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    RESTORED CANOVA CASTS IN NEW SETTING AT CRAWFORD GALLERY

    Monday, February 18th, 2019

    The Canova casts at the Crawford Gallery in Cork.

    Restored Canova casts have gone on display in a re-vamped setting against a blue ground at the Crawford Gallery in Cork. The casts were a gift from Pope Pius VII to the Prince Regent, later George IV, as thanks to Britain for returning masterpieces looted by Napoleon. The Prince gifted them to the people of Cork in 1819 and about a dozen of the original gift survive today.

    Among them is a cast of the Apollo Belvedere, busts of Jupiter and Socrates, the goddess Concordia and Laocoon and his sons.  The casts have long been on display but they were conserved over the past two years by Eoghan Daltun in a project funded by the Heritage Council.

    Crawford Art Gallery Director Mary McCarthy says the gallery is seeing an unprecedented period of growth with over 230,000 visitors last year. She said the casts are much loved in Cork and nationally and she is very confident that people will come back to see “the old friends”.  A 22 million capital investment programme is to begin at the gallery soon.

    L’APOCALYPSE BY DURER AT CHRISTIE’S, PARIS

    Sunday, February 17th, 2019

    L’Apocalypse by Albrecht Durer, considered to be the first “painter’s book”, comes up at Christie’s in Paris on February 20 as part of the Marc Litzler Collection.

    Durer breaks with the traditional medieval representations of the 15th century with a new a personal vision in this book published in 1498.  It was influenced by his trip to Italy to study the works of the Renaissance.  It features more dramatic subjects portrayed through wood engravings.  L’Apolalypse is estimated at 150,000-200,000.

    The Litzler is notable for the quality and rarity of its illustrated editions and art books, which comprise the majority of the sale. It features the groundbreaking Jazz series by Matisse made of 20 stencilled coloured plates made from the artists’ collages and cutouts. Jazz is estimated at 200,000-300,000.

    HIRST, EMIN, RILEY FROM GEORGE MICHAEL’S YBA COLLECTION

    Sunday, February 17th, 2019
    George Michael’s art collection – which will come under the hammer at Christie’s in London on March 14 – is a snapshot of the YBA (Young British Art) Movement. It comprises work by artists like Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Michael Craig-Martin and Marc Quinn.
    Christie’s say the collection represents George Michael’s dedication to cutting edge creativity in every field and reflects his instinctive support of young emerging artistic talent. Proceeds will be used to continue George Michael’s philanthropic work.
    The flagship auction will take place alongside an online sale which will be open for bidding from March 8-15. Estimates range from £400 to £1.5 million.
    Key works will include Tracey Emin’s Drunk to the Bottom of my Soul (2002), Damien Hirst’s The Incomplete Truth, 2006, Bridget Riley’s Songbird, 1982 and Michael Craig-Martin’s Commissioned Portrait Untitled (George) 2007.
    The singer and songwriter, who died on Christmas Day in 2016, was one of the most influential and best selling artists of all time.  Through visits to galleries and artists’ studios he developed friendships with many of the YBA artists.  Wham! was the first major western act to perform in China with two historic concerts in 1985.  Christie’s global tour of this collection will include a stop in Shanghai, as well as New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. The collection will be on view at King St. in London from March 9-14.
    Jussi Pylkkanen, global president, Christie’s commented: : “The viewing of over 200 works of art from the private collection will provide a fascinating insight into the broader tastes of a man who was deeply admired all over the world”.
    George Michael’s trustees say that philanthropic work was hugely important for George during his lifetime and it was his wish that this would continue after his passing.

    Tracey Emin – Drunk to the bottom of my soul (£180,000-250,000). Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2019.

    Michael Craig-Martin – Commissioned Portrait Untitled (George) (wall mounted LCD monitor/computer) (£40,000-60,000). Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2019.

    Damien Hirst – The Incomplete Truth (£1-£1.5 million) Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2019.

    Bridget Riley – Songbird (£400,000-600,000). Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2019.

    SFMOMA TO SELL UNTITLED 1960 BY ROTHKO FOR ACQUISITIONS

    Friday, February 15th, 2019

    Mark Rothko – Untitled, 1960

    Untitled 1960 by Mark Rothko will highlight Sotheby’s Contemporary evening art auction in New York next May.  Estimated at $35-50 million it is being sold to benefit SFMOMA’s acquisition fund.

    Untitled, 1960 is one of just 19 paintings completed by the artist in 1960.  That year marked a critical juncture in his career when he was at the apex of his artistic powers. It followed on from his defining commission of the Seagram Murals (1958-59) and his representation of the United States in the XXIX Venice Biennale in 1958.  This was organised by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, which would subsequently hold Rothko’s first and only major lifetime retrospective in 1961.

    Following a collection review, and working within the guidelines of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), proceeds from the sale of Untitled, 1960 will only be used to purchase works for the museum.  Neal Benezra, Helen and Charles Schwab Director of SFMOMA, said: “With a spirit of experimentation, diversity of thought, and openness to new ways of telling stories, we are rethinking our exhibitions, collections, and education programs to enhance accessibility and expand our commitment to a global perspective, while sustaining our dedication to Bay Area and California art. Untitled, 1960 is being sold in order to broadly diversify SFMOMA’s collection, enhance its contemporary holdings, and address art historical gaps in order to continue to push boundaries and embrace fresh ideas.”

    Untitled, 1960 will travel to London, Taipei and Hong Kong, before returning to New York for exhibition and auction this May.

    AN EARLY GAUGUIN AT SOTHEBY’S IN PARIS

    Thursday, February 14th, 2019

    Paul Gauguin Le Jardin de Pissarro, Quai du Pothuis à Pontoise, 1881 (recto)
    Deux esquisses d’autoportrait (verso)

    An early landscape by Paul Gauguin, which has been in the same collection for nearly a century, will come up at Sotheby’s Impressionist and  Modern art sale in Paris on March 29.   Le Jardin de Pissarro, Quai du Pothuis à Pontoise, 1881, has rarely been exhibited: in 1964 in Pont-Aven and, more recently, at a hugely popular exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2016.

    The work is rare in more than one respect: Gauguin’s paintings from this period hardly ever appear on the market, and the two self-portraits by the artist on the back of the canvas make it truly unique.  According to the catalogue raisonné on Gauguin, these are the first known self-portraits by the artist. It appears certain that they were executed after the landscape. While they are painted on a blank background, both are of an exceptional quality, presaging some of Gauguin’s most famous self-portraits, made a few years later.

    Between 1879 and 1881, Gauguin frequently visited Pissarro, whom he called his “dear teacher” in a number of letters. He would often stay in Pontoise, where Pissarro lived. The latter launched Gauguin’s career as a painter and taught him all the technique he required. These were formative years for Gauguin’s art. As Christophe Duvivier, Director of the Pontoise museums, puts it: “With Pissarro, Gauguin learnt to see landscape and summarise it.”

    The friendship between the two men is reflected in a joint work made in 1880 and kept at the Musée d’Orsay: a portrait of Gauguin by Pissarro combined with a portrait of Pissarro by Gauguin. The house featured in this painting is where Pissarro lived in Pontoise between summer 1881 and November 1882.  The figure underneath the umbrella is likely to be Pisarro, who often painted thus.  The work is estimated at 600,000-900,000.

    A 1953 OIL BY JACK B. YEATS AT WHYTE’S SALE IN DUBLIN

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

    Jack b. Yeats – A Passage is Required, 1953

    A 1953 oil by Jack B. Yeats will lead Whyte’s spring auction of Irish and International art in Dublin at 6 pm on March 4.  A Passage is Required is estimated at 100,000-150,000.  The sale offers collectors and exciting opportunity to acquire rare artworks.  Highlights consigned include an oil by Margaret Clarke, a piece of stained glass from the workshop of Harry Clarke and a 1950’s oil by Norah McGuinness.  There is work by James Humbert Craig, Camille Souter, Evie Hone, Sean Keating, Roderic O’Cnor, Gerard Dillon, Louis le Brocquy, Kenneth Webb and others.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    ANNIE, 1956 NORAH MCGUINNESS HRHA (1901-1980)

    OLIVER GOLDSMITH, 1861 JOHN HENRY FOLEY RA RHA (1818-1874)

    Louis le Brocquy – Study for A Family, 1951

    Studio of Harry Clarke – Stained glass door panel

    IMPRESSIONIST AND MODERN MASTERPIECES AT CHRISTIE’S

    Monday, February 11th, 2019

    Hidden Treasures, Impressionist and Modern Masterpieces from an Important Private Collection will launch Christie’s 20th century season in London on February 27.  The sale of 23 seminal works will be led by Claude Monet’s Saule pleureur et bassin aux nympheas. Further highlights include Paul Cezanne’s Nature morte de peches et poires and Vincent van Gogh’s Antwerp period Portrait de femmel buste, profil gauche.  It will be followed on the same day by the Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in a series that will continue until March 7.

    The evening sale will be led by a group titled An Adventurous Spirit: An Important Private Collection Sold to Benefit a Charitable Foundation. The group consists of six paintings of rare importance and quality by Paul Signac, Gustave Caillebotte, Félix Vallotton, Édouard Vuillard and Giovanni Boldini. Further highlights include Monet’s Au bord du fjord de Christiania (1895) (£4.5-6.5 million), Deux figures au tronc d’arbre jaune by Le Corbusier (1937) (£2-3 million), Edgar Degas’s Danseuses dans une salle d’exercice (Trois Danseuses) (1873))£800,000-1,200,000), Pablo Picasso’s Nature morte au crâne de taureau (1942) (£4-6 million) and Alexej von Jawlensky’s boldly coloured Blaue Schürze (1909) (£2-3 million).

    Vincent van Gogh Portrait de femme: buste, profil gauche Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2019

    Gustave Caillebotte – Chemin montant. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2019

    ROMEO AND JULIET BY YEATS AT BONHAMS

    Friday, February 8th, 2019

    Romeo and Juliet (The Last Act) by Jack Butler Yeats.

    Romeo and Juliet (The Last Act), by Jack Butler Yeats is to be a highlight of Bonhams Modern British and Irish art sale in London on June 12.  Painted in 1927, the much-exhibited work depicts the ending to the play in the Capulet family mausoleum. Waking from a drugged coma, Juliet finds the lifeless body of Romeo, who had committed suicide believing his wife to be dead. Stricken with grief, Juliet takes her own life. Yeats shows the bodies of the star-crossed lovers slumped at the foot of the tomb. It is not known whether the artist imagined the scene, or based it on a production of the play that he had attended.

    Bonhams Director of Modern British and Irish Art Penny Day said, “With Valentine’s Day fast approaching there could not be a better time to announce the sale of Jack Yeat’s magical depiction of the world’s two most famous fictional lovers. The painting wonderfully captures the atmosphere in the theatre as the play reaches its tragic conclusion.”  It is estimated at €90,000-135,000.

    The sale also includes Romeo and Juliet (After Adelaide Claxton) by Walter Sickert estimated at €17,000-23,000.

    NEW WORLD RECORD FOR DURER WOODCUT AT CHRISTIE’S

    Monday, February 4th, 2019

    Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

    There was a new world record for a woodcut from Albrecht Durer’s Apocalypse series at Christie’s in New York.  Durer’s The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse made $612,500 against a high estimate of $350,000.  It was the top lot at Christie’s Old Master Prints sale which realised $4.89 million.

    Other great results were achieved for Saint Jerome reading in an Italian Landscape by Rembrandt ($468,500) and Martin Schongauer’s The Death of the Virgin from The Collections of Herschel V. And Carl W. Jones, Minneapolis which achieved $492,500, setting a new record price for the artist. 

    Further artist records were set for the Master E.S., whose Madonna of Einsiedeln: Large Version, also from the Jones collection, achieved $372,500, and Israhel van Meckenem’s Bust of an Oriental Man, which sold for $81,250. Another record was achieved for a print by Jean-Etienne Liotard, whose Large Self-Portrait sold for $75,000.

     The auction was sold 76% by lot and 93% by value.

    LUCIAN FREUD’S PORTRAIT OF GARECH BROWN TO MAKE AUCTION DEBUT

    Thursday, January 31st, 2019

    Lucian Freud – Head of a Boy 1956.

    Lucian Freud’s 1956 portrait of Garech Browne – Head of a Boy – will make its auction debut at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening sale in London on March 5. The portrait bespeaks the lifelong friendship between Lucian Freud and Garech Browne – dedicated patron of Irish music, poetry and culture, Guinness heir, and last custodian to the magical Luggala estate.

    Freud first visited Luggala in the 1940’s with his wife Kitty, before eloping with Garech’s cousin, Lady Caroline Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, in 1952. This painting of a young Garech was created at the Luggala estate during a potentially fractious moment in the course of Freud’s tempestuous second marriage; he and Caroline acrimoniously separated in 1957, barely a year after its execution.

    Embodying the sensational powers of observation which famously characterise Freud’s work, this is a remarkable example of portraiture executed when Freud was just 34 years of age.  Small in scale and yet boasting a remarkable emotional intensity, the 18 by 18cm work is at once testament to the artist’s masterful control over his subject, and a tremendous tribute to the sitter – the late Hon. Garech Browne.  The portrait hung adjacent to the fireplace in the grand sitting room at Luggala for over half a century.  It is estimated at £4.5-6.5 million.

    Garech, who founded Claddagh Records in 1959, became custodian of Luggala in 1970 and continued the legacy of legendary Guinness hospitality.  He relished live performances by musicians. The Luggala visitors’ book highlights the diversity of musicians who spent time at the house from 1970: singer Dolores Keane, composer Frederick May, singer Marianne Faithfull, Sting, Bono, The Rolling Stones, Mick and Bianca Jagger, and Michael Jackson.