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


    Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

    Lucian Freud’s 2002 portrait of David Hockney will make its auction debut at Sotheby’s in London on June 29. Painted at the height of Freud’s career, this portrait of David Hockney provides a fascinating window into the narrative of a long episodic friendship that had started forty years earlier. During the spring and summer of 2002 the two titans of British art came together in a private exchange between artist and sitter. After more than a hundred hours of sittings, the result was one of the most masterful peer-to-peer portraits ever committed onto canvas. It will be a highlight at Sotheby’s British Art Evening Sale: Modern/Contemporary when it will be offered with an estimate of £8,000,000-12,000,000.

    Lucian Freud – David Hockney, oil on canvas, 2002. (£8-12 million) Copyright Sothebys


    Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

    This diamond and sapphire cluster ring is lot 245 at O’Reilly’s of Francis St., Dublin sale of fine jewellery, watches and silver which runs online until June 18. It is estimated at 2,000-3,000. The sale of 581 lots is now underway.


    Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

    This Irish School portrait of Robert Rochfort (1661-1727) features the Great Irish Mace, which represented the authority of the English King in the Irish House of Parliament. The portrait is lot 2453 at Matthews four day online sale from June 19-22. The Great Irish Mace, over five feet in length, had finely chased floral designs with rose of thistle and fleur-de-lis motifs. Matthews attribute the portrait to George Morphy (1655-1715). King James II is believed to have melted down the mace to help pay his war debts.

    Portrait Robert Rochfort (1661-1727).
    Attorney General of Ireland and Speaker in the Irish House of Commons 1692-1703


    Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

    The source code for the World Wide Web from their creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee are to be auctioned by Sotheby’s as an NFT. Unique on the Ethereum blockchain it is composed of four elements; the original time-stamped files containing the source code written by Sir Tim; an animated visualisation of the code; a letter written by Sir Tim reflecting on the code and the process of creating it ; as well as a digital “poster” of the full code created by Sir Tim from the original files. The British computer scientist invented the world wide web in 1989. The original time stamped files will be offered in a standalone auction titled ‘This Changed Everything’. It is the first historical artefact relating to this landmark moment to be sold. The online sale will run from June 23-30 with bidding starting at $1,000. The sale will benefit initiatives that Sir Tim and Lady Berners-Lee support.

    Sir Tim Berners-Lee


    Monday, June 14th, 2021

    Interior by Sir William Orpen comes up as Lot 268 at Sotheby’s Modern and Post War British Art day sale in London on June 23. One of a group of exceptional interior paintings begun at 21 Fitzroy St., London in 1899-1901 it is estimated at £40,000-60,000.


    Monday, June 14th, 2021

    A copy of Ulysses presented by James Joyce to H.G. Wells comes up at Bonhams sale of fine books, manuscripts and photographs in London on June 24. From the 9th printing it is inscribed: “To H.G. Wells respectfully James Joyce, 5 November 1928 Paris” .

    Wells was an important early advocate of Joyce, writing a highly favourable review of his first book A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and describing it as “a book to buy and read and lock up, but it is not a book to miss. Its claim to be literature is as good as the claim of the last book of Gulliver’s Travels… No single book has ever shown how different they [English and Irish sensibilities] are, as completely as this most memorable novel” (The New Republic, 10 March 1917). It is estimated at £20,000-30,000.


    Monday, June 14th, 2021

    A selection of antique furniture will come up at Woodwards in Cork on June 19. Among the lots on offer are an unusual inlaid Indian card table in need of some restoration (€600-€800) and a Georgian walnut bachelors chest with a similar estimate. Other lots include a Georgian mahogany bureau, a Victorian tambour front desk, a Louis XV inlaid card table,  an Edwardian envelope  card table and a pair of bookcases by Hobbs and Co. London. There is a Glasgow longcase clock, a Chinese Chippendale style cabinet by Edwards and Roberts, a William IV teapoy, a set of six Chippendale style dining chairs and a pair of Art Deco mirrors.  Among the other lots are a Coalbrookdale garden bench, a cast iron five piece garden suite, Waterford Crystal, silver and collectibles.  The sale is on view from 10 am to 5 pm all this week and the catalogue is online.

    Inlaid Oriental card table 


    Sunday, June 13th, 2021

    This pair of Irish Rococo candlesticks by the Dublin maker Robert Calderwood sold for $25,000 at South Bay Auctions in New York on June 12. The catalogue note points out that: “The workmanship and quality of this pair of candlesticks places them amongst the finest Irish silver produced in their period, fully equal to the great French silver of the same period. The casting and dimensions match the pair of candlesticks, circa 1745, by Robert Calderwood at The National Museum of Ireland”.


    Saturday, June 12th, 2021

    Scarecrow Portaits – no less than 18 canvases painted by John Shinnors as a single work of art  –  comes up as Lot 46 at de Veres timed sale of Outstanding Irish Art and Sculpture in Dublin on June 22. These are no ordinary scarecrows.  Each one acts as a stage for the use of dark and light.  In a catalogue note the art historian John P. O’Sullivan points to their eerie and nightmarish quality and draws a comparison to the eyeless Sydney Nolan paintings of Ned Kelly. Shinnors traces his scarecrow motif back to summers in rural Co. Clare and an alarming childhood encounter with a scarecrow which he associated then with stories of the banshee.  Each piece is individually signed and numbered and measures a hefty 36″ x 36″. First exhibited at Limerick City Gallery of Art in 2002 the work is estimated at €70,000-€100,000.
    This is a quality art auction with major work by Jack Yeats, Paul Henry, Roderic O’Conor, Louis le Brocquy, Basil Blackshaw and others.  The O’Conor is a large colourful still life, there is a horse painting by Yeats along with one of the artist looking out from the attic of his house in Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Square. There is delight at de Veres at the quality secured for this auction. They are  looking forward to welcoming viewers back to Kildare St. from next Thursday and to the Merrion Hotel, where the sculpture is displayed.  Interest in sculpture has grown enormously in recent years in Ireland and the display of lots at The Merrion Hotel garden will include work by Patrick O’Reilly, Ian Pollock, Ana Duncan, F.E. McWilliam, Anthony Scott, Catherine Greene, Killian Schurmann, Orla de Bri and John Behan.  There are smaller pieces by sculptors like Sandra Bell, Vivienne Roche and Melanie le Brocquy.  The catalogue, which is online, displays a wonderful and not to be missed selection of contemporary Irish art.

    Scarecrow Portraits by John Shinnors 


    Friday, June 11th, 2021

    A major exhibition of the work of Willie Doherty, twice Turner Prize nominee and Northern Ireland’s foremost contemporary artist, has just opened at the Ulster Museum in Belfast. WILLIE DOHERTY WHERE offers an overview of his career in photography and time-based media.

    In the aftermath of Brexit, and in the centenary year of the partition of Ireland, the exhibition focuses on the theme of borders, both real and imagined, a subject which has dominated Doherty’s practice for over four decades. Collectively, the works in the exhibition reveal the numerous complex political, social and psychological implications of borders, both in Northern Ireland and further afield such as Mexico. The exhibition, which runs until September 12, was previously shown in Modena, Italy as part of the British Council’s UK/Italy season.

    Willie Doherty – Remains