Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Monday, June 10th, 2019

    Rich pickings await collectors at two sales of Irish art in Dublin and one in London this week.  The evening sale of art and sculpture at de Veres on June 11 offers three tapestries by le Brocquy including Allegory from 1950 (60,000-90,000). This series rarely appears at auction.  There is as well a fine watercolour from his Tinkers series (40,000-60,000).The auction features work by artists like Patrick Scott, Mainie Jellett, Hughie O’Donoghue, Tony O’Malley, Robert Ballagh, Stephen McKenna and Sean McSweeney.A feature of this auction is the sculpture section, on view in the garden of The Merrion Hotel.  The first piece on view is a massive bronze GI Bear by Patrick O’Reilly standing outside the hotel on Merrion Street (80,000-120,000).

    Tinker Picking Whitethorn, a watercolour by Louis le Brocquy at de Veres  UPDATE: THIS MADE 42,000 AT HAMMER

    Interest in the work of Mary Swanzy has hugely increased in latter years, helped no doubt by her major exhibition currently at the Crawford in Cork previously on show at IMMA.  Her South of France Landscape dating from around 1915 is lot 38 at the James Adam evening sale of Important Irish Art in Dublin on June 1. It is estimated at 20,000-30,000.Low Water, Spring Tide, Clifden by Jack. B, Yeats dates to 1906 and is his first oil painting, created when he was moving on from watercolour. It is estimated at 40,000-60,000 at Adams.  The sale offers a number of fine 18th and 19th century landscapes by artists including William Sadler, John Henry Campbell, Frederick Brocas and William Ashford.  Lot 62 is a  monumental bronze by Edward Delaney featured in an RTE still photograph of the poet Patrick Kavanagh in 1962.  Titled Cathedral it is estimated at 15,000-20,000.  There are abstract works by Cecil King, William Scott, Felim Egan and Michael Farrell, A Connemara Landscape by Paul Henry and a 1920’s portrait by the English painter Gerald Leslie Brockhurst of Florence Forsythe. Adams point out that a portrait of film star Merle Oberon by Brockhurst sold last year for $290,000.  Adams has a more modest estimate of 20,000-40,000 on their example.The Irish selection on offer at Bonhams Modern British and Irish art sale in London on June 12 is headed by Yeats’ Romeo and Juliet.  There are two Irish sketches by L.S. Lowry as well as works by Louis le Brocquy, Colin Middleton, Rowan Gillespie, William Scott, Sean Scully and Sir John Lavery.

    South of France Landscape by Mary Swanzy at James Adam UPDATE: THIS MADE 32,000 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, May 16th, 2019

    Jeff Koons’ Rabbit sculpture sold for $91.1 million at Christie’s in New York last night, a new world record price for a living artist. The steel cast of an inflatable created in 1986 made more than $20 million over the top estimate.

    Jeff Koons (b1955) – Rabbit

    The Post War and Contemporary Art evening sale brought in $538,971,750. There were 56 lots offered and 51 were sold. Koons’ Rabbit and Robert Rauschenberg’s Buffalo II ($88.8 million) were the two top lots of the auction. Spider by Louise Bourgeois sold for $32,055,000 million, a world auction record and the second highest price at auction for a woman artist.

    There were world auction records for Koons’, Rauschenberg, Bourgeois, Frank Stella, Larry Rivers, Jonas Wood and Daniel Buren. Koons previously held the record for a work by a living artist with Balloon Dog (Orange). Last year the honour went to David Hockney Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) which sold for just over $90 million.

    (See post on for March 27, 2019)


    Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

    With the May art sales in New York fast approaching Christie’s and Sotheby’s are gearing up for an important selling season.  On May 13 Christie’s will offer a dedicated selection of 11 works from Princess Titi von Furstenberg, who died in 2006, in its evening sale of Impressionist and Modern art.The collection of more than 30 artworks ranges from Pablo Picasso to Mark Rothko, Andre Derain and Lucio Fontana.  Further lots will be offered in the day sale on May 14, the Post War and Contemporary Art sale on May 16 and in a Paris sale of African Art next October.  Born in Houston in 1919 Titi von Furstenberg’s father was Robert Lee Blaffer, founder of the company now known as Exxon Mobile.  Her maternal grandfather William Thomas Campbell was among the founders of Texas Oil, now known as Texaco. Amadeo Modigliani’s limestone sculpture Tete carved c1911-12 in the same sale is estimated at $30-40 million. This is one of the 26 pieces that defined his sculptural output and one of the last in private hands. Modigliani’s oil portrait of his muse Lunia Czechowska from the collection of Drue Heinz (1915-2018), the English born wife of Jack Heinz of the food empire, is in the sale as is a 1939 work by Balthus, Therese sur une banquette estimated at $12-18 million.  Therese was just 14 when she posed for this piece, one of ten portraits in which she featured reading or doing nothing but dreaming all painted between 1936 and 1939.One of the finest examples of Monet’s series known as Haystacks will come up at Sotheby’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on May 14.  The series if famous for the way in which the artist repeated the same subject to show the effects of different light and atmosphere at different times of the day, across the seasons and in different weather.  Meules from 1890 is one of only eight from the series of 25 works remaining in private hands. Sotheby’s expected it to sell for more than $55 million.This sale features important works by Gustave Caillebotte, Pierre Bonnard, Pablo Picasso, Francis Picabia and Marc Chagall.The Contemporary Art evening auction on May 16 will be highlighted by Mark Rothko’s Untitled 1960 from the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This sale is further distinguished by Francis Bacon’s Study for a Head from 1952 and by the same artist’s Study for a Portrait, 1981, the last of his famous portraits of his love and muse George Dyer.

    Amadeo Modigliani – Lunia Czechowska from the collection of Drue Heinz at Christie’s. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $25,245,000

    Francis Bacon – Study for a Portrait 1981 at Sotheby’s. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $14.5 MILLION


    Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

    Works from the SOR Rusche collection, including this landscape with a view of Leiden, will come up at Sotheby’s Old Masters May sale on May 8. More will feature in an online sale on May 10, at Sotheby’s Old Masters day sale in London on July 4 and in another online auction next October.

    Spurred by the ethos ‘the best of the smallest’, four generations of the Rusche family built a collection of works by artists, many of whom, despite being held in high esteem in their day, were subsequently overshadowed by some of the biggest names in art history. A total of 225 works are to be sold across various auctions at Sotheby’s thisyear.

    Anthonie Jansz. van der Croos, Landscape with a view of Leiden £20,000 – 30,000


    Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

    A number of lots of Irish silver and an Irish wine cooler will come up at Sotheby’s sale entitled Style: Silver, Ceramics, Furniture in New York on April 16. There are salvers, coffee pots, cruets, tankards, a dish ring, a punch strainer, tureens, salts, a beer jug and a carved mahogany wine cooler, probably by Williams and Gibton ($12,000-18,000). The most expensively estimated Irish silver lot is a coffee pot by Robert Calderwood, Dublin 1728 ($12,000-18,000). The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    An unusual coffee pot by Robert Calderwood ($12,000-18,000)
    A wine cooler probably by Williams and Gibton ($12,000-18,000)


    Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

    What was possibly a world record price for a piece of Kinsale flatware silver was scored at auction at Lawrences sale of silver and vertu at Crewkerne in Somerset, England today. A c1730 marrow scoop by William and/or Joseph Wall Kinsale sold for £8,000 at hammer over an estimate of £2,500-3,500. The scoop has an engraved crest below another crest and a Baron’s coronet.

    This Kinsale silver marrow scoop sold for a hammer price of £8,000