Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
  • About Des
  • Contact
  • Archive for June, 2023


    Wednesday, June 28th, 2023
    Paul Signac – Calanque des Canoubiers (Pointe de Bamer), Saint-Tropez sold for £8,015,000

    Paul Signac’s Calanque des Canoubiers (Pointe de Bamer), Saint-Tropez realised the top price of £8,015,000 at Christie’s 20th/21st century London evening sale on June 28. The sale totalled £63.8 million. Global interest in Jean Michel Basquiat continued when his  iconic tribute to the legacy of Picasso Untitled (Pablo Picasso) was sold for £6,462,500 to a client in the room.  Collectors from around the world gathered in London for a sale where 61 lots sold in two hours. There was spirited bidding for new contemporary names and female artists.

    Diane Dal-Pra’s surrealist portrait, It Belongs to You, sold to an online bidder for £113,400 against an estimate of £30,000-50,000, achieving a new world auction record for the artist. Sahara Longe’s Self-Portrait sold for £113,400, marking the artist’s evening sale debut (estimate: £40,000-60,000). Caroline Walker’s Recreation Pavilion sold for £441,000 (estimate: £150,000-250,000). Louis Fratino’s Listening to a conch was the first work by the artist to be included in a Christie’s London evening sale, made £201,600. Victor Man’s Weltinnenraum (World Within) saw 25 bidders competing against one another before it sold for £1,734,000, a world auction record for the artist.


    Wednesday, June 28th, 2023
    Sean Scully – Barcelona Red Mirror

    Barcelona Red Mirror by Sean Scully made £482,600 at Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary day auction in London today. Executed on two vertical canvases it epitomises Scully’s hallmark configuration of stripes. Spanning bold alternating blocks of crimson and deep mahogany on the left panel and coal black and lilac on the left the present work creates a ruptured duality, a certain asymmetrical union. Signed and dated 04 on the reverse it brings to mind the artist’s early double canvases, at the same time paying homage to Barcelona, where Scully has had a studio since 1994.


    Tuesday, June 27th, 2023
    Lady with a Fan – the last portrait Austrian artist Gustav Klimt painted

    There was a new auction record for a painting sold in Europe at Sotheby’s in London tonight when Klimt’s last portrait – Lady with a Fan – soared past its estimate of £65 million to sell for £85.3 million. After a four way bidding war it went to a collector in Hong Kong. This is the second highest price for a portrait ever at auction.

    The painting, described as “a masterpiece by an artist at the height of his powers”, has strong Asian influences and is part of the Japonisme trend, which refers to the influence of Japanese art and design among Western European artists.

    It also features several Chinese motifs including the phoenix, a symbol of immortality and rebirth, and lotus blossoms that signify love.

    Helena Newman, the chair of Sotheby’s Europe and worldwide head of impressionist and modern art, said: “Dame mit Fächer is the last portrait Gustav Klimt created before his untimely death, when still in his artistic prime and producing some of his most accomplished and experimental works.

    “Many of those works, certainly the portraits for which he is best known, were commissions. This, though, is something completely different – a technical tour de force, full of boundary-pushing experimentation, as well as a heartfelt ode to absolute beauty.”

    Previous highest prices achieved in Europe were:

    £65m / $104.3m – Alberto Giacometti, Walking Man (Sotheby’s London, February 2010) – record for any work of art sold at auction in Europe
    £40.9m / $80.4m – Claude Monet, Le basin aux nymphéas –  (Christie’s London, June 2008) – record for any painting sold at auction in Europe
    £59.4m / $79.8m – René Magritte, L’empire des lumières  (Sotheby’s London, March 2022)
    £49.5m / $76.7m – Rubens, The Massacre of the Innocents (Sotheby’s London, July 2002)

    (See post on for June 24, 2023)


    Tuesday, June 27th, 2023
    Sir William Beechey, R.A.
    Portrait of Mrs Dorothy Jordan (1761–1816) as Rosalind in Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £22,860

    Sir William Beechey’s famous and much illustrated portrait of the great Irish actress, Dorothy Jordan, mistress of King William IV comes up at Sotheby’s in London next week. She was the mother of ten illegitimate children by him, all of whom took the surname FitzClarence. Its significance was recognised by her bibiographer Claire Tomalin who used the painting on the front cover of her definitive publication on Mrs Jordan in 1994. Born the daughter of Irish and Welsh emigres in London Dorothy Phillips (her unmarried name) started off her professional life on the stage in Dublin. In 1790 she attracted the eye of the young Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence and later William IV, who gave her an annuity of £1,200 and enough provisions for her accompanying family. She was subsequently given the use of Bushy House, a residence of the Duke in Bushy Park, where she became mother of his ten offspring. Rising debts and the search for a society marriage prompted William to call-off the affair, and Jordan was to receive £4,400 in a settlement drawn up shortly after their parting in 1811. Their eldest son George Augustus Frederick FitzClarence, 1st Earl of Munster (1794–1842) would have been King rather than Queen Victoria but for his illegitimacy. The painting is lot 142 at Sotheby’s Old Master and 19th century day auction in London on July 6 with an estimate of £20,000-£30,000.


    Sunday, June 25th, 2023
    Sir William Orpen R.A., R.H.A. – The Yacht Race (Sighting the Boat). UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    The Yacht Race (Sighting the Boat) by Sir William Orpen comes up at Sotheby’s Modern British Art sale in London on June 28. Orpen’s summer ritual from 1909 onwards had been to rent Arthur Bellingham’s house known as ‘The Cliffs’ overlooking the majestic sweep of Dublin Bay for the month of August. There he would be joined by his wife, Grace, and his daughters, Mary and Kit, along with other members of his family. Since the Howth holiday followed his summer term residency at the Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin friends and students sometimes joined the party. These convivial gatherings became subjects for drawings and paintings for, as his brother Richard recalled, while these ‘long, lovely, never-to-be-forgotten summer days’ were carefree. The pencil and watercolour on paper is estimated at £90,000-£130,000. A Shining Place – a Venetian painting by William John Leech – comes up at the same sale with an estimate of £50,000-£70,000.


    Sunday, June 25th, 2023
    Fountain in St. Stephen’s Green by Camille Souter. UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,600 AT HAMMER

    You don’t have to be actually in west Cork – though plainly it would be better at this time of year – to enjoy an upcoming auction in Skibbereen. Artists from Patrick Hennessy to Jack B Yeats, Camille Souter, Percy French,  Graham Knuttel, Mainie Jellett and Mildred Anne Butler all come up at Morgan O’Driscoll’s current online Irish art sale.  It kicks off at 6.30 pm on June 26.  The catalogue and bidding is online and it will be followed on Monday, July 3 with an online auction of affordable Irish art.


    Saturday, June 24th, 2023

    A late painting by Klimt set to become the most valuable artwork ever sold in Europe, wonderful antique furniture, portraits and exceptional collectibles will make rich pickings for the rich and plenty of eye candy for the rest of us in London in the coming weeks. This is the time of year when the art world descends on the British capital for a variety of major sales, fairs and significant one off events like the re-opening after five years of the world renowned National Portrait Gallery.   Despite some  indications that the global art market might be in slightly hesitant mode right now the London summer season of 2023 is unlikely to disappoint. Lady with a Fan by Klimt at Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary evening sale on June 27 has an estimate of around €80 million.  The last portrait he painted was still on an easel in the studio at the time of his untimely death in the flu pandemic of 1918. Featuring  an unnamed woman it is described by Sotheby’s as an ever deeper, ever more joyful immersion in pattern, colour and form, filled with the creative exuberance. The auction will offer a strong grouping of portraits with work by artists like Alberto Giacomett and Edvard Munch.

    These c1765 carved mirrors in the Chippendale style are being shown by Ronald Phillips at the Treasure House Fair

    In celebration of the re-opening of London’s National Portrait Gallery last Thursday the dynamism of portraiture across the centuries, redefined by each generation, will again be highlighted at Christie’s sale on June 28.  One of the more contemporary offerings here is Diplomacy I by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.  Part of the Tate Retrospective which closed last February it depicts a group of suited delegates recalling Marion Kaplan’s photographs of African heads of state at a summit in Uganda in 1967. The artist has created bold new characters for black representation in art. In this imagined portrait Yiadom-Boakye has inserted a single woman, clad in pink.  The sale offers portraits by Frank Auerbach, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Edgar Degas, Lucian Freud and Howard Hodgkin.

      Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Diplomacy I (2009) at Christie’s. UPDATE: THIS MADE £1,371,000

    The Treasure House Fair, in full swing until next Monday at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, was generated by leading UK dealers after the cancellation of Masterpiece, which cited a lack of overseas exhibitor interest. Treasure House has attracted dealers from France, Switzerland and the US like Geoffrey Diner and Michele Beiny.  There is fine antique furniture from leading UK dealers like Ronald Phillips at this curated global event with distinguished names across a wide range of disciplines.Meantime the city is gearing up for London Art Week which runs from June 30 to July 7 with 53 specialists and expert dealers with museum quality examples of decorative arts, paintings, sculpture and works on paper from antiquity to contemporary. Various galleries will show work by Irish artists like Sir John Lavery, Gerald Leslie Brockhurst (who lived here for a time)  Augustus John and Gwen John as well showcasing artists from Giambologna to Renoir, Picasso and Dora Maar.  The Fine Arts Society will exhibit an enamel by Phoebe Anna Traquair, the Irish born artist who achieved international recognition for her role in the Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland.  She produced large scale murals, embroidery, enamel jewellery and book illuminations.  On show in London is The Life of the Virgin (1906), three plaques in enamel with foil on copper.

    The Life of the Virgin (1906) by Dublin born Phoebe Anna Traquair is on display at the Fine Arts Society in London.


    Thursday, June 22nd, 2023
    A George III Giltwood Settee, almost certainly by Thomas Chippendale. English, c1780 at Ronald Phillips

    This Georgian giltwood settee is among the highlights at the Treasure House fair in London from June 22 to June 26. The inheritor of The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair (1934-2009) and Masterpiece (2010-2022), it brings together more than 50 of the best British and international dealers in a celebration of the rare and the beautiful across numerous disciplines and centuries. Visitors can enjoy a curated outdoor sculpture display on the Royal Hospital lawns before entering the fair’s magnificent tented structure in the South Grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea. There is art, silver, jewellery, rare books, cross-collecting, furniture, furniture, design, sculpture, Asian arts and porcelain of a very high quality on display.


    Wednesday, June 21st, 2023
    A set of five Lemon & Son brand sterling silver engraved Kentucky Derby jockey trophies won by legendary horse jockey Bill Hartack. UPDATE: THESE SOLD FOR $317,500

    An exceptional lineup of nearly 900 sports artefacts will come up at Julien’s live and online sports legends sale in Beverly Hills on June 23, 24 and 25. Lots on offer span the worlds of basketball, soccer, baseball, hockey, football, tennis, golf, the Olympics and beyond from sports legends like Pelé, Kobe Bryant, Floyd Mayweather, Diego Maradona, Babe Ruth and Rafael Nadal. Historic items of exceptional provenance from the greatest basketball player of all time Michael Jordan will be offered to benefit the James R. Jordan Foundation International, including the Michael Jordan signed and worn commemorative 1992 “Dream Team” USA jersey ($400,000-$600,000) and his 1982 commemorative signed North Carolina Tar Heels training jersey ($80,000-$100,000). The James R. Jordan Foundation International provides a pathway out of poverty by empowering youth and strengthening families through education and partnerships so they can become successful human beings and productive contributors to society. The Bill Hartack trophies illustrated here come up as lot 828 with an estimate of $300,000-$500,000.


    Tuesday, June 20th, 2023
    FELIM EGAN (1952 – 2020) – Untitled. UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,200 AT HAMMER

    This oil on canvas by Felim Egan comes up as lot 5 at the James Adam online picture sale on June 28. Felim Egan is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary artists. He exhibited across Europe and was the subject of major shows at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. He represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale in France in 1981 and at the Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil in 1985. The estimate for this piece is €3,000-€5,000. The catalogue for the auction is online.