Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Saturday, March 9th, 2019

    The collection of Drue Heinz will be offered at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern evening and day sales in New York in May. Leading the collection is Amedeo Modigliani’s Lunia Czechowska (à la robe noire), 1919 ($12-18 million). Modigliani was infatuated with his subject, a young Polish émigré, who was married to a close friend of the artist’s dealer, Léopold Zborowski, and would ultimately go on to paint her likeness in ten known

    Amedeo Modigliani, Lunia Czechowska (à la robe noire)

    Henri Matisse painted Nu à la fenêtre ($7-10 million) – also known as Nu
    nacré (Pearly Nude) for the iridescent quality of its light—in his new studio during the first part of 1929 and sold the canvas to Bernheim-Jeune that September. The painting was reproduced shortly thereafter in two important monographs, one by Florent Fels and the other by Roger Fry. Pierre Bonnard’s La Terrasse ou Une terrasse à Grasse, 1912 ($6-9
    million) is a pageant of high-keyed color and luxuriant, Mediterranean

    Heinz was married to H.J. (Jack) Heinz II – CEO of the H. J. Heinz Company – from 1953 until his death in 1987, and she made most of her acquisitions over the course of their three decades of marriage.

    The contents of Mrs. Heinz’s London mews house and Manhattan townhouse will be offered in London on June 4. The London mews was purchased by Mr. & Mrs. Heinz in the late 1950s and is particularly special as it has at its core one of the most charming and untouched John Fowler interiors remaining, with a second phase of development and decoration in the 1980s by Renzo Mongiardino.

    The top lot of the sale is from the London property, a massive
    George II giltwood pier mirror, circa 1750, in the manner of Vardy (£150,000 –250,000). Further highlights from London include Swimming Pool by David Hockney. Notable lots from New York include a Regency specimen marble bronzed and parcel-gilt centre table circa 1810 (£15,000-25,000) and a pair of Chinese Export black and gilt-lacquer wardrobes.


    Thursday, March 7th, 2019

    La Jeunesse de Bacchus, the largest work of William Bouguereau’s career and an icon of French academic painting, will highlight Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art sales in New York on May 14.  The monumental canvas stands 20 feet in length and 11 feet in height. It has been in Bouguereau’s studio in Paris since it was completed in 1884 – the culmination of two years of work.   It has left the studio only three times;  when initially presented at the Salon in 1884, followed by exhibitions in London and Antwerp through 1885, for the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1889, and as part of a retrospective touring the Musée du Petit-Palais in Paris, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford in 1984-85.

    On offer this spring by the direct descendants of the artist, La Jeunesse de Bacchus will carry an estimate of $25/35 million.  Here is a video about the work.


    Thursday, March 7th, 2019

    A total of 250 lots will come under the hammer at Morgan O’Driscoll’s current sale of Irish art online.  The auction includes work by Hughie O’Donoghue, Mark O’Neill, Louis le Brocquy, Sean McSweeney, Cecil Maguire, Arthur Maderson and others. The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    Joe Murray (20th/21st Century)
    David Bowie
    set of 3 life cast masks
    This is an actual life cast taken from David Bowie’s face by makeup artist Dick Smith during the production of the 1983 movie ‘The Hunger’, David Bowie was 36 at this time  UPDATE: THESE MADE 1,400 AT HAMMER

    Louis Le Brocquy HRHA (1916-2012)
    Flower Seller Christmas Eve, Ann Street, Dublin 1944  UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,000 AT HAMMER

    Hughie O’Donoghue RA (b.1953)
    Fiume (Head) (2004)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Arthur K. Maderson (b.1942)
    Grey Cloud Over Blackwater Valley  UPDATE: THIS MADE 4,600 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

    David Hockney – Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott.

    David Hockney’s double portrait of Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott sold for £37,661.250 at Christie’s in London tonight.  The portrait features Hockney’s close friend Henry Geldzahler, legendary curator, critic and king of the New York art world, and his then boyfriend Christopher Scott.  David Hockney became the world’s most expensive living artist last November when his Portrait of an Artist (Pool with two figures) sold for $90.3 million at Christie’s in New York. The 1969 double portrait of Geldzahler and Scott is one of seven double portraits, including the pool with two figures.  The acrylic on canvas captures Geldzahler at a time when he was organising the most revolutionary exhibition of his career, New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940-1970  at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    There was world auction records for Jordan Casteel  whose Patrick and Omari from 2015 made £299,250; for Jonathan Yeo, whose 2013 painting Claire’s Room (Grayson Perry) made  £125,000; and for Barry Flanagan, whose  Nijinski Hare  was acquired for £1,451,250.

    The Post War and Contemporary Art evening sale totalled £79,282,000 and was 93% sold by lot and 94% by value.


    Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

    Francis Bacon – Study for Portrait. Signed, titled and dated 1981 on the reverse ($12-18 MILLION)

    Francis Bacon’s Study for Portrait – the last of the artist’s famed portraits of his lover and muse George Dyer – is to come up at Sotheby’s in New York.  It is among the highlights from the Gerald L. Lennard Foundation Collection at the May  marquee auctions of Contemporary and Impressionist & Modern Art.  Other works include Willem de Kooning’s Untitled X from the group of works created in 1975 that marked the artist’s transition from a period of radical experimentation to the lush abstracts which are among his most celebrated and sought after works today; the most comprehensive group of late works by Philip Guston ever to appear at auction, including Legs, Rug, Floor from 1976 andRed Sky from 1978; and signature portraits by Frank Auerbarch depicting his wife Julia Wolstenhome and his friend Catherine Lampert.

    The Gerald L. Lennard Foundation’s interests include helping to promote programs involving visual and performing arts, healthcare, education and environmental sustainability.  Proceeds from the sale of the 37 works presented will help to benefit the Foundation’s mission now and in the future.

    Philip Guston Legs, Rug, Floor Signed, titled, and dated 1976 on the reverse ($6-8 MILLION)

    Willem de Kooning Untitled X Executed in 1975 ($8-12 MILLION)


    Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

    Lucian Freud – Head of a Boy 1956. UPDATE: THIS MADE £5.8 MILLION

    The Contemporary Art evening sale at Sotheby’s in London tonight brought in £93.2 million. Lucian Freud’s 1956 Head of a Boy, a portrait of Guinness heir Garech Browne, made £5.8 million.  It achieved the highest price for a work by the artist from the 1950s. The painting is fresh to the market, having remained in the collection of the Irish cultural patron  the Hon. Garech Browne since its execution.

    Apex by Jean Michel Basquiat made  £8.2 million and Juncture by Jenny Saville made £5.7 million. This represented an increase of over 1000% on the £457,250 achieved by this work a decade ago.

    The sale of 66 lots was 91% sold by lot and saw five works make over £5 million.  There were auction records for Adam Pendleton, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Rebecca Warren, and for a sculpture by Martin Kippenberger.


    Monday, March 4th, 2019

    Fonsie Mealy will offer an interesting and broadly based selection of 535 lots at a house contents auction in Birr on March 5.  Viewing is underway at 11 Oxmantown Mall, Birr and the sale is to be held at the County Arms Hotel.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    UPDATE:  The sale realised in excess of €325,000 on the hammer with 85% sold.  The top price of 36,000 was paid for an 18th century Augsburg marquetry table box; a three stone diamond ring made 20,000 and  a 19th century Minton majolica two handled urn made 16,000.

    (See post on for February 27, 2019)

    Regency mahogany Sofa Table, c. 1820, attributed to Gillows  UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,700 AT HAMMER

    Attributed to Garret Morphy (Irish 1650 – 1716) “Portrait of Sir William Parsons, Bart,” died 1740  UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,800 AT HAMMER

    A pair of Imari jars and covers UPDATE: THESE MADE 560 AT HAMMER

    Large Panorama Illustrated London News: “The City of Dublin,”.  UPDATE: THIS MADE 400 AT HAMMER


    Saturday, March 2nd, 2019

    An etching by Sean Scully and two works on paper by Tony O’Malley will feature at Sotheby’s Made in Britain sale in London on March 20. Sotto Voce by Scully, an etching and aquatint in colours, is estimated at £1,000-2,000.  O’Malley’s Three birds from a window  and another work entitled Winter Forms are each estimated at £1,000-1,500.  Both are charcoal, pastel and oil on paper.

    Sean Scully – Sotto Voce

    Tony O’Malley – Three birds from a window


    Friday, March 1st, 2019

    Whyte’s evening auction of Irish & International art at the RDS on March 4 promises to deliver another exciting opportunity for collectors to acquire rare artworks.  Viewing is from 10 am to 6 pm each day from March 2. The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    UPDATE:  Just under 90% of lots sold with a gross total of 1.25 million.  The highest price paid was €150,000 for a Jack Yeats 14 by 18 inches oil, titled “Justice”. A smaller Yeats oil – “A Passage is Required”, 9 by 14 inches, took a winning bid of €115,000. Both went to collectors in Dublin. A very large oil by James Humbert Craig, which was painted for the Empire Marketing Board in the 1920s for use on a poster promoting the linen industry, well exceeded its pre-sale estimate of €20,000 to €30,000, going to a Dublin collector who outbid a Northern Ireland institution at €54,000.

    (See posts on for February 24 and February 13,  2019)

    TONY O’MALLEY HRHA (1913-2003) – Abstract 1976 (6,000-8,000)  UPDATE:   THIS WAS UNSOLD

    MAINIE JELLETT (1897-1944) – Abstract Design (9,000-12,000) UPDATE: THIS MADE 15,000 AT HAMMER

    JACK BUTLER YEATS RHA (1871-1957) – At the Feis (6,000-8,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 5,800 AT HAMMER

    SIR WILLIAM ORPEN – Lord George Hell (25,000-35,000)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Friday, March 1st, 2019

    Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio (1571-1610) – Judith and Holofernes (c. 1607)

    A long lost painting by Caravaggio – Judith and Holofernes – discovered by the auctioneer Marc Labarbe five years ago in an attic in Toulouse, France is be sold at auction next June 27 in Toulouse.  Estimated at 100-150 million euro it will be sold by Labarbe in collaboration with the art appraisal firm Cabinet Turquin.  The dilemma is that the case for it is compelling, not categoric.  The Louvre, which has three Caravaggios and an acquisition budget that is not bottomless, decided not to buy it.

    In 2014 Marc Labarbe, the Toulouse-based auctioneer, received a call from a client in Toulouse. While clearing out the attic, the client had discovered a painting belonging to his family. Labarbe quickly recognized it as an important 17th century Italian work. He called on the art appraiser Eric Turquin, expert in Old Master paintings.  Together with his team the painting was researched for two years. All the experts recognised it as a major work. The French Ministry of Culture classified it as a National Treasure, which prevented it from being taken out of the country for a period of 30 months. This deadline expired December 24, 2018.

    The painting depicts the biblical story of Judith, a young widow in the city of Bethulia who puts an end to the Assyrian siege on her city by seducing and beheading the general Holofernes. Looking on is her elderly servant, Abra. The family that owns it has lived in Toulouse for decades and descends from a Napoleonic officer who participated in the Spanish campaign from 1808 to 1814. Forty years ago, the heirs sold another famous painting that dated from the Spanish Golden Age.

    There are 68 known paintings by Caravaggio, only four of which are in private hands.  Marc Labarbe is known for having discovered in 2011 a Chinese imperial scroll that sold for €22 million.  This is the highest price ever fetched at auction for an Imperial Chinese painting.  The auction is to be conducted by Maison de Ventes Marc Labarbe ­ in Toulouse in collaboration with Cabinet d’Expertises Turquin.