Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

    A newly discovered letter from Constance Markievicz is one of the highlights of Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts sale in London on March 11. It is in reply to Eva Cumming, a hitherto unknown cousin in Australia, who had written to introduce herself after seeing Markievicz’s name in the Australian press.  Although Cumming’s letter is now lost, it must have expressed sympathy for the Republican cause because Markievicz writes that she is pleased, “to find that I have a cousin who is sympathetic & feels the same intense love for our country that I do”.

    The undated letter seems to be been written around September 25-26 1920. In it she refers to two attacks on September 23 by the newly formed ‘Black and Tans’ – auxiliary policemen in the Royal Irish Constabulary noted for their indiscriminate brutality.  Markievicz was on the run from the British authorities at the time.  She had played a significant role in the Easter Rising of 1916 and escaped the firing squad only because she was a woman. She spent the rest of her life dedicated to the Irish Republican cause, and in 1918 became the first woman ever to be elected to the UK Parliament although like all Sinn Fein MPs then and since she did not take up her seat.  It is estimated at £4,000-6,000.


    Monday, February 17th, 2020

    A total of 144 lots of Asian Art from a private collection in Wicklow will come under the hammer at Sheppards in Durrow on February 20.  The selection is broad and encompasses everything from tiny foo dogs to brush washers, monochrome and polychrome porcelain, cloisonne vases, jade pendants, bowls, censers, jardinieres and a couple of lots of Chinese  lacquered furniture. Oriental art and porcelain has become a growing sustainer of auction houses in Ireland and it is probably not unfair to remark that in this context Sheppards leads the field. 

    Chinese wucai enamelled sleeve vase


    Saturday, February 15th, 2020

    A timed online sale of accessible art from Ireland and around the world runs at Whyte’s in Dublin until the evening of February 17.  It will include work by Yeats, le Brocquy, Estella Solomons, Colin Middleton, Markey Robinson and Sean McSweeney with estimates from €50-1,000.  In a timed auction last split second bidding is prevented by ten minute wait periods. The catalogue is online.

    Orchard by William Crozier (1930-2011) . UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 600 AT HAMMER


    Saturday, February 15th, 2020

    With everything from longcase clocks, a Russian icons and a Killarney wood bookstand the Making Room Sale by Fonsie Mealy on February 19 offers much of interest.  The sale at The Avalon House Hotel in Castlecomer is by way of being a clearout.  This no reserve auction will be of interest to bargain hunters, collectors, interior decorators and home owners. Lot 323 is a 19th century Killarney wood bookstand typically decorated and inlaid with shamrocks, harp and ruins and estimated at just €100-150. There are Crown Derby urns, Victorian button back sofas, barometers, a selection of clocks and all sorts of collectibles including lot 83, a 19th century Russian School icon on panel with an estimate of €700-1,000. 

    19th century Russian School icon


    Thursday, February 13th, 2020

    THE most important collection of Rolling Stones history and memorabilia is to be offered at Julien’s Auctions in Hollywood on at the end of May – and it will be on view in Ireland in March. Property from Bill Wyman and his Rolling Stones Archive, courtesy of Ripple Productions, will include bass guitars, amps, wardrobes and memorabilia.

    Highlights include his 1962 VIX AC30 Normal model amplifier and Wyman’s guitar collection used on career defining performances, his 1969 Fender Mustang Bass Competition Orange, his 1978 Travis Bean custom short scale bass, 1974 Dan Armstrong prototype base, 1891 Steinberger Custom Short Svale XL series bass and more. The sale, from May 29-31, will feature more than 1,000 lots.

    “Collecting and archiving has been one of the great pleasures of my life and
    will undoubtedly be one of my legacies,” said Bill Wyman. “It feels like the right time to share my archive with the world. I hope people will get as
    much joy from my collections as I have.” A portion of the proceeds of will benefit The Prince’s Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support and CCMI (Central Caribbean Marine Institute).

    There will be a public exhibition of the lots at the Museum of Style Icons, Newbridge, Co. Kildare from March 10 to April 20 and at the Hard Rock Cafe, Times Square, New York from May 4 to May 10.

    1969 Fender Mustang Bass with a Competition Orange finish designed by Leo Fender


    Thursday, February 13th, 2020

    There will be a chance to nab a bargain at no reserves store room sale by Fonsie Mealy which takes place at the Avalon Hotel, Castlecomer on February 19. The auctioneers say that Making Room will be of considerable interest to collectors and interior decorators. The catalogue, which lists 469 lots, is online.

    A 19th Century French Boulle Mantle Clock, by
    Jean Godde, Paris,


    Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

    Post War and Contemporary Art brought in £56.1 million at Christie’s in London this evening. Andy Warhol’s ‘Athletes’ series from the Richard L. Weisman Collection was 100% sold, led by the sale’s top lot, Mohammed Ali (£4,973,250). The ten portraits headlined a group of 13 works by the artist that also included Knives (£2,752,148), Flowers, part of ‘Art for Future: Selected Works from the UniCredit Group’ (£2,111,250) and Brillo Soap Pads Box (£383,250).

    Three works by Jean Dubuffet from the 1950s, 60s and 70s traced the artistic development throughout the artist’s oeuvre: Alentour la maison (1957, £1,271,250), La robe à boutons (1961: £1,571,250) and Panorama (1978, £2,171,250). Other results includedf Sean Scully’s Wall of Light Red Bar (£1,031,250) and Bridget Riley’s Gaillard (£2,291,250). The sale achieved sell through rates of 98% by lot and 99% by value. 

    Bridget Riley (B. 1931) . Gaillard


    Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

    David Hockney’s The Splash made £23.1 million in a sale of Contemporary Art that brought in £92.4 million at Sotheby’s in London tonight. This is the third highest price for the artist. Executed in 1966 the painting first appeared at auction in Sotheby’s London salesroom in 1973, and again in 2006 when it sold for £2.9 million – a record price for Hockney at the time. Nine of the top ten top prices for Hockney have been set in the past two years. 

    JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT’S Rubber sold for £7,487,600; FRANCIS BACON’S Turning Figure sold for £7,032,000; CHRISTOPHER WOOL’S Untitled achieved £6,156,809 and YVES KLEIN’S Anthropometry, (ANT 132) realised £6,177,750.

    ADRIAN GHENIE’S The Arrival made £4,184,500 / $5,401,353. The top 11 prices for the artist have been set since 2016. WAYNE THIEBAUD’S Californian Fruit Stand made £1,815,000 and there was a new world record for A R Penck’s Welt des Adlers I (/World of the Eagle 1) when it sold for £531,000  BANKSY’S Vote to Love more than doubled its pre-sale estimate to £1,155,000.

    The Splash in the saleroom tonight.



    Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

    The Contemporary Art day sale at Sotheby’s in London on February 12 will feature two works by Sean Scully, Pink Three (£200,000-300,000) and 8.20.89 (£50,000-70,000). UPDATE: PINK THREE WAS UNSOLD, 8.20.89 MADE £62,500.

    Sean Scully B. 1945 PINK THREE


    Monday, February 10th, 2020

    With its otherworldly elongated forms and instantly recognisable proto-modern style the art of El Greco continues to fascinate.  His View of Toledo from about 1598-99, normally at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is to travel to the Art Institute of Chicago for a major exhibition titled El Greco: Ambition and Defiance to run from March 7 to June 21. Born in Crete and trained as an icon painter Domenikos Theotokopoulos moved to Venice in 1567 and  later sought patronage within the papal circle. El Greco’s outspoken criticism of Michelangelo meant he received no commissions from the church during the six years he spent in Rome from 1570-1576. He moved to Toledo in 1577 and earned a major commission for an altarpiece now in the collection of the Art Institute.  After falling out with the powers that be at Toledo Cathedral he embarked on a career as a portraitist.  The Chicago show, organised jointly with the Reunion des musees nationaux, Grand Palais, Paris and The Louvre, will bring together over 55 paintings and sculptures from the output of this remarkable Old Master.

    El Greco – View of Toledo