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    AUCTIONEERS MUST ADAPT TO THE NEW REALITY

    Sunday, April 19th, 2020

    Adapt or perish might well be the mantra for an art and antiques market in a state of flux.  Tough times are sending a strong signal to the tough to get going.  The future will be different.  The pandemic has accelerated the movement towards online sales.  Change has come quickly. Locally, nationally and internationally many auctioneers who had previously featured a mix of online and in house sales are adapting fast to a market where the uncertain future is rapidly becoming less short term. Many report that website traffic is busier than ever before.  Those auctioneers who took the plunge immediately after the lockdown have been finding significant success. True, many auctions have been postponed. As of now the schedule of upcoming sales in Ireland is a bit thin.  In a highly varied market place it is not a case of one size fits all.  Some lots lend themselves to online sales better than others. Those that have gone ahead, often in a revised manner, are demonstrating that it can work, in some cases marvellously well. Julien’s achieved spectacular results with their Beatles online only sale.  The top lot at an online auction originally to have taken place at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York was Paul McCartney’s handwritten lyrics to “Hey Jude”. This sold for $910,000 over an estimate of $160,000-180,000 in an auction which attracted a global audience of registered bidders.

    Contemporary art,  the most speculative segment of the market, has taken a hit in the lockdown.  This proved true at Morgan O’Driscoll’s sale when three works by Jeff Koons failed to find buyers.  Koons is one of the world’s most expensive living artists.  Damien Hirst also failed to sell. Perhaps the time has come to put your faith, and investment money, in Old Masters. Morgan O’Driscoll did have a highly successful sale.  The top lot, Paul Henry’s Celtic Cross in a West of Ireland landscape made €105,000 at hammer.  Other top hammer prices were: George Barret,  Landscape with Figures, €36,000; Gerard Dillon,Shawl, €24,000; Daniel O’Neill, Choosing Flowers, €24,000;  Paul Henry, Mountain Landscape with lake and road €22,000; Tony O’Malley, Clare Island Greys, €19,000;  Louis le Brocquy, William Butler Yeats, €18,000; Hughie O’Donoghue, Medusa Hold €17,000; William Conor, Forty Winks, €14,000; John Shinnors, Roxboro Road bus stop €14,000; Donald Teskey, Longshore IV.  €14,000; Norah McGuinness, The Black Swan, €14,000; Spring Bogland, Ballinaboy by Kenneth Webb €12,000;   Sir John Lavery,  Portrait of William Burton Harris €12,000; Abstract Composition by William Scott €10,500; Patrick O’Reilly, Pegasus, €10,000 and John Behan, Wild Swans at Coole, €9,500.

    Aidan Foley was pleased with two days of online sales at Sixmilebridge and plans more on the May Bank Holiday weekend.  Among his main lots were Spring Evening by Arthur Maderson which made €2,100 at hammer and The Stars Serenade by Annie Robinson which made €1,350.At Matthews 437 lot online sale, which lasted from 6.30 pm until nearly midnight on Tuesday, a Zambian emerald ring made €17,200 at hammer and a sapphire and diamond target ring made €10,000. All of which goes to suggest that those auctioneers who are adapting to the new realities are not perishing.

    Shawl by Gerard Dillon made €24,000 at hammer

    MASTERPIECE 2020 HAS BEEN CANCELLED

    Thursday, March 26th, 2020

    Masterpiece, the leading British antiques fair which was scheduled to take place in London from June 25 until July 1, has been cancelled. A statement issued today said: “We are grateful for the support and hard work of our exhibitors, partners and staff in preparation for this year’s edition of the Fair; however the health of everyone involved in Masterpiece London is our absolute priority during these unprecedented times”.

    TEFAF CLOSES EARLY AFTER VISITOR TESTS POSITIVE

    Thursday, March 12th, 2020

    TEFAF, The European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht in the Netherlands closed on the evening of March 11 after a visitor tested positive for coronavirus. It had been scheduled to run to March 15. Many other fairs, such as Miart in Milan, are looking at postponement or rescheduling. In Ireland the National Antiques Fair due to be held in Limerick on March 21 and 22 is to be rescheduled to a future date.

    Nanne Dekking, Chairman of the board of trustees at TEFAF said: “Given
    the recent developments in the regions around Maastricht and increasing
    concerns, we no longer feel it is appropriate to continue as planned. We
    want to thank our exhibitors, visitors and staff for their trust and support
    in this unprecedented situation. The TEFAF community has always excelled
    in bringing the best art in the world to Maastricht, we are proud to have
    witnessed how professional and how united our TEFAF family stood during
    this fair and unprecedented circumstances.”

    ITS ON WITH THE SHOW AT TEFAF MAASTRICHT

    Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

    Coronavirus nothwithstanding TEFAF, the European Fine Art Fair, is looking forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world. March 5 is early access day when it opens by invitation only, Friday is preview day, again by invitation only, and the fair proper runs from March 7 to March 15. Further to the Dutch authority’s advice, TEFAF is taking extra precautionary measures, such as additional all-day cleaning services and distribution and placement of hand sanitizers at the fair. The local health authorities will set up an information desk in the entrance area at the MECC.

    Heading into the 33rd edition, TEFAF Maastricht continues to be a pillar of the art market, providing a vital destination for collectors to explore the diversity of 7,000 years of art history. This outstanding fair provides collectors with the opportunity to acquire some of the finest works available on the market. Among many highlights this year is Three Dancers in Yellow Skirts,  a c1891 oil by Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917). It is being exhibited by Hammer Galleries.

    Edgar Degas – Three Dancers in Yellow Skirts

    CORK ANTIQUE FAIR THIS WEEKEND

    Friday, January 31st, 2020

    The Cork Antiques Fair at the Clayton Silver Springs Hotel on February 2 marks 30 years of this fair in Cork. Organised by Hibernian Antiques Fairs this is always a crowd puller. Dealers from around Ireland will attend with everything from antique furniture, Irish art, silver, jewellery, vintage fashion and one off collectibles. Cork based stamp dealer Padraig O’Shea of Raven Stamps has offered an interesting illustration as follows:

    The block of Irish stamps on the left is worth about five euro, the block on right about 2,500. The right has no centre perforations.

    THE NEW YORK WINTER SHOW STARTS TODAY

    Friday, January 24th, 2020

    This New York pier table dates to 1815 and will be on display at the Winter Show which opens at the Park Avenue Armory in New York today. The table is attributed to Duncan Phyfe and will be exhibited by Bernard and S Dean Levy. Objects from antiquity to the present will be on display at the leading art, antiques and design fair in the US. The 66th edition of this prestigious show brings together 72 of the world’s leading experts in fine and decorative arts. It runs until February 2.

    DE STIJL DESIGN AT TEFAF MAASTRICHT

    Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

    The design created by Theo van Doesburg (1883 -1931) for the historical Café L’Aubette building, at the Place Kléber in Strasborg would become one of the most iconic works of De Stijl. It will feature at Galerie Gmurzynska (Stand 404), part of TEFAF Modern Art at TEFAF Maastricht which runs from March 7 – 15. The colour design for the ceiling and three walls of the building, as part of a conversion into a complex of restaurants, bars, caberet and cine-dancing hall, was commissioned i 1926. van Doesburg worked with Jean Arp and Sophie Taeuber Arp to create the design, still on display today.

    Color design for ceiling and three walls for the Café L’Aubette ciné-dancing wallpainting
    in Strasburg, gouache on paperboard, 1926-1927, by Theo van Doesburg (1883 – 1931). Image courtesy Galerie Gmurzynska

    DIVERSE WORLD CULTURES AT NEW YORK WINTER SHOW

    Saturday, January 18th, 2020

    The Winter Show which gets underway in New York on January 24 is a celebration of diverse world cultures from antiquity to the present day. The leading art, antiques and design fair in the US attracts experts in fine and decorative arts from around the world.The reach of objects on display is global too.  Among the 2020 highlights are a c1725 George I red japanned bookcase, an Egyptian green basalt bust of a nobleman from the Late Dynastic Period c664-610 BC, a c1849 Sevres enamel ewer, an aboriginal rainforest softwood painted shield, a Fang Ancestral Reliquary from Gabon, Africa, an 1815 New York City made pier table and a Japanese burl wood stand designed to instal a small object dedicated to meditation.The annual loan exhibition for which this show is renowned offers visitors a focused look at exceptional collections.This year it features masterworks, including a Velazquez portrait, from the Hispanic Society Museum and Library spanning 4000 years of history, art and culture from the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America and The Philippines. There is work by El Greco and Goya, mid 18th century painting from the Cuzco School in Peru, an exceptional 17th century aquamanile or water container from Portugal, a painting by John Singer Sargent from his travels in Spain and work by the Valencian master Sorolla, subject of an exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland last year.

    Camilo Astalli, known as Cardinal Pamphili by Diego Velazquez courtesy of the Hispanic Society Museum and Library New York

    BANKSY AT ART SOURCE IN DUBLIN

    Thursday, November 14th, 2019

    The largest collection of Banksy’s work exhibited in Ireland will feature at Art Source, at the RDS from November 15-17. Gormleys Fine Art will display 12 screen prints by the anonymous British-based artist. Over 15,000 people are expected to attend Art Source which features 200 contemporary Irish and international artists and galleries.

    Iconic Irish sculptor Patrick O’Reilly will unveil new work including a standing wolfhound, a rocking horse and a series of dolls. Art Source showcases painting, sculpture, photography, illustration, prints and ceramic art.

    Sale Ends Today by Banksy (€32,000)

    NATIONAL ANTIQUES FAIR IN LIMERICK

    Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

    The National Antiques Fair at the South Court Hotel in LImerick on November 9 and 10 justifiably claims to be Ireland’s biggest antiques, art and vintage fair by far.  While other fairs have got smaller this one has got bigger and attracts customers from all over Ireland and beyond.  The closure of so many antique shops accounts for this growth as numerous dealers now find it more economical to trade at fairs rather than maintain a presence on the street.

    While this is a pity there is an upside.  Hibernian Antique Fairs say this fair will be full to the rafters with antique shops and dealers and art dealers and galleries.  Many of these are members of the Irish Antique Dealers Association who exhibit at the RDS fair every September.  Another reason for Limerick’s success is that this is a fair that caters for all tastes and all pockets.  Opening times are from 11 am to 6 pm on each day.

    Weldon’s will offer this Edwardian pear shaped emerald cluster ring priced at 24,500.