Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • Archive for January, 2020


    Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

    A total of 21 Claddagh rings from the collection of the Hon Garech Browne, founder of Claddagh Records, sold for a total of £75,759 at Sotheby’s Royal and Noble sale in London today. They made various prices from £625 to £9,375 for a c1700 ring made by Thomas Meade of Kinsale or Galway. Most went over estimate and one lot, a c1820 ring estimated at £2,500-3,500 remained unsold. The top lot of the sale was an Anglo Indian ivory inlaid writing table, Vizagapatam, which made 471,000 over a top estimate of £180,000. A c1815 Irish Regency seven pedestal dining table once at Carton House with an estimate of £80,000-120,000 failed to sell. A set of eight Irish George III hall chairs from Killadoon House in Co. Kildare sold for £47,500 over a top estimate of £25,000. A caricature from Killadoon after Sir Joshua Reynolds depicting Thomas Brudenell Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury, the Hon. John Ward, Joseph Leeson, later 2nd Earl of Milltown and Joseph Henry of Straffan made £87,500 over a top estimate of £6,000.

    (See posts on for January 12, 2020, December 31, 2019 and December 20, 2019)

    This caricature from Killadoon House after Sir Joshue Reynolds shows Thomas Brudenell Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury, the Hon John Ward, Joseph Leeson, later 2nd Earl of Milltown and Joseph Henry of Straffan.


    Monday, January 20th, 2020

    Cecil Maguire’s Fair Day, Clifden made a hammer price of 9,500 at Morgan O’Driscoll’s online sale of Irish art tonight. It was one of a number of encouraging results in O’Driscoll’s first online sale of 2020. Glenveagh Hills, Donegal by James Humbert Craig, Picnic by a River by Frank McKelvey and Farm Gate, Wicklow by Peter Collis each made hammer prices of 4,200; Fishing Village, Connemara by Maurice Wilks made 3,600, Venice by Arthur Maderson made 3,400 and Lake Scene, Evening by Percy French made 2,700. There will be an online sale of affordable Irish art by Morgan O’Driscoll on January 27.

    CECIL MAGUIRE (B.1930) – Fair Day, Clifden


    Sunday, January 19th, 2020

    A copy of William Shakespeare’s First Folio will come up as part of the Exceptional Sale during Classic Week at Christie’s New York next April 24. The First Folio, bringing together for the first time the collected plays of Shakespeare, ranks as the greatest work of the English language and, indeed, of world literature. Already celebrated on its first publication, it has remained a highly sought-after masterpiece over four centuries.  Only six complete copies are known in private hands.

    It was published in 1623 by Shakespeare’s friends and fellow actors, John Heminge and Henry Condell, who collaborated after the writer’s death to compile this authoritative edition of his work. The First Folio contains thirty-six of Shakespeare’s plays, including eighteen that may have otherwise been lost forever — among the rescued works are Macbeth, The Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, and Julius Caesar. This is the first time in nearly 20 years that a complete copy of the First Folio has come to auction. It is being sold on behalf of Mills College in Oakland, California and is estimated at $4-6 million.

    William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. Published According to the True Originall Copies.
    London: Printed by Isaac Jaggard and Ed. Blount, 1623
    UPDATE: IT MADE $9,978,000 and established a new world auction record for any work of literature at Christie’s on October 14.


    Saturday, January 18th, 2020

    The Winter Show which gets underway in New York on January 24 is a celebration of diverse world cultures from antiquity to the present day. The leading art, antiques and design fair in the US attracts experts in fine and decorative arts from around the world.The reach of objects on display is global too.  Among the 2020 highlights are a c1725 George I red japanned bookcase, an Egyptian green basalt bust of a nobleman from the Late Dynastic Period c664-610 BC, a c1849 Sevres enamel ewer, an aboriginal rainforest softwood painted shield, a Fang Ancestral Reliquary from Gabon, Africa, an 1815 New York City made pier table and a Japanese burl wood stand designed to instal a small object dedicated to meditation.The annual loan exhibition for which this show is renowned offers visitors a focused look at exceptional collections.This year it features masterworks, including a Velazquez portrait, from the Hispanic Society Museum and Library spanning 4000 years of history, art and culture from the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America and The Philippines. There is work by El Greco and Goya, mid 18th century painting from the Cuzco School in Peru, an exceptional 17th century aquamanile or water container from Portugal, a painting by John Singer Sargent from his travels in Spain and work by the Valencian master Sorolla, subject of an exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland last year.

    Camilo Astalli, known as Cardinal Pamphili by Diego Velazquez courtesy of the Hispanic Society Museum and Library New York


    Thursday, January 16th, 2020

    It is, according to the auctioneers Christie’s, in paintings like The Sky Lovers that we see the roots of Yeats’ most emotional and highly evocative works.  The 1947 work provides a striking example of his late painting style. Early in 1947 Yeats lost Cottie, his wife of 53 years, and when he returned to his easel it was with a new found emotional intensity.  In this work two figures are depicted looking to the sky as one raises his hands imploringly to the heavens. Through light and vigorous brushstrokes the artist brings energy to the work, a sense of desolation and a yearning for something lost.  The Sky Lovers comes up at the Modern British Art evening sale  at Christie’s in London on January 21 with an estimate of £200,000-300,000.

    Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957) The Sky Lovers . UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £225,000


    Thursday, January 16th, 2020

    Contents from Newtown House and other clients will come under the hammer at Sheppards in Durrow on January 21 and 22. Around 870 lots will come under the hammer in two days of sales broken up into four sessions. Among them in a sale of antique furniture, silver, jewellery, art, rugs and collectibles is a Chinese silver rickshaw supporting condiments with an estimate of just 200-300. The catalogue is online.



    Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

    Tamara de Lempicka’s Portrait de Marjorie Ferry (1932) will be a highlight at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in London on February 5. The painting was commissioned by the husband of the British-born cabaret star Marjorie Ferry at the height of Lempicka’s fame in Paris where she was the most sought-after and celebrated female modernist painter. By 1930 Lempicka had become the première portraitist in demand among both wealthy Europeans and Americans, specifically with those who had an eye for classicised modernism. The portrait is estimated at £8,000,000-12,000,000.

    Tamara de Lempicka, Portrait de Marjorie Ferry . UPDATE: THIS MADE £16.2 MILLION


    Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

    An archive of letters dealing with the estate and family of John McMullen comes up at Sotheby’s sale of Fine Manuscript and Printed America in New York on January 27. Born in Ireland McMullen was an Irish empresario or land contractor in Texas under the colonisation system used by the Mexican government. He was granted an empresario contract in 1828 to establish a colony in Texas and was co founder of the McMullen-McGloin colony which spanned a vast area of land between the Nueces and Medina rivers. The town of San Patricio was established in 1831 as part of the colony.

    The archive of approximately 42 letters signed by Jacob Waelder in San Antonio, Texas, to John McMullen (“Friend McMullen”) in Mauch Chunk (present-day Jim Thorpe), Pennsylvania, December 12, 1834 to February 22, 1869, runs to about 105 pages. McMullen was born in Ireland in 1785 and went to the US as a young man. The archive is estimated at $25,000-35,000.


    Monday, January 13th, 2020

    Three works recently restituted to the heirs of Gaston Lévy, one of the most notable patrons and art collectors living in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, will come up at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art evening sale in London on February 4. One is by Camille Pisarro, two by Paul Signac. Lévy’s art collection was dispersed under the Nazi occupation, and two of the works to be offered in February were lost to the ‘Einsatztab Reichsleiter Rosenberg’ (an organisation dedicated to receiving looted cultural property) in October 1940. After the war, the works were repatriated to the French state, and have recently been restituted by the French Government to Lévy’s heirs from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The third of the works to be offered – Signac’s Quai de Clichy. Temps gris – had been stored in the Lévy’s country home, the Château des Bouffards, but later found its way into the collection of the dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, whose illicit hoard was discovered by the authorities in 2012.

    UPDATE: The three works restituted to the heirs of Gaston Levy made #22.2 million. Pissarro’s Gelee blanche made #13.3 million, Signac’s View of Istanbul made £7.6 million and his Quai de Clichy made £1.3 million.

    Paul Signac – Quai de Clichy. Temps gris UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £1.3 MILLION


    Sunday, January 12th, 2020

    David Hockney’s The Splash will highlight Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening auction in London on February 11. It is estimated at £20-30 million, over six times the price achieved when it last sold at auction for £2.9 million at Sotheby’s London in 2006. That was then an auction record for a Hockney.

    Painted in 1966, The Splash immortalises a fleeting moment just seconds after a diver has broken the calm surface of a swimming pool. The painting’s protagonist is present, yet absent, masked by a torrent of displaced water. The work is a quintessential example of Hockney’s lifelong fascination with the texture, appearance and depth of water – a fascination which culminated in one of the most celebrated and instantly recognisable bodies of work in 20th century art.

    It is the second in a series of three ‘splashes’, the largest and final of which, A Bigger Splash is in the Tate collection in London. These paintings represent the apex of Hockney’s Californian fantasy. Created at a watershed moment in his career, the three ‘splashes’ secured the artist’s international reputation as a leading artist of his generation and confirmed his unrivalled ability to combine elements of disparate movements – Minimalism, Modernist Abstraction and Pop Art – into a new style entirely of his own.

    David Hockney, The Splash, 1966 . UPDATE: THIS MADE £24.1 MILLION AT HAMMER