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


    Thursday, May 21st, 2020

    A Charles I Irish provincial silver chalice dating from 1643 sold for £20,000 over a top estimate of £6,000 at Sotheby’s online sale of decorative and fine art in London yesterday. With an inscription reading ‘This Challice was made for Terlagh O Briene and Ellinorie Brieñe of Comoragh the 26th of 8bre [i.e. October] 1643″ it is from the collection of the late Garech Browne at Luggala in Co. Wicklow. Comoragh Castle was in Co. Waterford.

    (See post on for May 11, 2020).


    Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

    THE Post-War and Contemporary Art Amsterdam auction at Christie’s will move to an online-only platform this year. It takes place from June 2-18.  The new format will offer a survey of contemporary sculpture over the last 60 years, ranging from Shinkichi Tajiri to Yayoi Kusama and from Tony Cragg and Ulrich Rückriem to Isa Genzken. An early pre-war painting by Ernst Wilhelm Nay will be presented alongside works by A. R. Penck, Günther Förg, Arnulf Rainer and Anselm Kiefer to form a focused group of German and Austrian artists. Dutch artists are represented by Rob van Koningsbruggen, Carel Visser, Henk Visch and Bram Bogart. Further highlights include Cap de Boc Marinat 2005, a monumental painting by Miquel Barceló (€250,000-350,000) and Untitled 2000 by Julian Schnabel (€50,000-70,000). Estimates are from €800.

    Miquel Barceló, Cap de Boc Marinat


    Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

    ONE: A global sale of the 20th century at Christie’s on July 10 is a new auction event offering Impressionist and Modern, Post-War and Contemporary art and Design. With streaming technology the first of its kind relay-style auction will take place in real time across the time zones from four of the art world’s major hubs: Hong Kong, Paris, London and New York. The sale will offer a range of exceptional works over four consecutive sessions led by principle auctioneers in each region, starting in Hong Kong. 

    The new format aims to create an adaptable, inclusive and engaging selling platform to present important works of art to global bidders.  Presented to both in-person and online audiences, the event will capture the excitement and drama of the gala evening sale, while offering access regionally and the accessibility of the online platform. It will replace the New York 20th Century Evening sale previously scheduled for the week of June 22.

    Pablo Picasso’s Les femmes d’Alger (version ‘F’), 17 January 1955 (estimate in the region of US$25 million) will highlight the group of works being sold in New York. It is from the series of fifteen canvases based on Eugène Delacroix’s masterwork Les femmes d’Alger executed between 13 December 1954 and 14 February 1955. Version F was painted around the halfway point in the cycle. 

    Pablo Picasso – Les femmes d’Alger (version ‘F’). UPDATE: THIS MADE $29,217,500


    Monday, May 18th, 2020

    Kurt Cobain’s 1959 Martin D-18E will headline Julien’s Music Icons sale online in Hollywood on June 19-20.  The guitar was played at what would become Nirvana’s most legendary performance in a live taping for MTV Unplugged on November 18, 1993, five months before his death.  Cobain chose this guitar to paint what Rolling Stone called “his last self-portrait”. Nirvana’s acoustic performance that night produced one of the greatest live albums of all time, MTV Unplugged in New York. Cuts from the album, released seven months after Cobain’s death, would go on to become the most celebrated and defining versions of Nirvana’s songs, “About A Girl,” “All Apologies,” “Come As You Are,” and “Dumb,” as well as covers of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World,” The Meat Puppets’ “Lake of Fire,” and a haunting rendition of Lead Belly’s “Black Girl” renamed “Where Did You Sleep Last Night.” MTV Unplugged in New York debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard charts and is consistently ranked among the top ten live albums of all time. Cobain’s mastery of this guitar along with Nirvana’s flawless acoustic and vocal performance propelled the MTV Unplugged in New York album to multi-platinum certification and won the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album in 1996. It was the seventh of only 302 D-18Es built by Martin and was customized by Cobain who added a Bartolini pickup to the soundhole. The opening estimate is a cool $1 million.

    UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $6,010,000


    Monday, May 18th, 2020

    A fine Cork clock from the collection of the late Garech Browne at Luggala comes up at Sotheby’s Decorative and Fine art online sale which runs to May 20.  The c1780 George III mahogany and Chinoiseries carved fretwork longcase clock by James Aickin is reasonably estimated at just £800-1,200.  Several other lots of Irish interest in this sale include an Irish provincial silver chalice from 1643, also from Luggala.Part of Garech Browne’s cellar is scheduled to come up at Fonsie Mealy’s next online sale at the end of June.

    UPDATE: THIS MADE £1,625


    Saturday, May 16th, 2020

    The onward march of the virtual world in this new era of online auctions, pent up demand and postponed sales cannot be overstated.  Some of the rapid adjustments made in this time of pandemic are temporary, others will prove to be far more permanent.Just a few short months ago at the beginning of the year the idea of conducting a sale with no option to view physically would have been beyond the imaginings of many. Now they are not only commonplace, but working. At a time when traditional viewing is out of the question auctioneers are finding new and imaginative ways to sell.Take Christie’s, currently running a sale called The Collector online until June 1. This 264 lot auction with estimates from £200 to £35,000 is focused on bringing craft and design us in lockdown. To promote the auction of English and European furniture, silver, ceramics, gold boxes and works of art from the 17th to the 19th century, they have created a series of virtual viewing viewing rooms filled with the lots on offer. These virtual vignettes are designed to inspire the inner interior decorator unleashed by all this enforced time at home.  Head of sale Paul Gallois commented:  “During this unprecedented period in our lives, whilst a great many are spending more time than ever at home, interiors have become a major focus of comfort, familiarity and aesthetic expression.”


    Friday, May 15th, 2020

    A total of 140 works from the collection of London dealer Danny Katz will be offered at a dedicated online sale at Sotheby’s from May 20-27. They span a wide range of collecting disciplines including Antiquities, Old Master and 19th Century paintings and drawings, Modern British art and European sculpture. The Mayfair dealer said: “As I near my 72nd birthday I want to slow down my business and work differently, turning my focus to my interests in philanthropy, academia, music, dance and neurology. This is an opportunity for others to start collecting. An opportunity for people who are spending more time in their homes right now to explore and buy something reasonably priced and beautiful, and when they get them home, to enjoy them as much as I have.”

    The Daniel Katz Galery will donate 100% of the sale of ten works to raise vital funds for two national charities, Refuge and Trussell Trust. The funds will be split equally between the two organisations who are providing essential support for those most in need during the pandemic.

    This has been an unprecedented year for online sales at Sotheby’s. More than 50 dedicated online sales have totalled over $80 million.

    Estelle by the Irish American artist Sir James Jebusa Shannon RA (1862-1923) (£50,000-70,000).


    Friday, May 15th, 2020

    Contemporary Irish artists Conor Harrington and Sean Scully feature at Bonhams sales. A large oil painting by Conor Harrington (Irish, born 1980) ‘L’Amour et La Violence’ executed in 2013, and a Sean Scully (Irish, born 1945) watercolour and graphite on paper, ‘Mirror’ from 2008 are on offer in Post War and Contemporary Art private treaty sales. This service provides clients with a bespoke approach to buying and selling, outside of the auction calendar. Interested parties are advised to contact the auctioneers directly for prices.

    Conor Harrington – L’Amour et La Violence


    Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

    The first live behind-closed-doors sale at Bonhams in Knightsbridge was a success with 84% sold by lot and 88% sold by value. The Modern British and Irish Art sale  saw a record number of bidders for the department. A section of 22 sketches by Cecil Beaton for The Book of Beauty all sold, many  above estimate. Irish works included William Crozier’s ‘Garden Storm’ which made £5,687, Cecil Maguire’s ‘Winter, Salt Lake, Clifden’ made £2,550 and Graham Knuttel’s bronze ‘Two Fish’ made £1,657 and his ‘Portrait of a Woman’ made £1,530.

    CECIL MAGUIRE R.U.A. (1930-2020)
    Winter, Salt Lake, Clifden


    Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

    The largest D colour diamond ever offered online will come up at a sale at Christie’s from June 16-30. The spectacular diamond ring of 28.86 carats, D color, VVS1 clarity is estimated at $1-2million. This is the highest valued lot ever offered for sale online at Christie’s. The shape of the stone, the emerald-cut, is one of the oldest diamond shapes with stylistic origins tracing back to the 1500’s. During the Art Deco movement in the 1920’s the cut was modernised based on a shape initially created for emeralds and the style rose to popularity.

    For the first part of 2020 Christie’s has witnessed unprecedented engagement from clients participating in online sales from over 150 countries with new registrants as high as 80% for select sales. In particular, strong results were achieved for Jewels Online sales with sell-through rates ranging from 89% through 99% with overall sale totals achieving double their pre-sale estimates.

    The 28.86 carat diamond