Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Thursday, April 18th, 2019

    The Irish and International art sale by Morgan O’Driscoll at the RDS on April 29 has been on view both in London and, for the first time, New York. The auctioneer has worked very hard over many years to enhance the international base of collectors of Irish art so it will be of great interest to see if the trip Stateside bears fruit in the way that various viewings in London have added a new dimension to these sales.

    Danish model and photographer Helena Christensen was among those who attended the New York viewing. The painting in the background is Isobel by Daniel O’Neill.


    Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

    A painting from Claude Monet’s iconic Haystacks series will highight Sotheby’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York on May 14. Meules from 1890 is one of only four works from the series to come to auction this century and one of eight in private hands.  The other 17 examples reside in the distinguished collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Musée d’Orsay, Paris and, perhaps most notably, six in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. It is estimated to sell for more than US$55 million.

    Claude Monet, Meules, 1890

    Notre Dame de Paris in flames

    Monday, April 15th, 2019

    As Notre Dame de Paris is in flames this evening it is not possible to say what treasures within have survived the blaze. It is known at this stage that firefighters managed to evacuate some pieces. The Rose Window and other stained glass treasures seem to have survived and the fate of the Pieta, or The Descent from the Cross by Nicolas Coustou, in the choir of the cathedral, is unknown but that part of the floor seems to be intact. The building is an icon of global gothic architecture. The 12th century gothic spire collapsed but the two towers survived. President Macron has vowed that it will be rebuilt.

    The Descent from the Cross by Nicolas Coustou in the choir at Notre Dame with stained glass panels in the background


    Sunday, April 14th, 2019

    With everything from a portrait of Lord Tracton to the Dennis silver tray which recounts in Victorian detail the sterling efforts of a magistrate in Wicklow to repress insubordination along the borders of Wicklow, Carlow and Kildare in 1822 the Fortgranite house contents sale by Fonsie Mealy  next Tuesday offers much to tempt collectors.  Among more than 850 lots are a Qing Dynasty cabinet, war medals from both World Wars, a Boer war letter from Winston Churchill and a Qing Dynasty cabinet.  Fortgranite in Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow was the home of the Dennis family for three centuries.  They were originally Swifts, related to Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s, satirist and creator of Gulliver’s Travels, who changed their name to inherit an estate at Tracton in Cork. This inheritance was highlighted on these pages last Saturday through lot 428, letters patent on vellum from King George III granting the title Baron Tracton to James Dennis, son of a timber merchant of Kinsale, who died childless in 1782.The lavishly decorated Dennis silver tray, made in Dublin in 1822, was presented by local bigwigs to Thomas Stratford Dennis:  ” ….  for his conspicuous Zeal and active intrepidity as a Magistrate of their County And for his successful exertions in repressing the spirit of insubordination and contempt for the Laws which prevailed along the borders of the Counties of Wicklow Carlow and Kildare in the year 1822″.  That year marked an ongoing economic slump following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, a disastrous potato crop failure and agrarian unrest.Lot 358 is a tooled gilt binding published in London in 1741 and estimated at 1,000-1,500. By Lewis Riccoboni it is an historical account of the Italian, Spanish, French, English, Dutch, Flemish and German theatres.  The carved hardwood Qing Dynasty cabinet, purchased in Hong Kong, is estimated at 2,000-3,000. A portrait of Esther Johnson in the style of James Latham is estimated at 7,000-10,000.  She was Dean Swift’s Stella and rumoured to have been his wife.

    UPDATE: The sale realised 660,000 on the hammer and was 95% sold. The top lot was an Irish George II hunt table which made 25,000 at hammer.

    A 1741 edition of the history of theatres in Europe UPDATE: THIS MADE 620 AT HAMMER: THE DENNIS SILVER TRAY SOLD FOR 12,000


    Friday, April 12th, 2019

    The Cell Door, Robben Island, by Nelson Mandela comes up at Bonhams in New York on May 2. The wax pastel crayon artwork created in 2002 was one of the few kept by the statesman for his personal collection. Inherited by his daughter Dr. Pumla Makaziwe Mandela it comes up at the Modern and Contemporary African Art sale with an estimate of $60,000-90,000.

    After his official retirement in 1999 the former President of South Africa turned to art as a therapeutic activity that helped him express and reflect on his tumultuous life. In 2002 he created 22 sketches about his 27 year-long incarceration, focusing on images he found symbolically and emotionally powerful. Ten of these original drawings were then reproduced as editions of lithographs for the seriesMy Robben Island (2002) and Reflections of Robben Island (2003). These sets did not include The Cell Door, which was regarded as a deeply personal image and one that he wanted to keep for himself.

    Nelson Mandela, The Cell Door, Robben Island, 2002


    Thursday, April 11th, 2019

    THE Irish Library sale at James Adam in Dublin on April 17 contains some remarkable pieces of Irish furniture and numerous collectible items. There is a collection of militaria relating to the Duke of Albany’s 72nd Highland Regiment , art by Richard Carver and Edwin Hayes and a collection of taxidermy. The catalogue is online.

    A PAIR OF IRISH CARVED MAHOGANY SIDE TABLES, with breccia marble tops (30,000-50,000)


    Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

    Contents from Fortgranite at Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow – home of the Dennis family for three centuries – will be offered by Fonsie Mealy on April 16. The family, originally named Swift, is related to Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, author, satirist and creator of Gulliver’s Travels. They changed their name for inheritance purposes. Among 850 lots is a portrait of Esther Johnson in the style of James Latham estimated at 7,000-10,000.  Dean Swift’s Stella she is rumoured to have been his wife.

    Other lots include a Boer War letter from Winston Churchill addressed to “Captain M.J.C. Dennis, K Section ‘Pompous’, 2 nd Cav. Bde, South African Field Army”, dated 4 March 1901, signed “Winston S. Churchill” and written on House of Commons notepaper. Captain Dennis took exception to Churchill’s assertion that the Boers had made more effective use of their Maxim guns than the British gunners. This is Churchill’s carefully-worded reply, in which he does not recede from his opinion.

    Late 18th century/early 19th century Irish School portrait of Esther Johnson (Stella) UPDATE: THIS MADE 6,000 AT HAMMER


    Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

    FOR the first time auctioneer Morgan O’Driscoll will hold New York viewings on April 2 and 3 for his Irish and International Art sale at the RDS on April 29. The venue is O’Sullivan’s Antiques at 51 East 10th St.

    There will be viewings in London on April 15, 16 and 17 and the sale will be on view in Skibbereen from April 20-22 before the Dublin viewings which begin on April 26. There are 161 lots in the auction.

    Spring Tide Schull (1919) by Jack Butler Yeats (50,000-70,000)


    Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

    Art by Cezanne, Warhol and Koons will feature among eleven works from the collection of S.I. Newhouse at Christie’s in New York in May. They will come up at the evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on May 13 and Post War and Contemporary Art on May 15. Representing Newhouse’s globally renowned taste and unfailing instinct for quality and historical significance, these works together trace key developments in the evolution of modern art, from the exceptional compositional inventiveness of Cézanne’s Bouilloire et fruits, 1888-1890 (estimate in the region of $40 million) to the quintessential image from Andy Warhol’s incomparable Death and Disaster Series, Little Electric Chair, 1964-1965 (estimate: $6-8 million). No work is more emblematic of Newhouse’s intuition for the revolutionary and sublime than Jeff Koons’ 1986 sculpture, Rabbit (estimate: $50-70 million). The group of 11 works is expected to exceed $130 million throughout 20th Century Week.

    Jeff Koons (b1955) – Rabbit

    Tobias Meyer, advisor to the Newhouse Family said:“Si Newhouse was one of the most important collectors of the 20th century and well into the 21st. He personified the rare combination of a great intuitive eye and equally great intellectual curiosity. He read voraciously about the artists he admired, and nothing could stop him once he decided to acquire a work of art that measured up to his exacting standards. Learning from Si was a privilege, and now helping his family is the highest honor of my career. It is a real pleasure to work with these amazing paintings and sculptures.”

    PAUL CÉZANNE (1839-1906) Bouilloire et fruits

    ANDY WARHOL (1928-1987) Little Electric Chair


    Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

    The evening sale of Important Irish Art at James Adam in Dublin on March 27 offers a broad selection of 166 lots. The earliest painting in the auction is a 1760 landscape by George Barret senior and there is a good selection of mid-20th century art and sculpture. The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    See posts on for March 16 and March 22, 2019.

    George Barret senior – Landscape with figures UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD
    Patrick O’Reilly (b.1957) Two Cows as Milk Cartons (2008) UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,200 AT HAMMER