Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
  • About Des
  • Contact
  • Archive for January, 2024


    Monday, January 29th, 2024

    A pen-and-brown-ink diagram of a block of marble drawn by Michelangelo with an estimate of $6,000-8,000 will come up at Christie’s in New York on April 17 as part of A Park Avenue Collection. This sale will comprise French furniture, Old Master paintings, drawings and Chinese works of art, representing more than 40 years of passionate collecting.  This small work depicts a block of marble, with the word ‘simile,” or ‘similar’ in English. It comes attached to a letter by Michelangelo’s descendant. The diagram was known in the literature, but recently identified by Christie’s Old Master Drawings Department, who found the letter and diagram attached to the back of a different drawing that had been in a private collection for decades. When Christie’s specialists saw the letter last year they immediately realised the small drawing on the back was by Michelangelo. Subsequent research has confirmed that attribution. The diagram and letter will be offered as a single lot.

    A tiny number of works by Michelangelo remain in private hands; perhaps fewer than 10. The current piece is one of a group of diagrams of marble blocks in Michelangelo’s hand, most of which are housed in the Casa Buonarroti in Florence, founded by Michelangelo’s last direct male descendent, Cosimo Buonarroti, who died in 1858. It was was given in 1836 to an English tourist, the future governor of Hong Kong, Sir John Bowring. It is likely that Cosimo Buonarroti would occasionally be moved to cut these diagrams from a larger sheet of such drawings for presentation to honored guests.


    Monday, January 29th, 2024
     A Neo-Classical marble chimneypiece at Sheppards. UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,200 AT HAMMER

    The antiques season in Ireland is lifting off and those who get their kicks from an auction fix will find plenty of action now that January is almost done.Immediate upcoming choices at Sheppards in Durrow on January 30 and 31and at Woodwards in Cork on February 3 include elegant Georgian and Regency furniture, marble chimney pieces, garden sculpture and furniture, longcase clocks and even an old carved stone statue of St. Peter. If brightening up the home was one of your new year resolutions then these eclectic auctions, on view in Durrow and Cork respectively, offer as good a place as any to begin.  

    Top lots at Sheppards include a Neo-Classical marble chimneypiece (€4,000-€6,000) and an attractive George III satinwood cylinder bookcase (€3,00-€5,000).  More than 700 lots will come under the hammer in this two day sale. Feature lots include a George III sideboard, a pair of Regency tea tables, a Georgian inlaid side table, a classical contemporary Italian Smania display case with figural veneered drawers and open glass shelves, a designer chrome and walnut console table, a 19th century wine cooler and an Indian marriage chest. Among the Chinese selection at Sheppards  are pairs of vases, painted panels, censers, jardinieres, chargers and porcelain vases converted to lamps.  A 19th century French ormolu clock is estimated at €500-€800 and an 18th century giltwood pier mirror has an estimate of €1,400-€1,800.  The catalogue is online and sales get underway each day at 10 am.

    A carved stone statue of St. Peter at Woodwards. UPDATE: THIS MADE 725 AT HAMMER

    Woodwards will begin their 2024 season with a selection of house contents from residences in Blackrock, Rochestown and Belgooly.  Among the more unusual lots is a very old carved statue of St. Peter (€500-€1,000).  There is an estimate of €800-€1,200 on a longcase clock by Harvey of Clonmel and furniture lots include a William IV teapoy (€250-€400), a Georgian walnut chest on chest (€500-€800), a Georgian work table (€300-€400), a Queen Anne inlaid desk (€400-€600) and a small Edwardian walnut bureau (€200-€300).Value in antique furniture continues to be a feature in 2024 and estimates are low on a range of items as diverse as a William IV sewing table, an Edwardian chest of drawers, a quartetto nest of tables, a Victorian card table, a demi lune side table and an Edwardian credenza.  there will be more than 300 lots, including a selection of artworks and the Cook St. auctions rooms are open for viewing from this afternoon.


    Saturday, January 27th, 2024
    Dove with Yellow Sun, a lithograph by Picasso, at Aidan Foley’s auction in Kilcolgan. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Art by Graham Knuttel, George Gillespie, Markey Robinson, John Kingerlee, Michael Hales and a Picasso lithograph titled Dove with Yellow Sun are feature lots at Aidan Foley’s two day sale at Kilcolgan, Co. Galway on January 29 and 30. The selection among over 1,000 lots will include a pair of Georgian side tables, a Regency pedestal sideboard, a pair of French marble topped bedside lockers, a large pair of porcelain and gilt metal jardinieres, a pair of metal and stained glass Moroccan style lights and a bottle of Jameson Dublin Whiskey bottled by Scotts of Kilkee.  The catalogue is online.


    Saturday, January 27th, 2024
    Annamoe Antiques will feature this 19th century Amharic Ethiopian wall painting on linen

    Whether it be pre-loved Rolex watches, art, antique jewellery, collectible silver, vintage fashion or collectibles the National Antiques Fair at Limerick Racecourse has it on offer this weekend.  Dealers from right around the country will bring their  collections and contribute to an extraordinary assemblage of desirable objects to tempt collectors.  Opening times are from 11 am to 6 pm on both days.


    Friday, January 26th, 2024
    MARTIN GALE (B.1949) – Owl (1978). UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,400 AT HAMMER

    This watercolour by Martin Gale comes up at Morgan O’Driscoll’s current off the wall online art auction which runs until January 29. The auction of affordable art features work by a wide variety of practitioners including Peter Collis, Oisin Kelly, Elizabeth Magill, Markey Robinson, Alan Kenny, Thomas Rose Miles, Felim Egan, Cecil King, William Crozier, Peter Collis, Pauline Bewick and many more. The catalogue is online.


    Thursday, January 25th, 2024
    David Hockney – California (1965). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £18.7 MILLION

    David Hockney’s California (1965) will be a highlight of Christie’s 20th / 21st Century evening sale in London on March 7. One of his first pool paintings and the first to include figures it has been Held in the same European private collection since 1968. It stands amonghis first great swimming pool paintings and has been unseen in public for more than 40 years. Christie’s estimate it in the region of £16 million.

    California is the largest and finest in the extraordinary group of early pool paintings created in London after Hockney’s first visit to Los Angeles in 1964. The art historians Paul Melia and Ulrich Luckhardt have noted that ‘Hockney considers it to be one of his most important pool paintings’. The paintings that followed have come to be synonymous with his oeuvre, combining dazzling technical virtuosity with strains of fantasy, desire and longing. 

    Hockney incorporated a swimming pool in the 1964 painting California Art Collector but it was not until he returned to London for Christmas that year that he made his first full pool painting: a figureless composition entitled Picture of a Hollywood Swimming Pool (1964). California followed shortly afterwards, along with the closely related painting Two Boys in a Pool, Hollywood (1965). California anticipates many of the achievements that followed in Hockney’s subsequent masterpieces. Its kaleidoscopic depiction of moving water lays the foundations for the techniques explored in A Bigger Splash (1967, Tate, London) and Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) (1972). Its naked figures foreshadow the sensuous male nudes of Sunbather (1966, Museum Ludwig, Cologne) and Peter Getting Out of Nick’s Pool (1966, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool). So essential did Hockney consider the painting to his oeuvre that, when unable to include it in his 1988 retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, he made his own copy, now held in the museum’s permanent collection. 


    Wednesday, January 24th, 2024
    Michael Sweerts – Head of a Woman, c.1654 – The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles will feature in an upcoming exhibition at Ireland’s National Gallery

    With a major exhibition of Rubens, Rembrandt and Vermeer opening on February 24 the National Gallery of Ireland announced today that it welcomed over one million visitors in 2023. This is the highest attendance number since 2017. Major exhibitions including Lavinia Fontana: Trailblazer, Rule Breaker as well as It Took a Century: Women Artists and the RHA and Lavery. On Location helped visitor attendance at the Gallery increase by 29% compared to 2022.   Vistiors found new acquisitions including La Vie des Champs (1876-77) by Paul Cézanne; Vase of Flowers with an Ear of Corn (1742) by Rachel Ruysch; Duft (1937) by Hannah Höch; and A Garden in France (1898) by Sir John Lavery. Exhibitions and displays included: Turner: The Henry Vaughan BequestJames Coleman: Still Life (2013 – 2016)St Dymphna. The Tragedy of an Irish PrincessPastel RevealedShelterZurich Portrait Prize & Zurich Young Portrait Prize; and Sarah Purser: Private Worlds.

    Turning Heads: Rubens, Rembrandt and Vermeer will run from February 24 to May 26 and will feature works by Dutch and Flemish artists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who were exponents of the tronie – an intriguing painting of a head. Paintings include Study of an Old Woman by Rubens, The Laughing Man, 1629-1630, by Rembrandt and The Man with the Golden Helmet, c. 1650 from the circle of Rembrandt. Vermeer’s most exquisitely detailed tronie, Girl with the Red Hat, c.1665-1667, is an exhibition highlight. 


    Wednesday, January 24th, 2024
    A Donegal Carpet, Killybegs, Ireland, Early 20th Century. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $6,985

    This early 20th century Donegal carpet in exceptional condition comes up at Sotheby’s in New York on January 30 with an estimate of $5,000-$7,000. The previous owner inherited it from his father, an antique restorer, who some 40-odd years ago was commissioned to work on some damaged library panelling for a client. In the course of the restoration he discovered a sealed room in which the carpet had been stored, probably for at least 50 years, which explains its exceptional condition with an extraordinary full pile. It comes up during Old Masters Week aslot 127 in a sale titled The Pleasure of Objects: The Ian and Carolina Irving Collection.


    Tuesday, January 23rd, 2024
    A c1800 Cork Silver sugar bowl stamped STERLING by John Toleken. UPDATE: THIS MADE 800 AT HAMMER

    This Irish 18th century Cork silver sugar bowl comes up as lot 5 at Hegarty’s timed and live auction on January 24. It is engraved with initials to one side and a family crest to the other and estimated at 800-900. The auction includes French furniture, silver, art and collectibles and the catalogue is online.


    Tuesday, January 23rd, 2024
    Living in Style Gallery will feature this mid-century modern Italian lotus shaped desk lamp

    The Winter 2024 Decorative Fair opens today at Battersea Park in London and runs until January 28. Since 1985 the design trade has flocked to The Decorative Fairs, which run three times a year, to source the finest choice of unusual and practical English and European antiques, super-stylish 20th century pieces, garden antiques, and a multitude of truly distinctive decorative items that are the making of unique and individual interiors and exteriors. Top trends currently include antique blue and white china and delftware, old-fashioned hall chairs, statement lights, traditional mahogany side tables, art nouveau glass, classical garden statuary, farmhouse refectory tables, modernist studio ceramics, dressers and small decorative mirrors.  Landscape pictures and portraits are also making a comeback.