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


    Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

    The Contemporary Art day sale at Sotheby’s in London on February 12 will feature two works by Sean Scully, Pink Three (£200,000-300,000) and 8.20.89 (£50,000-70,000). UPDATE: PINK THREE WAS UNSOLD, 8.20.89 MADE £62,500.

    Sean Scully B. 1945 PINK THREE


    Monday, February 10th, 2020

    With its otherworldly elongated forms and instantly recognisable proto-modern style the art of El Greco continues to fascinate.  His View of Toledo from about 1598-99, normally at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is to travel to the Art Institute of Chicago for a major exhibition titled El Greco: Ambition and Defiance to run from March 7 to June 21. Born in Crete and trained as an icon painter Domenikos Theotokopoulos moved to Venice in 1567 and  later sought patronage within the papal circle. El Greco’s outspoken criticism of Michelangelo meant he received no commissions from the church during the six years he spent in Rome from 1570-1576. He moved to Toledo in 1577 and earned a major commission for an altarpiece now in the collection of the Art Institute.  After falling out with the powers that be at Toledo Cathedral he embarked on a career as a portraitist.  The Chicago show, organised jointly with the Reunion des musees nationaux, Grand Palais, Paris and The Louvre, will bring together over 55 paintings and sculptures from the output of this remarkable Old Master.

    El Greco – View of Toledo


    Sunday, February 9th, 2020

    THIS marquise brilliant-cut diamond weighing 6.01cts, with pendant mount fitting is the top lot at the James Adam evening sale of Fine Jewellery at watches on February 11. It is estimated at €160,000-180,000. There are 86 lots in the sale and the catalogue is online.

    Marquise brilliant-cut diamond . UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Sunday, February 9th, 2020

    The UK’s Arts Minister Helen Whately has stopped the export from Britain of a sledge and flag taken on Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton’s 1907 – 1909 British Antarctic Expedition. The two, valued at £227,500 plus £8,750 VAT, had been sold to an overseas buyer. Now a UK buyer needs to be found and a decision on the export licence has been deferred to May 6.The Nimrod expedition was led by Shackleton, who headed three expeditions to the Antarctic in the early twentieth century. This one set out in a failed attempt to be first to reach the South Pole. The sledge and the flag were hauled, first by pony and then by the men, to within 97.5 miles of their objective before famously turning back to Discovery Point in 1909. They belonged to Dr Eric Marshall (1879 – 1963), surgeon, polar explorer and one of the group chosen to accompany Shackleton.

    Sir Ernest Shackleton’s (1874-1922) first experience of Polar expeditions was as third officer on Captain Scott’s Discovery expedition of 1901-04.

    The Flag from the Nimrod Expedition.


    Saturday, February 8th, 2020

    Hockney, Klein, Bacon, Warhol  and Basquiat are among the artists whose work will loom large at major contemporary art evening sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s in London next week.At this moment of uncertainty and unease about the future there is no shortage of rich pickings for wealthy and institutional collectors. Sotheby’s has Hockney’s The Splash and one of Yves Klein’s first performance paintings, Christie’s has Andy Warhol’s Athletes.The Splash, featured on these pages two weeks ago, is the standout work at Sotheby’s evening sale of 47 works next Tuesday evening.  Estimated at £20-30 million it is the second in a series of three splash paintings that secured Hockey’s international reputation. Like Hockney’s splash Turning Figure by Francis Bacon, estimated at £6-8 million, contrasts an explosion of movement with a background that is utterly still.There is a similar estimate on Yves Klein’s Untitled Anthropometry, a work created during one of Klein’s first art performances at his Paris studio in 1960.  During the show Klein instructed nude female models coated in his patented blue IKB pigment to press their bodies against large sheets of paper.  Transforming the human figure into a living brush this work is considered rare for its grand scale and the inclusion of two full figures.  There are notable works on offer from artists like Jean Michel Basquiat, Cecily Brown, Damien Hirst, KAWS, Roy Lichtenstein, Kerry James Marshall, Grayson Perry, Gerhard Richter, Bridget Riley and others.At Christie’s on Wednesday evening a Warhol of Mohammed Ali is estimated at £3-5 million. From the collection of Richard L. Weisman Warhol’s Athletes is comprised of ten multicoloured portraits of stars like Pele, Chris Evert, O.J. Simpson and Jack Nicklaus. Ali dates to 1977.  The series is presented at Christie’s alongside Flowers from 1964 (£1-1.5 million), Warhol’s Knives (£2.5-3.5 million) and Brillo Soap Pads Box (£300,000-500,000).Jean Dubuffet’s Panorama, 1978 (£2-3 million) is an example of his theatres of memory, a reflective series created in the last decade of the artist’s life.  It is one of three works by Dubuffet in the sale. Albert Oehlen’s Mission Rohrfrei (£1.8-2.5 million) from 1996 is among the most abstract and explosive of his Remixes derived from Oehlen’s obsession with an obscure painting by John Grahama largely forgotten figure who played an important role in Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist circles in mid-century America.

    Untitled Anthropometry by Yves Klein at Sotheby’s . UPDATE: THIS MADE £6.1 MILLION
    Panorama by Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) at Christie’s . UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £2.1 MILLION


    Friday, February 7th, 2020

    A timed online auction of accessible at from Ireland and around the world runs at Whyte’s until February 17. Among the leading Irish artists represented are Jack Yeats, Louis le Brocquy, Estella Solomons, Colin Middleton, Seán McSweeney and Markey Robinson. Estimates range from €50 to €1,000, with most under €500.

    A timed auction is similar to EBay auctions but “sniping” (last split second bidding by programmes) is prevented by ten minute wait periods. The sale will be on view at Whyte’s at Molesworth St., Dublin from February 12-14 and on February 17. The catalogue is online.

    Still Life with Roses and Apples – Rosaleen Brigid Ganly HRHA (1909-2002) . UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    CHRISTIE’S SALES ACHIEVE £106.6 million

    Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

    The Impressionist and Modern Art and Art of the Surreal evening sales at Christie’s in London tonight made £106.8 million. Tamara de Lempicka’s Portrait de Marjorie Ferry made £16.2 million, a new auction record for the artist. It was the top lot and the Polish artist becomes the first female artist to lead an Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale.

    George Grosz’s politically charged Gefährliche Straße made a record of £9,740,250 and Rene Magritte’s A la rencontre du plaisir made £18,933,750 to lead The Art of the Surreal evening sale. Trois Hommes qui marchent by Alberto Giacometti made £11.2 million and there were records for Louis Anquetin (£1.3 million) and James Ensor (£815,250). The Impressionist and Modern sale made £62.6 million, The Art of the Surreal made £43.9 million.

    (See posts on for February 1, January 30, January 15 and January 10, 2020)

    Tamara de LempickaPortrait de Marjorie Ferry


    Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

    The first major David Hockney painting to feature at auction in Asia – 30 Sunflowers – will lead Sotheby’s Hong Kong Contemporary Art evening sale on April 6. The work is not unlike Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, while exhibiting a radical and personal approach. Created in 1996 it marks his return to figurative painting after a decade in which he was primarily immersed in photography. 30 Sunflowers will be on view at Sotheby’s London from February 7 – 11. It will then tour to Los Angeles, Jakarta, Hong Kong, and Taipei.

    David Hockney, 30 Sunflowers. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR US$14.8 MILLION


    Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

    The Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist Art sale at Sotheby’s this evening achieved a total of £49.9 million. Camille Pissarro’s Gelee blanche was the top lot of this 33 lot auction. It made £13.29 million over a top estimate of £12 million. This was the second highest auction price for a Pissarro. The painting was one of three works restituted to the heirs of Gaston Levy which together sold for £22.2 million. There were auction records for Jean Metzinger and Pyke Koch. The sale saw strong activity from Asia as well as Europe and the US. Asian collectors bid on one third of lots offered.

    (See posts on for February 1, January 29 and January 13, 2020)

    Pyke Koch FLORENTIJNSE TUIN (FLORENTINE GARDEN) sold for £555,000


    Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

    It is a pity that Claude Monet never came to Ireland. The rapidly changing light would have undoubtedly enthralled him. This depiction of Waterloo Bridge in London, which comes up at the Impressionist and Modern Art day sale at Sotheby’s on February 5, is both specific and otherworldly.

    In words that could be readily used about the Irish climate Monet wrote from London to his wife Alice: “The weather was magnificent but unsettled… I can’t begin to describe a day as wonderful as this. One marvel after another, each lasting less than five minutes, it was enough to drive one mad. No country could be more extraordinary for a painter.” Painted in 1899 the work is estimated at £400,000-600,000.

    Claude Monet – Waterloo Bridge . UPDATE: THIS MADE £819,000