Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Friday, January 8th, 2021

    A virtual exhibition of rarely-seen drawings inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy has been launched by the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. It marks the 700th anniversary of the death in 1321 of Dante Alighieri. The 88 illustrations on view were completed between 1586 and 1588 by Renaissance artist Federico Zuccari.

    The Divine Comedy by Dante, known as the father of the Italian language, is an epic first-person odyssey through heaven, hell, and purgatory considered one of the most important literary works of all time. The exhibition can be found by googling Uffizi Gallery Dante.

    Federico Zuccari, Inferno, Canti XXVI-XXVIII.


    Thursday, January 7th, 2021

    With three auctions planned for the first quarter of 2021 Whyte’s has reported that sales in 2020 reached €7 million. This compares to €8.5 million in 2019. Increased demand for art and collectibles offset the worst of the effects of the pandemic. Demand was driven by savings made from not travelling abroad, not eating out, not drinking in pubs, not commuting and not buying clothes for work. The imposition of negative interest rates on bank deposits has encouraged cash rich individuals to purchase tangible assets such as art and collectibles.

    Whyte’s anticipate that 2021 will be another challenging year with the continuance of pandemic restrictions and Brexit. This will cause problems for trading in art between the EU and the UK. Individual collectors will have to pay 13.5% VAT on importation of art, and 21% on importation of collectibles from the UK. UK collectors and businesses will only pay 5% VAT on imports of art and most collectibles from Ireland. Irish VAT registered businesses will account for the importation VAT in their returns to Revenue. Customs clearance charges will add an extra 1% to the cost of importing art and collectibles. Thus a painting bought in the UK for €10,000 could cost an extra €1,450 to import to Ireland, and a €1,000 collectible will be charged €220 on arrival.

     Whytes will hold sales of Irish & International Art on March 1, The Eclectic Collector on March 27 and a Spring Art Sale on April 13-19. 

    This 1916 Procalamation of the Irish Republic sold for €190,000 in July


    Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

    A selection of exceptional works from the property of heirs of Franz Koenigs will come up in a series of sales at Christie’s in 2021. Categories will include Old Master Paintings and Old Master Drawings, Impressionist and Modern Art, Prints and Applied Arts. There are more than 2,800 works of art, ranging from the 15th to the early 20th Century. German by birth, Franz Koenigs  (1881-1941) was a businessman and banker who settled in the Netherlands in 1922. Because of the political developments in his home country he obtained Dutch nationality in 1939. Among the highlights are a number of exceptional landscapes by the leading exponents from the Dutch Golden Age, led by Jacob van Ruisdael’s iconic Tower of Kostverloren on the Amstel (£500,000-800,000), and  A wooded river landscape with a punt, Deventer in the distance by Meindert Hobbema (£500,000-800,000). 

    Meindert Hobbema – A wooded river landscape with a punt, Deventer in the distance 


    Sunday, January 3rd, 2021

    Knight, Death and the Devil an etching produced by Albrecht Dürer in 1513 comes up at Phillips in London on January 21. It is the first time that the firm will offer a work from the 16th century in London. This is one of three large prints that form Dürer’s Master Engravings produced between 1513 and 1514.  Knight, Death and the Devil, accompanied by Melancholia I and Saint Jerome in His Study, are considered to correspond to the three kinds of medieval scholarly virtue – theological, intellectual, and moral. The engraving is estimated at £20,000-30,000.

    The 272 lots in the sale offer examples of Pop, Modern and Contemporary editions as well as pieces from key periods of art history. Among them are Roy Lichtenstein’s Reverie from 1965 and two screenprints in colour by Andy Warhol: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, from Reigning Queens (Royal Edition), 1985 and Mickey Mouse, from Myths, 1981.

    Albrecht Dürer
    Knight, Death and the Devil


    Friday, January 1st, 2021

    Because of our lockdown the National Gallery of Ireland is closed until further notice. There is as of now no access to Turner and Place: Landscapes in Light and Detail. If, as seems likely, there will be no reprise of Ireland’s lockdown before January 31 it will be the first time in 120 years that the annual winter exhibition of Turner watercolours will not be open to the public. The 31 Turner watercolours were to have been shown alongside a group of 19 rare topographical drawings by Francis Place, who visited Ireland in 1698. Among them are the earliest known depictions of Drogheda, Dublin, Kilkenny, and Waterford within the national collection. The Gallery had reopened on December 1 after 73 days of closure.

    In 1900, the National Gallery of Ireland received a bequest of 31 watercolours and drawings by Turner from the English collector Henry Vaughan (1809–99). Vaughan stipulated in his will that the watercolours be exhibited every year, free of charge, for the month of January, when the light is at its weakest. Since 1901, the Gallery has displayed the watercolours for the month of January, thereby upholding the conditions of his bequest. January 2021 marked 120 years since the Turner watercolours were first exhibited at the Gallery.

    Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775-1851 – A River in the Campagna, 1794/1797 Watercolour and graphite on off-white wove paper.


    Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

    AS this strange, unsettling year draws to a close auction houses are looking back with relief and forward with optimism. Twelve months ago when 2020 dawned there was little inkling of the pandemic that has since engulfed the globe causing at least 1.8 million deaths and 82 million cases so far. In the art and antiques market online sales and private sales did much to alleviate the pressure caused by the lack of live sales nationally and internationally. Preliminary figures from Christie’s suggest that sales were down 25% to $4.4 billion. Demand remained strong and online sales (up 262% in 2020) and digital innovation are seen as major drivers of future growth. Private sales achieved a record total projected at $1.3 billion. No less than 36% of all buyers were new to Christie’s and 32% of new online only buyers were millennials (23-38 years old).

    CEO Guillaume Cerutti commented: “In 2020, the global pandemic deeply impacted the art market, as it did for almost all industries. We are now looking forward to 2021 with optimism, for two major reasons: global demand for art and objects remains strong with an impressive influx of new clients, especially millennials; and Christie’s has introduced digital innovations that significantly strengthened our business model, providing clients with greater flexibility to transact with us through our live auction, online-only, and private sales platforms.”

    In Ireland lockdowns caused four months of closure in 2020 and a new lockdown for the month of January 2021 has just been announced. At James Adam they reckon that business overall was about two thirds of what would normally have occurred in sectors like Irish Art and jewellery. The level of sales, 16 in categories like vintage wine and spirits, period and mid century furniture, jewellery, watches, art and decorative arts and the Country House Collections sale at Townley Hall, helped to make up some of the shortfall. James O’Halloran reports that sell through rates at Adams were higher in every category with some auctions recording 90% plus. There is a readiness to drive on from this in 2021.

    The Kildare House giltwood chairs made 18,000 at James Adam


    Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

    This George IV inlaid sideboard with brass gallery comes up with an estimate of 3,000-5,000 at the James Adam auction of contents from Number 1, Wellington Road, Dubin. The former restaurateur Peter White is downsizing and his lifetime collection is on offer at a timed online sale which runs to January 11. The collection of four silver plated domed dish covers under the sideboard is estimated at 600-1,000. UPDATE: THE SIDEBOARD MADE 6,000 AT HAMMER. THE DOMED DISH COVERS SOLD FOR 420


    Tuesday, December 29th, 2020

    This early 19th century Irish silver wine ewer comes up at Hegarty’s timed New Year online auction. The sale opens in Bandon today and runs until January 5. The selection of lots includes jewellery, art and Persian rugs. The ewer was made in Dublin in 1834 by Robert W Smith and is estimated at 3,200-3,400. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Monday, December 28th, 2020

    A dynamic group of leading international dealers will take part in New York’s Winter Show. The inaugural online edition takes place from January 22-31 with VIP preview access from January 19-21. The 60 exhibitors will present a diverse mix of fine and decorative arts from ancient times to the present day. Executive Director Helen Allen said: “We have worked to create a virtual format that is interactive, visually stimulating, and showcases the quality and depth of the objects presented”.

    The online platform allows exhibitors present a gallery exhibition in a three-dimensional virtual space. Visitors will be able to take in the digital presentations as a whole and view close-up, detailed views of each work.
    Exhibitors will curate their selections, featuring up to twenty artworks and objects at a time.

    Aronson of Amsterdam will show fine quality Delftware


    Thursday, December 24th, 2020
    Rembrandt Van Rijn (1606–1669) – Landscape with the Rest on the Flight into Egypt, 1647 © National Gallery of Ireland

    This seasonal image by Rembrandt is from the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland. It was purchased in 1883. We wish all our readers a very Happy Christmas.