Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • Archive for February, 2021


    Sunday, February 14th, 2021

    Joseph Gibson, John Williams, James Warner, William Reynolds, Carden Terry Jane Williams, John Nicholson, Joseph Johns, William Ward and William Egan are names laden with meaning for collectors of Irish Provincial silver.  They are all represented in the James Adam At Home timed online auction which will begin to close at 11 am on February 23.  It is unusual to have such an array of Cork and Limerick makers in one auction.A pair of chased sauceboats by William Egan is dated to 1911.  Otherwise all the pieces on offer – bowls, jugs, ladles, beakers, sugar tongs, serving spoons – range in date from 1760 to 1820.  Estimates are from €120 for a c1820 fiddle pattern serving spoon by Joseph Gibson to €800, the top estimate for three lots: a pair of c1760 Hanoverian patterned spoons by Joseph Johns of Limerick; a pair of hook handle serving spoons by the same maker and a c1790 silver beaker by John Nicholson.  Limerick silver is even rarer than Cork silver and a soup ladle by William Ward of Limerick is estimated at €300-€500.There are 431 lots on offer including more than 100 lots of furniture and 74 lots of jewellery. UPDATE: A pair of Hanoverian spoons c1760 and a pair of hook handled serving spoons c1760 both by Joseph Johns of Limerick made 4,200 and 2,000 respectively at hammer. A silver helmeted cream jug by James Warner, Cork made 1,500 and a c1790 sugar bowl by John Williams, Cork made 1,400.

    George III bright cut silver ladle by William Ward of Limerick (€300-€500). UPDATE: This made 240 at hammer


    Sunday, February 14th, 2021

    Biophilia, the affinity between human beings and the natural world, is the title of this work by Deirdre Frost. The solo show by the Lavit Gallery Student of the Year, 2020 online until February 28 is all about nature and our man made environment.  Using shapes and structures from discarded cardboard packaging she investigates the experience of the individual in the built environment and examines our relationship with the natural world through this prism.  Oil paintings are created on a primed plywood surface, allowing the grain of wood to enhance and inform the composition. Deirdre Frost, originally from Inniscarra and now living in Cork city, is an artist and musician. She graduated from Cork School of Music in 2002 as a double bassist and bass guitarist and has worked with the RTE Concert Orchestra and taken part in a number of musicals at Cork Opera House and the Bord Gais Theatre. Frost began a BA in Fine Art at the Crawford in 2017, graduating in 2020 with numerous awards and bursaries. 


    Saturday, February 13th, 2021

    If the Cold War relics auction taking place today reveals anything it is that all’s fair in love and war. Deceit trumps love in this St. Valentine’s weekend sale live and online at Juliens in in L.A. More than 400 artefacts used by American astronauts, Cuban revolutionaries and Soviet spies feature in a sale which includes everything from the KGB Espionage Museum in New York  –  almost. A lipstick gun routinely provided to KGB femmes fatales was pulled from the auction at the last minute. Reason unspecified. In the land of spies a kiss of death trumps pepper spray every time.  Never fear. The catalogue offers a huge variety of ways to gather evidence and extract revenge when allies become enemies and love goes south. The pre digital age was rich in methods to place listening devices, bugs, hidden cameras and microphones.  How much more, one has to wonder, can they do now?  Can anything be kept secret in 2021?  In a lockdown world of strained relationships a gun designed to look like a tube of lipstick might be seen in some quarters as a crude though stealthy weapon of surprise from yesteryear. The sale offers lethal purses, a dinner plate with a microphone bug, cameras and microphones disguised as buttons, a Soviet version of the Enigma cipher machine known as Fialka, all sorts of ways of looking and listening to what is going on in hotel rooms, coins with hidden compartments and a replica of the deadly syringe umbrella believed to have been used to carry out the assassination of Bulgarian dissident author Georgi Markov in London in 1978. The auction takes place over two sessions today, at 10 am and 1 pm Pacific Time.  Bidders need to register in advance.

    UPDATE: The auction attracted bidders from around the globe. The top lot was a Soviet KGB spy purse known as “The Fly” which sold for $32,000 nearly thirteen times its original estimate of $2,500. A Soviet spy coin with a hidden compartment made $25,600, one hundred twenty-eight times its original estimate of $200 and a rare Soviet version of the Enigma code cipher machine known as the Fialka sold for $22,400.

    Lot 394 is a replica spy umbrella with a hidden poison syringe. ($3,000-$5,000). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $19,200


    Saturday, February 13th, 2021

    Your opportunity in lockdown to visit dealers right around the island of Ireland arises today and tomorrow at the February 13 and 14 virtual antique fair organised by Hibernian Antique Fairs. A selection of antique furniture, art, jewellery and collectibles is available to browse through on this link:

    This c1950 English made sapphire and diamond ring is on offer with Declan Corrigan priced at €12,000


    Friday, February 12th, 2021

    Warrior by Jean Michel Basquiat is poised to become the most expensive Western artwork ever offered in Asia. It comes up at a live and livestreamed single lot sale by Christie’s in Hong Kong on March 23 with an estimate of US$31-41 million. The evening sale – We Are All Warriors – The Basquiat Auction – is part of the spring season of 20th century sales at Christie’s.

    Painted in 1982 Basquiat’s Warrior is a commanding and authoritative portrait that amply demonstrates why the artist is regarded as one of the most important painters of the last half century. It comes up at a sale format that highlights Basquiat’s international appeal.


    Thursday, February 11th, 2021

    The die proofs for the Ulster Bank Limited’s George Best commemorative £5 dating from November 25, 2006 will come up online at Dix Noonan Webb‘s sale of British, Irish and World Banknotes in London on February 24. The note itself was sold commercially in numbered folders and remains the most popular commemorative banknote ever produced in the UK. The die proofs featuring Best represent part of the design process for the final note. They are estimated at £400-500. UPDATE: THESE SOLD FOR £360


    Thursday, February 11th, 2021

    The Cold War Relics auction live and online at Julien’s on February 13  will include New York’s KGB Espionage Museum Collection. The sale will feature the world’s largest collection of KGB-specific spy equipment and authentic KGB artefacts from the Cold War. Over 400 lots will be on offer such as clandestine operative cameras, counter-intelligence detectors, morse code machines, airplane radars, voice recorders and official government documents.

    Highlights include a rare Soviet version of the Enigma code cipher machine known as the Fialka, a replica of the deadly syringe umbrella believed to have been used to carry out the assassination of Bulgarian author Georgi Markov in London, a vintage one-thousand-pound carved stone sculpture of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin from the headquarters of the KGB in Kaliningrad, a purse with a hidden camera and shutter apparatus, a machine used by border guards to detect people hiding in vehicles, a German WWII phone tap device, an original steel door from a former KGB prison hospital, a unique portable wire recording machine, and a vintage railroad “Infected Area” warning sign.

    A Russian spy cigarette pack with hidden camera


    Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

    As part of an ongoing programme to strengthen its European
    network of representatives Bonhams in Ireland has appointed Kevin Gaines to work alongside Irish representative Kieran O’Boyle at its Molesworth St., Dublin offices. A practicing sculptor he has more than 20 years experience in the art world, mainly at the Dublin Gallery Jorgensen Fine Art as right hand man to fashion designer and gallery owner Ib Jorgensen, who is retiring. The Dublin office of Bonhams offers valuation services and helps Irish clients access the International art and collectibles markets through Bonham’s global salesrooms.

    Kevin Gaines


    Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

    New York based artist Lawrence Weiner celebrates his 79th birthday with an exhibition at Dublin’s Kerlin Gallery. It is available to view online until lockdown restrictions live. The artist defines his sculptural medium simply as ‘language + the material referred to’ and sees himself as a sculptor rather than a conceptualist. The Dublin exhibition is comprised of three sculptures and three works on paper. The sculptures in text, ‘HELD JUST ABOVE THE CURRENT’, ‘IN LINE WITH SOMETHING ELSE’ and ‘PUT WITH THE OTHER THINGS’ are presented in Irish and English and are scaled to fill the length of the walls, creating a new, immersive experience in the gallery space.


    Tuesday, February 9th, 2021
    Gustave Caillebotte – Petit bras de la Seine près d’Argenteuil (€800,000-1.2 million) UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR €3,620,000

    Gustave Caillebotte’s  Petit bras de la Seine près d’Argenteuil will highlight the sale of an exceptional private collection at Christie’s Paris on March 30. Assembled over four decades by a Parisian collector it focuses on modern and post-war art by artists such as Raoul Dufy, Alexander Calder, Maurice Utrillo, Serge Poliakoff and Sanyu. The collection brings together important international figures from the end of the 19th century to the 1950’s, illustrating the Parisian art scene from Post-Impressionism to the Ecole de Paris and the Seconde Ecole de Paris. Some works from the collection will be included in various owner sales in the first half of 2021.


    Alexander Calder – Untitled (1953) (€70,000-100,000). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR €156,250