Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Saturday, May 16th, 2020

    The onward march of the virtual world in this new era of online auctions, pent up demand and postponed sales cannot be overstated.  Some of the rapid adjustments made in this time of pandemic are temporary, others will prove to be far more permanent.Just a few short months ago at the beginning of the year the idea of conducting a sale with no option to view physically would have been beyond the imaginings of many. Now they are not only commonplace, but working. At a time when traditional viewing is out of the question auctioneers are finding new and imaginative ways to sell.Take Christie’s, currently running a sale called The Collector online until June 1. This 264 lot auction with estimates from £200 to £35,000 is focused on bringing craft and design us in lockdown. To promote the auction of English and European furniture, silver, ceramics, gold boxes and works of art from the 17th to the 19th century, they have created a series of virtual viewing viewing rooms filled with the lots on offer. These virtual vignettes are designed to inspire the inner interior decorator unleashed by all this enforced time at home.  Head of sale Paul Gallois commented:  “During this unprecedented period in our lives, whilst a great many are spending more time than ever at home, interiors have become a major focus of comfort, familiarity and aesthetic expression.”


    Monday, May 11th, 2020

    In Dublin Adams has re-scheduled a number of postponed sales to July and September. The Important Irish Art sale which had been scheduled for March is now to take place on September 9. The most expensively estimated lot in this sale is The Sick Bed by Yeats at 250,000-350,000.

    The Mid-Century Modern sale is now scheduled for July 28. The auction will be held as a live auction with telephone, commission and internet bidding all available, but there will be no bidding in the room. There will be a timed Works on Paper auction and a timed fine wines and spirits sale on July 31. There will be an At Home sale on August 23 and the fine jewellery and watches sale will now take place on September 15.

    Evie Hone HRHA (1894-1955)
    In the Woods at Marley (2,500-3,500) AT ADAMS IRISH ART SALE


    Thursday, May 7th, 2020

    Clonmel auctioneer Larry O’Keeffe will hold a timed auction of 200 lots of antique furniture, collectibles, jewellery and more to May 10. The catalogue is online at

    This pair of cast iron skillet pots is estimated at 40-70.


    Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

    Two days of sales by Doneraile based auctioneer Aidan Foley are now underway at Easy Live auctions. Books, music memorabilia and jewellery come under the hammer today. The sale tomorrow will feature rugs, furniture, collectibles, art and jewellery.

    The Capuchin Annual 1966 Special Anniversary of Easter Rising comes up today


    Monday, April 27th, 2020

    Hegarty’s, the Bandon auctioneers, had a large March auction in the pipeline when Covid-19 restrictions were introduced. They reduced the catalogue and held their first live online only sale instead. Bidders logged in from all over Ireland, the UK, across Europe and from as far away as Australia and the USA on the night.  Working from home with built up catalogued stock they have since put together a small timed online auction of 159 lots of furniture, art, jewellery and collectibles, with free storage available on all items. The auction is now live on The Saleroom and it runs until April 30.

    A marble topped console table at Hegarty’s sale (1,000-1,200). UPDATE: THIS MADE 950 AT HAMMER


    Saturday, April 25th, 2020

    Is the future of the art and antiques market forever changed or is this just a temporary blip?   The answer probably lies somewhere between each of these positions. When the pandemic lockdown was implemented it appeared everything would revert once it was lifted.  Now it is apparent that this is not so.  Covid-19 has not gone away. We will have to live with sensible precautions like social distancing for some time, even as the restrictions are eased.The auction houses of Ireland and everywhere else are in uncharted waters.  Social distancing is not possible at busy viewings as we knew them, nor in crowded auction rooms. New ways to keep the business afloat must be found. Technology is an obvious answer but it is not for everyone or everything.  Early indications from online sales around the world are that millennials are happier to buy online than the older billionaires who populate the  global contemporary art market.  Whether auction houses are prepared to sell big ticket items online is as yet far from clear.  The number of private sales has been growing in latter years.

    Christie’s and Phillips have consolidated their Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art sales into one 20th century week in New York – to include the London sales – scheduled at this stage for the end of June. Sotheby’s has yet to announce what  is to become of its contemporary marquee sale scheduled for May 13 in New York.  This sale was to be anchored by Francis Bacon’s Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus with an estimate of at least $60 million. Sotheby’s has announced that the week long Spring Hong Kong series will now take place from July 5-11 in Hong Kong.  The auctions cover Chinese ceramics and paintings, modern and contemporary art, jewellery, watches and wine.

    Meantime the full online sales programme by the biggest auction houses is drawing enthusiastic participation from collectors. These sales have been expanded significantly across numerous categories.

    Nude, a lithograph by Henri Matisse, made €3,800 at hammer at Morgan O’Driscoll’s online sale this week.


    Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

    As collectors spend more time online enjoying, learning about, and buying the art and objects they love, Christie’s has significantly expanded its online-only sale offerings across numerous collecting categories, including new themed sales of contemporary art. Among the sales launching globally across the company in April and May are Andy Warhol: Better Days, a fundraising auction to help provide emergency relief to artists throughout the U.S. and HANDPICKED: 100 Works Selected by the Saatchi Gallery.

    Christie’s will open a new batch of online-only sales for bidding on a weekly basis, with each timed auction ranging from 14 to 21 days. The number of sales planned for the second quarter will continue to grow, leveraging the remote sale administration capabilities of Christie’s teams in New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong.

    Newly scheduled sales span 20th Century art, Asian Art, Decorative Arts, Photography, Science and Natural History, as well as Jewels, Watches, and Handbags. In 2019, Christies attracted over 13.3 million visitors worldwide and 41% of new buyers came in through online sales.

    Andy Warhol, Ocean View, 1975 / Andy Warhol and Henry Geldzahler, 1979 / unique Polaroid prints


    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


    Saturday, April 18th, 2020

    An early 19th century Irish walnut side table from a private collection in Connecticut is one of a number of Irish pieces at an online sale now running at Sotheby’s in New York. It is estimated at $8,000-12,000. Among other Irish offerings at Style: Silver, Furniture, Ceramics at Sotheby’s New York until April 22 are a pair c1835 of William IV giltwood caned armchairs in the manner of James Del Vecchio, Dublin ($6,000-10,000) and a large 1747 silver salver by Thomas Walker, Dublin with the arms of St. Leger with Deane in pretense for St. Leger Aldworth MP.  He assumed the name St. Leger on inheriting the estate of his maternal ancestors and in 1776 became Baron Doneraile of Doneraile ($15,000-20,000). A pair of silver candlesticks by John Walker is estimated at $3,000-5,000. A George IV two handled tray by John Bridge of London bears the arms of the See of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, impaling Trench for the Most Rev. Power Trench,Bishop of Tuam and brother of Richard, 2nd Earl of Clancarty. It is estimated at $12,000-18,000.

    Irish George IV table with a light brown marble top. Update: This was unsold


    Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

    Morgan O’Driscoll, Aidan Foley and Damien Matthews will all hold online auctions today. The biggest of the sales is the Irish and International Art auction by Morgan O’Driscoll, who has some big ticket items on offer including Celtic Cross in a west of Ireland landscape by Paul Henry (€150,000-250,000), Whik Wood by Ivon Hitchens (€60,000-90,000), Landscape with Figures by George Barret (€60,000-90,000), Altar by Damien Hirst (€17,500-25,000), Roxboro Road Bus Stop V by John Shinnors (€15,000-20,000), Spring Bogland, Ballinaboy by Kenneth Webb (€10,000-15,000); Abstract Composition by William Scott (€6,000-9,000) and three pieces by Jeff Koons, one of the most expensive living artists in the world. They are Balloon Rabbit (Red), Balloon Monkey (Blue) and Balloon Swan (Yellow). All date to 2017. They are all from numbered editions of 999 in porcelain painted with chrome and published by Bernaudaud, Limoges, France.

    Day two of Aidan Foley’s sale at Sixmilebridge today will include Persian rugs, art, antique furniture and collectibles. Matthews of Oldcastle,  Co. Meath will have an online sale with 390 lots of jewellery, gold, silver, watches and Oriental lots at 6.30 pm.  Estimates range from €20-20,000.

    Balloon Swan (Yellow) by Jeff Koons. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD