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


    Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

    Rare images from Sir Ernest Shackleton’s doomed Antartic Expedition come up at Bonhams Travel and Exploration sale in London on February 26. The Antarctic explorer, born in Kilkea Co. Kildare, led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. His Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917 is remembered for one of the great feats of human daring and valour. Attempting to sail across the Weddell Sea, the expedition ship Endurance became trapped in pack ice, eventually disintegrating in October 1915. The dramatic escape of the crew is the stuff of legend. The expedition’s official photographer, Australian Frank Hurley, captured life on board the stricken vessel and the ship’s final hours.  A newly discovered presentation album of Hurley’s Photographs of Scenes and Incidents in Connection with the Happenings to the Weddell Sea Party  consigned by a private owner in the UK is estimated at £30,000-40,000.

    Frank Hurley joined the Shackleton expedition as the official photographer in 1914, having gained experience with Douglas Mawson’s 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition. The decision to abandon Endurance presented Hurley with an unenviable task. With a long march ahead into an uncertain future, weight was at a premium and he was forced to destroy 400 plates to lessen the load.

    Bonhams Head of Books, Manuscripts and Photographs, Matthew Haley said: “The fate of Endurance and the crew’s astonishing and tortuous journey back against all the odds is rightly seen as a testament to the human spirit under extreme pressure.  Hurley’s images convey the terrible situation in which the men found themselves, and have come to define  the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration as it drew to a close.” 


    Frank Hurley – Endurance in her death throes


    Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

    A newly discovered letter from Constance Markievicz is one of the highlights of Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts sale in London on March 11. It is in reply to Eva Cumming, a hitherto unknown cousin in Australia, who had written to introduce herself after seeing Markievicz’s name in the Australian press.  Although Cumming’s letter is now lost, it must have expressed sympathy for the Republican cause because Markievicz writes that she is pleased, “to find that I have a cousin who is sympathetic & feels the same intense love for our country that I do”.

    The undated letter seems to be been written around September 25-26 1920. In it she refers to two attacks on September 23 by the newly formed ‘Black and Tans’ – auxiliary policemen in the Royal Irish Constabulary noted for their indiscriminate brutality.  Markievicz was on the run from the British authorities at the time.  She had played a significant role in the Easter Rising of 1916 and escaped the firing squad only because she was a woman. She spent the rest of her life dedicated to the Irish Republican cause, and in 1918 became the first woman ever to be elected to the UK Parliament although like all Sinn Fein MPs then and since she did not take up her seat.  It is estimated at £4,000-6,000.


    Monday, February 17th, 2020

    A total of 144 lots of Asian Art from a private collection in Wicklow will come under the hammer at Sheppards in Durrow on February 20.  The selection is broad and encompasses everything from tiny foo dogs to brush washers, monochrome and polychrome porcelain, cloisonne vases, jade pendants, bowls, censers, jardinieres and a couple of lots of Chinese  lacquered furniture. Oriental art and porcelain has become a growing sustainer of auction houses in Ireland and it is probably not unfair to remark that in this context Sheppards leads the field. 

    Chinese wucai enamelled sleeve vase


    Sunday, February 16th, 2020

    The centenary of the birth of artist Dan O’Neill will be marked at the Farmleigh Gallery in Dublin this summer.  This will be the first retrospective of Daniel O’Neill’s work since 1952 and includes many works from private collections unseen at exhibition for over 50 years. It will feature works by his friends and fellow painters Gerard Dillon, Colin Middleton, George Campbell, Nano Reid and others.  Born in Belfast, O’Neill had little orthodox training. He started painting with watercolours at the age of 15 and studied Italian renaissance painters at  Belfast Reference Library.  In 1945 he was taken up by the Dublin dealer, Victor Waddington and  several one man shows followed.  He visited France and moved to London in 1958.  From there his paintings were sent to the Waddington Gallery in Montreal and he showed at the Dawson Gallery in Dublin. In 1970 he exhibited in Belfast and his last two exhibitions were at the Dawson in 1971. He died in March 1974 aged 54.  The show will run from May 10 to July 24. 

    Self on western shore – Daniel O’Neill


    Saturday, February 15th, 2020

    A timed online sale of accessible art from Ireland and around the world runs at Whyte’s in Dublin until the evening of February 17.  It will include work by Yeats, le Brocquy, Estella Solomons, Colin Middleton, Markey Robinson and Sean McSweeney with estimates from €50-1,000.  In a timed auction last split second bidding is prevented by ten minute wait periods. The catalogue is online.

    UPDATE: The sale included 26 American artworks from the New York office of liquidated Anglo-Irish Bank which sold for a total of 29,000.

    Orchard by William Crozier (1930-2011) . UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 600 AT HAMMER


    Saturday, February 15th, 2020

    With everything from longcase clocks, a Russian icons and a Killarney wood bookstand the Making Room Sale by Fonsie Mealy on February 19 offers much of interest.  The sale at The Avalon House Hotel in Castlecomer is by way of being a clearout.  This no reserve auction will be of interest to bargain hunters, collectors, interior decorators and home owners. Lot 323 is a 19th century Killarney wood bookstand typically decorated and inlaid with shamrocks, harp and ruins and estimated at just €100-150. There are Crown Derby urns, Victorian button back sofas, barometers, a selection of clocks and all sorts of collectibles including lot 83, a 19th century Russian School icon on panel with an estimate of €700-1,000. 

    19th century Russian School icon . UPDATE: THIS MADE 420 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, February 13th, 2020

    THE most important collection of Rolling Stones history and memorabilia is to be offered at Julien’s Auctions in Hollywood on at the end of May – and it will be on view in Ireland in March. Property from Bill Wyman and his Rolling Stones Archive, courtesy of Ripple Productions, will include bass guitars, amps, wardrobes and memorabilia.

    Highlights include his 1962 VIX AC30 Normal model amplifier and Wyman’s guitar collection used on career defining performances, his 1969 Fender Mustang Bass Competition Orange, his 1978 Travis Bean custom short scale bass, 1974 Dan Armstrong prototype base, 1891 Steinberger Custom Short Svale XL series bass and more. The sale, from May 29-31, will feature more than 1,000 lots.

    “Collecting and archiving has been one of the great pleasures of my life and
    will undoubtedly be one of my legacies,” said Bill Wyman. “It feels like the right time to share my archive with the world. I hope people will get as
    much joy from my collections as I have.” A portion of the proceeds of will benefit The Prince’s Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support and CCMI (Central Caribbean Marine Institute).

    There will be a public exhibition of the lots at the Museum of Style Icons, Newbridge, Co. Kildare from March 10 to April 20 and at the Hard Rock Cafe, Times Square, New York from May 4 to May 10.

    1969 Fender Mustang Bass with a Competition Orange finish designed by Leo Fender. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $384,000 IN A SALE DEFERRED TO SEPTEMBER


    Thursday, February 13th, 2020

    There will be a chance to nab a bargain at no reserves store room sale by Fonsie Mealy which takes place at the Avalon Hotel, Castlecomer on February 19. The auctioneers say that Making Room will be of considerable interest to collectors and interior decorators. The catalogue, which lists 469 lots, is online.

    A 19th Century French Boulle Mantle Clock, by
    Jean Godde, Paris. UPDATE: THIS MADE 520 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

    Post War and Contemporary Art brought in £56.1 million at Christie’s in London this evening. Andy Warhol’s ‘Athletes’ series from the Richard L. Weisman Collection was 100% sold, led by the sale’s top lot, Mohammed Ali (£4,973,250). The ten portraits headlined a group of 13 works by the artist that also included Knives (£2,752,148), Flowers, part of ‘Art for Future: Selected Works from the UniCredit Group’ (£2,111,250) and Brillo Soap Pads Box (£383,250).

    Three works by Jean Dubuffet from the 1950s, 60s and 70s traced the artistic development throughout the artist’s oeuvre: Alentour la maison (1957, £1,271,250), La robe à boutons (1961: £1,571,250) and Panorama (1978, £2,171,250). Other results includedf Sean Scully’s Wall of Light Red Bar (£1,031,250) and Bridget Riley’s Gaillard (£2,291,250). The sale achieved sell through rates of 98% by lot and 99% by value. 

    Bridget Riley (B. 1931) . Gaillard


    Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

    David Hockney’s The Splash made £23.1 million in a sale of Contemporary Art that brought in £92.4 million at Sotheby’s in London tonight. This is the third highest price for the artist. Executed in 1966 the painting first appeared at auction in Sotheby’s London salesroom in 1973, and again in 2006 when it sold for £2.9 million – a record price for Hockney at the time. Nine of the top ten top prices for Hockney have been set in the past two years. 

    JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT’S Rubber sold for £7,487,600; FRANCIS BACON’S Turning Figure sold for £7,032,000; CHRISTOPHER WOOL’S Untitled achieved £6,156,809 and YVES KLEIN’S Anthropometry, (ANT 132) realised £6,177,750.

    ADRIAN GHENIE’S The Arrival made £4,184,500 / $5,401,353. The top 11 prices for the artist have been set since 2016. WAYNE THIEBAUD’S Californian Fruit Stand made £1,815,000 and there was a new world record for A R Penck’s Welt des Adlers I (/World of the Eagle 1) when it sold for £531,000  BANKSY’S Vote to Love more than doubled its pre-sale estimate to £1,155,000.

    The Splash in the saleroom tonight.