines the importance of a good collection. Ernie O’Malley was a leading revolutionary an in Ireland from 1916-22 who went on to publish two books detailing his experiences. The sale and international exhibitions provided an opportunity to discover his private passion for art and the relationships he developed with artists he encountered in America and Ireland. 

    The sale grossed 5.5 million, the highest result ever achieved by an art auction in Ireland.

    Reverie by Yeats made 1.4 million at hammer


    Monday, November 25th, 2019

    Thieves stole priceless treasures from Dresden’s Grünes Gewölbe early today. The Green Vault houses one of Europe’s largest collection of treasures.  At least three priceless 18th-century diamond jewellery sets were stolen, the General Director of Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden Marion Ackermann said. The material value is low, the historic and cultural value is impossible to gauge she added.

    There is speculation that the jewel sets, with 37 parts each, may be broken up for re-sale. They are too well known to be sold legally. The sets are reported to include rubies, emeralds and sapphires. The collection was created in the 18th century by Saxony’s ruler, Augustus the Strong. One of the most valuable jewels normally housed there, a 41 carat green diamond, is currently on show in New York.

    The museum’s power supply was affected by a fire before the break-in. The energy supplier said it was investigating if the two events were linked. Police said power failure plunged the entire area into darkness, making video analysis difficult. Two thieves were seen on camera entering through a window and later escaping in a vehicle. Police said there may be more people involved.

    The Green Vault at Dresden.


    Monday, November 25th, 2019

    This pair of Edwardian mahogany knife urns comes up at Sheppard’s two day sale entitled Desire: Sparkling Jewels and Inspirational Interiors in Durrow, Co. Laois on November 26 and 27. They are estimated at 400-600. The auction is now on view in Durrow and the catalogue is online.


    Sunday, November 24th, 2019

    A reticulated Qianlong fish vase at Fonsie Mealy’s sale in Castlecomer on November 26 is similar to the Yamanaka reticulated vase that made just over £19 million at Sotheby’s in 2018. That one was one of the most complex porcelains ever conceived by Tang Ying for the Emperor Qianlong and was a pair to a controversial sale in 2010. That one sold at hammer at north London auctioneers Bainbridges for £43 million to a Chinese billionaire who subsequently baulked at fees of 20%.  After a two year stalemate the sale fell through. The vase was eventually sold in a deal brokered by Bonhams to an unidentified buyer from the Far East who is believed to have paid up to £25 million for it. The fish vase at Fonsie Mealy is estimated at a mere 6,000-8,000.

    Viewing is underway in Castlecomer for Fonsie Mealy’s Winter Chatsworth Fine Art Sale.  There is furniture, paintings, Old Masters, Irish art, silver, objets d’Art, taxidermy and an Irish private collection of Oriental ceramics and art.

    The Fonsie Mealy vase. : UPDATE – THIS WAS UNSOLD
    The Yamanaka Reticulated Vase


    Sunday, November 24th, 2019

    A walking cane owned by Michael Collins is included in de Veres Irish Art Auction at the Royal College of Physicians on Kildare St. at 6 pm on November 26. The cane, lot 84, was given by Collins to John Cormack, his driver, who had been shot during a gun battle at Dublin’s Red Cow c1921.  It comes to auction through  Cormack’s grand-daughter and is estimated at 2,000-4,000.The catalogue cover lot, F.E. MacWilliam’s Anthropomorphic Bean (1965) was once in the collection of the infamous investment bankers Lehman Brothers and was housed at No. 3 World Financial Centre adjacent to the twin towers in New York on 9/11. It is estimated at 25,000-35,000.  Other highlights of the sale include four small Dan O’Neill oils, a Big Forest Borneo triptych by Barrie Cooke and A Memory of W.B.Yeats walking in Dublin by Patrick Collins.  Viewing is now underway at de Veres at 35 Kildare St. in Dublin.


    Anthropomorphic Bean by F.E. McWilliam. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD