Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Monday, May 20th, 2019

    An Irish painting by the American artist Rockwell Kent comes up at Sotheby’s American Art sale in New York on May 21. Craigbeefin dates to 1926-27 and is estimated at $70,000-100,000. In a catalogue note Sotheby’s say that the paintings Rockwell Kent created while in Ireland can be categorised in two groups: one, the detailed landscape and human infused compositions such as Annie Mc Ginley (private collection) and Dan Ward’s Stack (The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia); and two, the stark, modelled landscapes that focus more on abstract form–such as in the work of Arthur Dove and Georgia O’Keeffe–that are more a human reflection on the essence of the world around us. Craigbeefin represents the latter. It was exhibited in New York at Wildenstein & Company’s Important Exhibition of Paintings of Ireland and Elsewhere by Rockwell Kent (Paintings by Rockwell Kent), April-May 1927, and at the ACA Galleries in New York in 1989.

    Craigbeefin by Rockwell Kent (1882-1971)


    Sunday, May 19th, 2019

    Bishop Willie Walsh of Killaloe is generally considered by liberals in Ireland to be one of the good guys. An arresting portrait of the catholic bishop who retired in 2010 by Brian Maguire, one of Ireland’s leading expressionist artists, comes up at Morgan O’Driscoll’s current online sale of Irish art which runs to May 20. It seems an appropriate pairing. Maguire’s long career has seen him reach fearlessly into the plight of people in uncomfortable places many of us might chose to not go – suicidal prisoners in Irish jails, children of the favelas in South America, refugees at risk of drowning in the Mediterranean and displaced Syrians and Sudanese are all on his list of subjects.

    Brian Maguire’s Portrait of Bishop Willie Walsh

    The Maguire portrait is lot 80 and estimated at 1,500-2,000. Meantime it might be of interest to not that the remains of the fishing vessel Barca Nostra, in which up to 900 migrants died when it sank in the Mediterranean in 2015, is displayed at the 58th Venice Art Biennale which runs to next November 24. 


    Friday, May 17th, 2019

    THE current online auction of Irish art by Morgan O’Driscoll runs to the evening of May 20. There are 242 lots and the catalogue is online. Here is a sample:

    PETER CURLING (B.1955) – Over the last
    Mark O’Neill (b1963) – Interior with lilac (2002)


    Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

    There was a world record for Monet at Sotheby’s in New York last night when Meules (Haystacks) sold for $110.7 million. This is the first work of Impressionist art to break the $100 million barrier and is 44 times the price achieved when Meules last sold at auction in 1986.

    The scene at the auction room

    A total of 13 works of Impressionism achieved $160 million – nearly half of the auction total of $333.2 million. Another highlight was Gustave Caillebotte’s La Rue Halévy, vue du sixième étage from 1878, which well-exceeded its $8 million high estimate to sell for $13.9 million.

    Helena Newman, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Impressionist & Modern Art, said: “Tonight we saw a great depth of impassioned bidding from around the globe, fueled by works long-cherished in private collections.  Nearly two-thirds of the lots offered tonight had never before appeared at auction, and the market responded enthusiastically – helping us to achieve our highest total since 2015, and our second consecutive evening sale with a sell-through rate over 90%. With the record-breaking Monet leading the charge, the Impressionist and Modern market is as strong as it has ever been in my more than 30 years in this business.”

    (See posts on for April 16 and May 7, 2019)


    Monday, May 13th, 2019

    Photographic works including images of Irish travellers by the pioneering photographer Charles Harry Hewitt (1915-1987) will come up at Chiswick Auctions Photographica sale in London on May 16.

    Irish Travellers, Dublin c1950’s.

    Known as ‘Slim Hewitt’, due to his slender frame, he led the way in reportage photography at The Picture Post and on the BBC’s Tonight programme. His fly on the wall style photography and filming has been described by those that knew him as having “the drive and ability to bring the world and its events before its audience.” Starting out as a war photographer, taking photos of the Normandy landings and the inside of Belsen Prisoner of war camp, ‘Slim’ had a unique ability to retain all nuances of a situation and encapsulate them in his work.


    Monday, May 13th, 2019

    A set of Finn Juhl chairs designed in 1946 for the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers Guild exhibition and which were used as boardroom chairs at the Gowan Group in Ballsbridge come up at de Veres design auction in Dublin on May 19.

    One of a number of pairs of chairs by Finn Juhl  UPDATE: THREE LOTS OF TWO CHAIRS MADE HAMMER PRICES OF 11,000, 11,500 AND 11,500 RESPECTIVELY.

    This is a pop up auction of 180 lots of classic design furniture and lighting, 250 lots of contemporary Irish art and wines from the 2005 Bordeaux vintage. Danish and Italian pieces from the 1950’s, ’60’s and ’70’s are included along with work by Arne Jacobsen, Eileen Gray, Florence Knoll, Willy Rizzo, Cini Boeri and Pierre Paulin with furniture by Bo Concept and Ligne Roset.   There is art by Patrick Scott, Michael Farrell, Neil Shawcross and the balance of The Axa Art collection sold last year by de Veres.    The 93 cases of en primeur wine are to be sold in a timed auction with bidding up to 8 pm on May 19.  The auction at 2 pm on May 19 takes place at 35 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin. The catalogue is online.

    An Italian triennale floor lamp attributed to Angelo Lelli UPDATE: THIS FAILED TO SELL


    Sunday, May 12th, 2019

    This 1887 work by Paul Gauguin, Chemin sous les palmiers comes up at Sotheby’s evening sale in New York on May 14. It is one of a series completed by Gauguin on his trip to the Caribbean island of Martinique from June to November of 1887.  This was his initial experience as an artist in an island environment.  Enthralled by the tropical landscape and native people Gauguin’s strong desire for a life outside Europe was born in Martinique.  The paintings he created there foreshadowed the works he would later complete in Tahiti. He departed for Polynesia in 1891. This work from the Levy family collection of Dallas is estimated at $6-8 million.


    Saturday, May 11th, 2019

    With just 129 pieces the Masterworks auction at Sbeppards in Durrow on May 16 is short on lots but long on interest.  The selection on offer is wide ranging and estimates vary from 140-180 for a first period Belleek basket to 35,000-45,000 for a signed watercolour head of Samuel Beckett by Louis le Brocquy which has been on loan to the University of Limerick for the last ten years.

    19th century Italian ebony pietra dura and ormolu cabinet on stand

    The sale kicks off with a 12 bottle case of 2006  Chateau Mouton Rothschild estimated at 3,500-4,500. It then ranges through a 19th century French ormolu clock garniture, an early Persian sword, Art Deco bronzes, a 2002 model Steinway boudoir grand piano, a Venetian violin to a Killarney work table. There are some Old Master paintings and a 19th century Italian cabinet on stand with Pietra Dura inserts estimated at 35,000-45,000. There are Meissen parrots, French panels, an 18th century Chippendale pier mirror, a Chinese rosewood screen, a pair of Venetian blackamoor figures and an early Sino-Tibetan bronze buddha.The catalogue cover lot is a Chinese Qing gilt bronze and polychrome censer in the form of a foo dog with an estimate of 15,000-20,000. The catalogue is online.

     Chinese Qing censer in the form of a foo dog


    Thursday, May 9th, 2019

    A girls best friend and more will come under the hammer at the James Adam sale of fine jewellery and watches in Dublin at 6 p.m. on May 14. The two most expensive lots in this auction are single stone diamond rings each estimated at 20,000-30,000. A c2000 cultured pearl and diamond Pushkin cocktail bracelet watch by Chopard is estimated at 20,000-25,000.

    A single stone brilliant cut diamond ring UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 20,000

    Adams jewellery specialist Claire-Laurence Mestrallet invited the fashion editor, stylist and author Annmarie O’Connor to go through the catalogue.  At the top of her wish list was an original 1930’s minaudiere or strapless evening back with an Art Deco vibe.  By Van Cleef and Arpels and with a diamond and ruby lid it is estimated at 15,000-20,000.  Many famous makers are represented in this auction, for which the catalogue is online.

    UPDATE: The sale brought in 810,000 with a sell rate of over 70%. The top lot was a c1955 gold and diamond coffee bean demi-parure by Cartier which made 34,000.

    A diamond and ruby set evening bag by Van Cleef and Arpels UPDATE: THIS MADE 18,000 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

    Nurses (1953) by Nevill Johnson which comes up at Whyte’s sale of Important Irish Art in Dublin on May 27 is one of his few surviving paintings of the 1952-53 period. In a catalogue note Dickon Hall notes that the artist’s affection for Dublin was that of an outsider, an Englishman who had lived in Belfast for twelve years before moving there in 1946 in response to becoming one of the group of young artists whom Victor Waddington put under contract to his gallery. Hall writes: “This group of nurses relaxing in a garden suggests a specific experience seen and recalled by the artist, but by reducing each figure to their uniform Johnson emphasises the abstract formal arrangements within the composition, as well as creating a dreamlike quality that is reinforced by a muted palette lifted by unexpected pink tones”. Hall adds: “Nurses is a painting that balances satisfying aesthetic qualities with the surreal incongruity that Johnson recalled so nostalgically from his Dublin years and creates an ambiguous and mysterious mood that seems to define the elusive tone of the post-war world”. It is estimated at 10,000-15,000.

    NURSES, 1953NEVILL JOHNSON (1911-1999)

    The sale will include works by George Barret, William Leech, Sir John Lavery, William Orpen, George Russell (“AE”), Jack Yeats, Paul Henry, Lilian Lucy Davidson, Frank McKelvey, James Humbert Craig, Laurence Stephen Lowry, Colin Middleton, Louis le Brocquy, Basil Blackshaw, Hughie O’Donoghue and others.