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


    Sunday, December 20th, 2020

    An unparalleled collection of fine and decorative art, jewels and books will come up at Christie’s New York live and online sales in January 2021. Works from the collection of Mr. & Mrs. John H. Gutfreund 834 Fifth Avenue encompass important English and French furniture, Russian works of art, silver, porcelain, Old Master paintings, Chinese ceramics and works of art, carpets, and textiles. These will come under the hammer in a two-day live auction on January 26-27. Three online sales from January 14–28/29 will be thematically organised into the Art of Entertainment; Books and bindings; and a collection of runway jewels from the House of Chanel. 

    John Gutfreund (1929-2016) was chairman and executive of the investment firm Salomon Brothers.

    A suite of George III painted mahogany dining room furniture by Ince and Mayhew, 1775 ($80,000-120,000)


    Friday, December 18th, 2020

    Consolidated sales so far this year at Sotheby’s stand at over $5 billion, with several auctions still to go.  And Christie’s has reported an accelerated shift to online sales with a 41% increase in luxury lots sold in online auctions; 82% increase in the number of luxury online sales, and a 205% increase in the value of online luxury sales year on year.

    Sotheby’s report that ease of access to a broader range of offerings brought a record influx of new buyers: this year Sotheby’s attracted the largest number of first-time buyers in 15 years with a 27% increase over 2019. Over 70% of auctions were held online in 2020 (up from 30% last year) and more than 40% of bidders and buyers in online auctions were new to Sotheby’s. The number of buyers aged under 40 doubled. Private sales so far in 2020 total over $1.5 billion, marking an all time record at any auction house.

    Christie’s report that performance has been strong across all categories with an 87% overall sell-through for the portfolio; 136 records were set across jewels, watches, wine and handbags and 53 lots achieved over $1 million. Christie’s luxury market report further highlighted global participation with bidders from 90 countries and 40% new buyers.

    The world auction record for a handbag was achieved at Christie’s in Hong Kong in November for this Matte White Himalaya Niloticus crocodile Kelly handbag by Hermes. It sold for US$437,330.


    Thursday, December 17th, 2020

    A facsimile of the Book of Kells sold for 7,500 at Whyte’s Christmas art and collectibles sale in Dublin. The first and only complete facsimile of the most precious illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages was published by Verlag, Lucerne, by the authority of the board of Trinity College, Dublin in 1990. This was number 1,206 of number 1,480. The Tajidar – Sacred Bird Celtic Design illustration c1940 and a 1934 seascape woodcut print by Art O’Murnaghan (1875-1953) sold for 3,800 over a top estimate of 2,000 and a Studio and Still Life by Peter Collis made 6,000 over a top estimate of 5,000.


    Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

    A vertical testing of Chateau Mouton Rothschild made a hammer price of 46,000 at the James Adam timed online sale of vintage wines and spirits which ended today. The exceptional collection ranged from 1945 to 2005 wth the exception of 1948 and two bottles from 1978. There were 61 bottles in total and the estimate was 55,000-65,000. An Ardbeg special release double barrel single malt Scotch whiskey 1974 in a leather case from Purdey and Sons with two single cast bottlings made 13,000, a mathusalem (six litres) of Cristal Louis Roederer champagne, 1990 vintage, in a presentation box made 8,500 and one bottle of Hennessy Timeless Cognac with Baccarat crystal decanter in its original box made 7,000.


    Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

    A miniature dinner service commissioned in 1922, as a gift to HM Queen Mary for the worlds most famous doll’s house at Windsor Castle will highlight the Thomas Goode auction at Sotheby’s. The sale runs from December 22 to January 8. The five foot-tall house with working electricity, silver bath taps and flushing lavatories was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in the early 1920s as a gift for Queen Mary, consort to King George V and grandparents of Queen Elizabeth II.

    Over 1,500 artists, craftsmen and Royal Warrant holders were employed to create each element of the house in miniature – from real versions of 600 miniature books to 774 replica artworks, a wine cellar complete with real wine and spirits, a gramophone playing the National Anthem and a garage with a tiny Rolls-Royce.

    Thomas Goode and Co. of South Audley St., London were requested to create three miniature white porcelain dinner services for the doll’s house. Comprising 76 pieces in total, the sets were required for the State Dining Room, the nursery and the kitchen. Each piece is individually stamped to the base with the Royal Doulton maker’s mark. As with every commission, Thomas Goode kept one copy of each article supplied for their own archives. Sotheby’s will offer the pairs to these three sets in this auction. The estimate is £20,000-30,000. Johnny Sandelson, Executive Chairman of Thomas Goode & Co said: “We were overwhelmed by the interest in these precious and rare miniature pieces, we’ve received interest from all around the world, funds raised will be re invested into our very precious archive.”

    Miniature Dinner Set for Queen Mary’s Doll’s House. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £37,800


    Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

    A Beckett painting by Cian McLoughlin sold for a hammer price of 30,000 over an estimate of 6,000-10,000 at the James Adam Mid Century Modern sale in Dublin today. A second diptych, Pozo and Lucky, made 14,500 at hammer over a top estimate of 10,000. They came from the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. In 2006 the Beckett Centenary Festival Committee, with the Gate Theatre and the Department of Arts, Tourism and Sport, launched an exhibition by Cian McLoughlin which explored Beckett’s three main plays – ‘End Game’, ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’ and ‘Waiting for Godot’. McLoughlin spent three years talking to, studying and painting the actors who had become synonymous with Beckett’s masterpieces, producing large scale portraits that strove to display not the actor, but the character which they embodied.

    Cian McLoughlin (b.1973) Didi and Gogo

    Commissioned by the Shelbourne Hotel in 2007 the diptychs capture the tragic couplings of Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo) and Pozzo and Lucky from ‘Waiting for Godot’. Encroaching as spectres from the fog, the faces of Barry McGovern, Johnny Murphy, Alan Stanford and Stephen Brennan are transformed.

    Cian McLoughlin (b.1973) Pozzo and Lucky


    Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

    A new portrait of celebrated Irish writer Edna O’Brien was unveiled today at the National Gallery of Ireland to mark her 90th birthday. The work is a commission by photographer Mandy O’Neill, winner of the Zurich Portrait Prize 2018. The diptych has become part of the national portrait collection at the gallery. One of Ireland’s most acclaimed writers, Edna O’Brien has written over twenty works of fiction since her debut novel The Country Girls. She has also written numerous short story collections, plays and works of non-fiction. Born and raised in the west of Ireland, she has lived in London for many years.

    Mandy O’Neill won the Zurich Portrait Prize 2018 for her portrait of a Dublin school student entitled Diane, Larkin Community College, 2018. She is currently Artist in Residence at Dublin City University.


    Monday, December 14th, 2020

    A painting by the Wexford artist Francis Danby on a scale that has not been seen at auction for 30 years comes up at Bonhams sale of Old Master Paintings in London on December 17.  Ulysses at the court of Alcinous, going to the athletic games instituted in honour of his visit is estimated at £40,000-60,000. It was painted between 1855-1858 – when Danby was living in Exmouth with his sons – for the Midlands industrialist Joseph Gillott a significant supporter of the artist.

    Many of Danby’s exhibited paintings of the 1840s and ’50s were either destroyed or are now untraced. Hardly any examples of these large-scale works have come to the auction market in the last 50 years, Ulysses has been in the same private collection since 1879, just a few years after it was sold in Gillott’s posthumous sale.

    FRANCIS DANBy (Wexford 1793-1861 Exmouth) Ulysses at the court of Alcinous, going to the athletic games instituted in honour of his visit. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Sunday, December 13th, 2020

    This luxurious four seasons cocktail cabinet by the renowned Irish studio makers Zelouf and Bell, currently exhibiting at Maison Gerard in New York, is among the top lots at the James Adam Mid Century Modern sale online on December 15. It is estimated at €10,000-€15,000. UPDATE: THIS MADE 8,000 AT HAMMER


    Saturday, December 12th, 2020

    A Queen Anne inlaid walnut marquetry longcase clock made a hammer price of 5,200 at Marshs online auction in Cork today. With engraved brass and silver dial it is inscribed “John Martin Londini Fecit”. Other hammer prices include: a set of Cork 11 bar chairs (4,200); an Anglo-Indian foldover games table (1,700); a Georgian chest on chest (1,800 and a Victorian burr walnut ormolu mounted credenza (4,000).