Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Sunday, May 24th, 2020

    We’ve all become unhappily accustomed to restrictions on our movement.  One lot at Woodwards first ever online only auction in Cork on May 30 demonstrates that lockdown comes in many forms, and there is nothing new about it.  People can be confined to their own property, then forced to flee in most dramatic circumstances, as happened in Cobh long ago.

    Lot 285 at Woodwards is a detailed painting of The Queens Hotel, Queenstown, Ireland (now the Commodore Hotel, Cobh) by Walter Richards. It dates to the first decade of the last century.  Around that time the hotel, which first opened in 1854, was taken over by Otto Humbert, a naturalised British subject of German birth. The noted hotelier had electricity and phones installed and an American style bar on the ground floor. Fast forward to May 1915. Survivors of the Lusitania were brought ashore at Cobh. Some were billeted in The Queen’s Hotel. Feelings about the killing of 1,200 civilians aboard a passenger liner torpedoed by a German U-boat ran very high. Survivors were horrified to discover the proprietor of the hotel was a German.  The fact that he was blameless, that nothing against him was known, counted for nothing.  A mob surrounded the hotel demanding it be burned to the ground.Otto Humbert and his family were forced to hide in the wine cellar for three days until the rioters dispersed. By then he had prudently decided to leave.  He fled from his own hotel and made it to Liverpool.  There he boarded a ship bound for New York, a fact reported by The New York Times on May 30, 1915.  Many of those who died on the Lusitania are buried at Old Church cemetery in Cobh, just five minutes from the hotel.The sinking propelled America into the First World War and Queenstown into global war headlines. The painting depicts a much more tranquil, Edwardian style, harbour front hotel with attractive red and white awnings.  It is estimated at just €400-500.  A few years earlier, in 1912, some of those who set off on the Titanic spent their last night ashore at this historic hotel with its long history of servicing the liner trade.

    Woodwards will offer 338 lots antique furniture, fine art, silver and collectibles in an online auction which has already aroused much interest. 

    The Queen’s Hotel, Queenstown by Walter Richards


    Friday, May 22nd, 2020

    Before television and the internet dominated news and entertainment, popular culture was propagated largely through illustrated magazines. Christie’s is running an online private selling exhibition, The Art of the Cover until June 19. It features some of America’s most loved illustration artists and explores how they created a visual narrative of modern American life in the first decades of the 20th century. Among the 23 lots are works by Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, George Hughes and Joseph Kernan. The price ranges from under $100,000 to over $5 million.

    Garth Montgomery Williams (1912-1996) – Cover for Charlotte’s Web (a pair)


    Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

    THE Post-War and Contemporary Art Amsterdam auction at Christie’s will move to an online-only platform this year. It takes place from June 2-18.  The new format will offer a survey of contemporary sculpture over the last 60 years, ranging from Shinkichi Tajiri to Yayoi Kusama and from Tony Cragg and Ulrich Rückriem to Isa Genzken. An early pre-war painting by Ernst Wilhelm Nay will be presented alongside works by A. R. Penck, Günther Förg, Arnulf Rainer and Anselm Kiefer to form a focused group of German and Austrian artists. Dutch artists are represented by Rob van Koningsbruggen, Carel Visser, Henk Visch and Bram Bogart. Further highlights include Cap de Boc Marinat 2005, a monumental painting by Miquel Barceló (€250,000-350,000) and Untitled 2000 by Julian Schnabel (€50,000-70,000). Estimates are from €800.

    Miquel Barceló, Cap de Boc Marinat


    Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

    ONE: A global sale of the 20th century at Christie’s on July 10 is a new auction event offering Impressionist and Modern, Post-War and Contemporary art and Design. With streaming technology the first of its kind relay-style auction will take place in real time across the time zones from four of the art world’s major hubs: Hong Kong, Paris, London and New York. The sale will offer a range of exceptional works over four consecutive sessions led by principle auctioneers in each region, starting in Hong Kong. 

    The new format aims to create an adaptable, inclusive and engaging selling platform to present important works of art to global bidders.  Presented to both in-person and online audiences, the event will capture the excitement and drama of the gala evening sale, while offering access regionally and the accessibility of the online platform. It will replace the New York 20th Century Evening sale previously scheduled for the week of June 22.

    Pablo Picasso’s Les femmes d’Alger (version ‘F’), 17 January 1955 (estimate in the region of US$25 million) will highlight the group of works being sold in New York. It is from the series of fifteen canvases based on Eugène Delacroix’s masterwork Les femmes d’Alger executed between 13 December 1954 and 14 February 1955. Version F was painted around the halfway point in the cycle. 

    Pablo Picasso – Les femmes d’Alger (version ‘F’)


    Saturday, May 16th, 2020

    The onward march of the virtual world in this new era of online auctions, pent up demand and postponed sales cannot be overstated.  Some of the rapid adjustments made in this time of pandemic are temporary, others will prove to be far more permanent.Just a few short months ago at the beginning of the year the idea of conducting a sale with no option to view physically would have been beyond the imaginings of many. Now they are not only commonplace, but working. At a time when traditional viewing is out of the question auctioneers are finding new and imaginative ways to sell.Take Christie’s, currently running a sale called The Collector online until June 1. This 264 lot auction with estimates from £200 to £35,000 is focused on bringing craft and design us in lockdown. To promote the auction of English and European furniture, silver, ceramics, gold boxes and works of art from the 17th to the 19th century, they have created a series of virtual viewing viewing rooms filled with the lots on offer. These virtual vignettes are designed to inspire the inner interior decorator unleashed by all this enforced time at home.  Head of sale Paul Gallois commented:  “During this unprecedented period in our lives, whilst a great many are spending more time than ever at home, interiors have become a major focus of comfort, familiarity and aesthetic expression.”


    Friday, May 15th, 2020

    A total of 140 works from the collection of London dealer Danny Katz will be offered at a dedicated online sale at Sotheby’s from May 20-27. They span a wide range of collecting disciplines including Antiquities, Old Master and 19th Century paintings and drawings, Modern British art and European sculpture. The Mayfair dealer said: “As I near my 72nd birthday I want to slow down my business and work differently, turning my focus to my interests in philanthropy, academia, music, dance and neurology. This is an opportunity for others to start collecting. An opportunity for people who are spending more time in their homes right now to explore and buy something reasonably priced and beautiful, and when they get them home, to enjoy them as much as I have.”

    The Daniel Katz Galery will donate 100% of the sale of ten works to raise vital funds for two national charities, Refuge and Trussell Trust. The funds will be split equally between the two organisations who are providing essential support for those most in need during the pandemic.

    This has been an unprecedented year for online sales at Sotheby’s. More than 50 dedicated online sales have totalled over $80 million.

    Estelle by the Irish American artist Sir James Jebusa Shannon RA (1862-1923) (£50,000-70,000).


    Friday, May 15th, 2020

    Contemporary Irish artists Conor Harrington and Sean Scully feature at Bonhams sales. A large oil painting by Conor Harrington (Irish, born 1980) ‘L’Amour et La Violence’ executed in 2013, and a Sean Scully (Irish, born 1945) watercolour and graphite on paper, ‘Mirror’ from 2008 are on offer in Post War and Contemporary Art private treaty sales. This service provides clients with a bespoke approach to buying and selling, outside of the auction calendar. Interested parties are advised to contact the auctioneers directly for prices.

    Conor Harrington – L’Amour et La Violence


    Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

    The first live behind-closed-doors sale at Bonhams in Knightsbridge was a success with 84% sold by lot and 88% sold by value. The Modern British and Irish Art sale  saw a record number of bidders for the department. A section of 22 sketches by Cecil Beaton for The Book of Beauty all sold, many  above estimate. Irish works included William Crozier’s ‘Garden Storm’ which made £5,687, Cecil Maguire’s ‘Winter, Salt Lake, Clifden’ made £2,550 and Graham Knuttel’s bronze ‘Two Fish’ made £1,657 and his ‘Portrait of a Woman’ made £1,530.

    CECIL MAGUIRE R.U.A. (1930-2020)
    Winter, Salt Lake, Clifden


    Monday, May 11th, 2020

    THE 140 lot Irish art timed auction at de Veres of Dublin continues until the evening of May 12. Lot 1 closes at 6 pm, then each lot every 30 seconds until the end. Should a bid come in close to the cut-off time there is a 3 minute extension on that lot, to allow a response from other bidder. The catalogue is online.

    by Tony O’Malley (7,000-10,000). UPDATE: THIS MADE €9,500 AT HAMMER


    Monday, May 11th, 2020

    In Dublin Adams has re-scheduled a number of postponed sales to July and September. The Important Irish Art sale which had been scheduled for March is now to take place on September 9. The most expensively estimated lot in this sale is The Sick Bed by Yeats at 250,000-350,000.

    The Mid-Century Modern sale is now scheduled for July 28. The auction will be held as a live auction with telephone, commission and internet bidding all available, but there will be no bidding in the room. There will be a timed Works on Paper auction and a timed fine wines and spirits sale on July 31. There will be an At Home sale on August 23 and the fine jewellery and watches sale will now take place on September 15.

    Evie Hone HRHA (1894-1955)
    In the Woods at Marley (2,500-3,500) AT ADAMS IRISH ART SALE