Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • Archive for January, 2022


    Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

    The Enigma, a 555.55 Carat Fancy Black Diamond, comes up online at Sotheby’s next month as part of RE(LUX), a Luxury Sale Series. A treasure from interstellar space, The Enigma is extremely rare and the largest Fancy Black Natural Colour diamond in the world. It was listed as the largest cut diamond in the world in the 2006 Guinness Book of World Records. It is thought to have been created either from a meteoric impact or having emerged from a diamond-bearing asteroid that collided with Earth. 

    Cryptocurrency will be accepted as payment on the diamond, reflecting the fact that cryptocurrency has started to make its mark in the world of physical art and objects.

    The Enigma. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £3,161,000


    Monday, January 17th, 2022
    UPDATE: THIS MADE £7,500 at hammer

    An Irish Neolithic bog oak dug out canoe comes up at Bonhams in Edinburgh on January 26. Estimated at £2,000-£3,000  (€2,398-€3,597) it is among the highlights of the Jim Lennon collection of silver, Asian and European works of art. One day in the 1970s, a Church of Ireland clergyman the Reverend Con Auld was driving through rural county Fermanagh when he noticed a group of boys tending a bonfire. Curious, he stopped the car and discovered that the firewood consisted of bog oak canoes recently uncovered by contractors constructing a nearby road. Anxious that this this piece of Irish history should not be lost for ever, Rev Auld bought one of the canoes from the youths and drove off with it in his trailer. It will be offered at Bonhams with no reserve.

    Jim Lennon built up his collection over 40 years in Northern Ireland and writing in the forward to the sale catalogue he explains his guiding principles: “I like to think that everything I bought showed skilled individual workmanship, whether in wood, stone, silver, ceramics or any other medium.”


    Saturday, January 15th, 2022
    The outstanding group of six awarded to Patrick Donohoe with his Victoria Cross on the left. UPDATE: THE GROUP SOLD FOR £220,000

    The auction of a Victoria Cross awarded to Patrick Donohoe for bravery during the Indian Mutiny at Dix Noonan Webb on January 26 raises a fascinating question.  Is he the brother of Timothy Donoghue, awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for service during the American Civil War?

    Both were born in Nenagh, Co.Tipperary. Patrick in 1820 and Timothy in 1825.  And Timothy, who named his son Patrick, is known to have had an older brother of that name. If it turns out they are brothers it will be the only case of one family receiving the highest gallantry award of both Britain and America.

    Research suggesting that they are indeed brothers has been produced by Col. James Tierney, US Army retired, Regimental Historian of the 69th (New York Infantry) Regiment. 
    Timothy earned his Medal of Honor serving with the 69th New York Infantry at Fredericksburg, Virginia in December 1862. Patrick won his VC at the Battle of Bolondshuhur in 1857 during the unsuccessful mutiny against British rule known in India as the First War of Independence.

    Patrick joined the 17th Lancers in Dublin in 1839 giving his trade as coachmaker.  In April 1842 he transferred to the 9th Lancers, then bound for India where, in the space of the next 17 years, it was to see more fighting than in the whole of its previous 125 years.Timothy arrived in the US on the City of New York with his wife and son Patrick in April 1862. He enlisted in the 69th Regiment in September of that year.

    In India Patrick Donohoe was among a select group, unique to his unit, to be present at all three major military episodes of the campaign, the Siege of Delhi, the Relief of Lucknow and the final capture of Lucknow.  Wounded in Lucknow in 1858  he recovered to undertake the passage home with the regiment in 1859, now among a mere handful of comrades to have survived the years in India. His VC was sent to India while he was at sea, returned to London and eventually presented by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle in January 1860. Patrick Donohoe was discharged with chronic bronchitis from the British Army in Dublin in 1864 after 25 years of service.  He died in Ashbourne, Co. Meath in 1876 and is buried in Donoughmore, Co. Cork.

    On offer at Dix Noonan Webb on London on January 26 is the outstanding group of six Indian Mutiny medals awarded to Patrick Donohoe, including his VC.  Lot 207 is estimated at £140,000-£180,000 (€167,440-€215,280).For now the question of whether two brothers from Tipperary received the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Victoria Cross remains open.


    Saturday, January 15th, 2022

    The Easter Rising medal awarded to Kathleen Lynn – whose Treaty debate photo alongside Constance Markievicz was published in this paper last Saturday – comes up at Mullen’s Collector’s Cabinet auction in Bray on January 29.  Influenced while studying medicine by the writings of James Connolly and the poverty of the Dublin slums she joined the Irish Citizen Army as chief medical officer. Active in the Rising she was imprisoned in Britain, became vice president of Sinn Fein on her release and was on the run for much of the War of Independence.  She was the driving force behind the establishment of Saint Ultan’s Children’s Hospital in 1919. The medal is estimated at €20,000-€30,000.The latest in the series of collectibles auctions at Mullen’s includes historical memorabilia, rare and antiquarian books, militaria, arms and armour, sporting memorabilia, model trains and toys.

    Dr. Kathleen Lynn. UPDATE: THIS MADE 58,000 AT HAMMER


    Friday, January 14th, 2022

    A single page of original artwork from an acclaimed 1984 comic featuring Spider-Man has sold for a record $3.36m (€2.93m) at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. This makes the webslinger the world’s mightiest auction superhero.

    The page features the first appearance of Spidey’s black symbiote suit that would later lead to the creation of anti-hero Venom in artwork by Mike Zeck from Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars no. 8. The previous record for a single page of artwork from the interior of an American comic book was a frame showing the first image of Wolverine in a 1974 issue of “The Incredible Hulk”. The page sold for $657,250.


    Friday, January 14th, 2022

    This Famille Rose hundred bats vase comes up as lot 119 at the James Adam Chinese New Year sale of Decorative Asian Arts in Dublin on January 18. The globular trumpet necked vase with the Guangxu six-character mark and of the period is estimated at €5,000-€7,000. The brightly enamelled vase has a profusion of iron-red bats in flight amidst multicoloured lingzhi clouds, between a band of ruyi heads at the rim and upright lappets around the foot. It is divided at the shoulder by a band of lotus sprays alternating with gilt shou characters on the shoulder above a gilt relief border.


    Thursday, January 13th, 2022

    The private collection of Bill Reese, renowned as the foremost dealer-scholar of antiquarian books of his generation, comes up at a series of sales at Christie’s beginning of May 25. The rich combination of printed works, historic prints, fine art, and colour-plate books rank this among the most valuable sales of printed Americana in over 50 years. With approximately 700 lots, the collection has a total pre-sale auction estimate of $12 to $18 million.

    J W AudUbon – Gold Rush. Jesus Maria. UPDATE: Illustrated Notes of an Expedition through Mexico and California made $189,000

    The collection is highlighted by one of only six recorded copies of one of the earliest contemporary broadside editions of the Declaration of Independence, and likely the first edition printed in New England: the Sang-Copley-Reese copy ($1,000,000-1,500,000) – UPDATE – THIS SOLD FOR $2.1 MILLION. The Continental Congress, after authorising the writing of the Declaration and approving the text submitted by Thomas Jefferson and his committee, took steps to ensure the rapid dissemination of the historic document when it was approved on 4 July 1776.

    Highlights include the Illustrated Notes of an Expedition through Mexico and California by John Woodhouse Audubon from 1852; Henry James Warre’s Sketches in North America and the Oregon Territory; William Guy’s Wall’s Hudson River Portfolio (the first complete copy of the first issue to be at auction since 1948); Hannah Millard’s even rarer chromolithograph work on the wine grapes of California—most copies of which seem to have been destroyed in the San Francisco’s Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906; and natural history works of John James Audubon, Mark Catesby, George Brookshaw, John Fisk Allen, and Daniel Giraud Eliot, among others.

    Rare historic documents include Paul Revere’s engraving of The Bloody Massacre Perpetrated In King Street, Boston, On March 5th 1770, By Party Of The 29th Reg. Boston from March 1770 ($250,000-350,000) and a special first edition copy of Lewis and Clark’s History of the Expedition by Meriwether Lewis in 1814, which is the definitive account of the most important exploration of the North American continent.

    Paul Revere – The Bloody Massacre. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $352,800

    In 1979, William S. Reese established the antiquarian books firm that would define his presence in the market: the William Reese Company, situated adjacent to the Yale University campus and its Beinecke Library.



    Thursday, January 13th, 2022
    René Magritte, L’empire des lumières, 1961

    René Magritte’s L’empire des lumières captures the visual paradox that lies at the heart of the artist’s originality. With an estimate in excess of $60 million this masterpiece of 20th century art will be offered as a highlight of Sotheby’s Modern & Contemporary evening auction in London on March 2. It has been on loan to the Musée Magritte in Brussels from 2009-2020. It was created in 1961 for Baroness Anne-Marie Gillion Crowet, the daughter of Magritte’s patron the Belgian Surrealist collector Pierre Crowet, and has remained in the family ever since. 


    Wednesday, January 12th, 2022
    VADIM TUZOV – REINDEER, bronze, edition of 3

    An exhibition of recent sculpture by Irish Ukrainian artist Vadim Tuzov opens at Solomon Gallery in Dublin tomorrow and runs until February 5. Tuzov attended a Junior School of Art, before going on to study drawing and sculpture at the National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture in Kiev. He began sculpting full-time in the late 80s and later moved to Ireland with his family, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.  He has his own studio and foundry in Co. Wicklow and casts and patinates his own work. This is his second show at Solomon.


    Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

    Bonhams has announced the acquisition of Bukowskis, the leading auction house in the Nordic region. Established in 1870 and with its flagship saleroom in Stockholm, Bukowskis is renowned throughout Scandinavia. During recent years they have transformed themselves from a much-loved, traditional, and respected brand into an innovative digital presence that attracts more than one million users every month. Last year, Bukowskis sold 11 out of the 15 most valuable artworks in the Swedish market. The acquisition is part of Bonhams strategy to further the development of Bonhams into a digital leader and a truly global player with a balanced presence across the US, Europe and Asia.