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  • ARCHIVE LETTERS OF IRISH ESTATE IN TEXAS AT SOTHEBY’S

    January 14th, 2020

    An archive of letters dealing with the estate and family of John McMullen comes up at Sotheby’s sale of Fine Manuscript and Printed America in New York on January 27. Born in Ireland McMullen was an Irish empresario or land contractor in Texas under the colonisation system used by the Mexican government. He was granted an empresario contract in 1828 to establish a colony in Texas and was co founder of the McMullen-McGloin colony which spanned a vast area of land between the Nueces and Medina rivers. The town of San Patricio was established in 1831 as part of the colony.

    The archive of approximately 42 letters signed by Jacob Waelder in San Antonio, Texas, to John McMullen (“Friend McMullen”) in Mauch Chunk (present-day Jim Thorpe), Pennsylvania, December 12, 1834 to February 22, 1869, runs to about 105 pages. McMullen was born in Ireland in 1785 and went to the US as a young man. The archive is estimated at $25,000-35,000.

    NAZI LOOTED ARTWORKS AT SOTHEBY’S

    January 13th, 2020

    Three works recently restituted to the heirs of Gaston Lévy, one of the most notable patrons and art collectors living in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, will come up at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art evening sale in London on February 4. One is by Camille Pisarro, two by Paul Signac. Lévy’s art collection was dispersed under the Nazi occupation, and two of the works to be offered in February were lost to the ‘Einsatztab Reichsleiter Rosenberg’ (an organisation dedicated to receiving looted cultural property) in October 1940. After the war, the works were repatriated to the French state, and have recently been restituted by the French Government to Lévy’s heirs from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The third of the works to be offered – Signac’s Quai de Clichy. Temps gris – had been stored in the Lévy’s country home, the Château des Bouffards, but later found its way into the collection of the dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, whose illicit hoard was discovered by the authorities in 2012.

    Paul Signac – Quai de Clichy. Temps gris 

    THE SPLASH SET TO MAKE SALEROOM WAVES

    January 12th, 2020

    David Hockney’s The Splash will highlight Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening auction in London on February 11. It is estimated at £20-30 million, over six times the price achieved when it last sold at auction for £2.9 million at Sotheby’s London in 2006. That was then an auction record for a Hockney.

    Painted in 1966, The Splash immortalises a fleeting moment just seconds after a diver has broken the calm surface of a swimming pool. The painting’s protagonist is present, yet absent, masked by a torrent of displaced water. The work is a quintessential example of Hockney’s lifelong fascination with the texture, appearance and depth of water – a fascination which culminated in one of the most celebrated and instantly recognisable bodies of work in 20th century art.

    It is the second in a series of three ‘splashes’, the largest and final of which, A Bigger Splash is in the Tate collection in London. These paintings represent the apex of Hockney’s Californian fantasy. Created at a watershed moment in his career, the three ‘splashes’ secured the artist’s international reputation as a leading artist of his generation and confirmed his unrivalled ability to combine elements of disparate movements – Minimalism, Modernist Abstraction and Pop Art – into a new style entirely of his own.

    David Hockney, The Splash, 1966

    CLADDAGH RINGS TO MAKE CLADDAGH RECORDS?

    January 12th, 2020

    The Claddagh ring collection of the Hon Garech Browne of Luggala, who founded Claddagh Records in 1959, comes up at Sotheby’s 2020 instalment of Royal and Nobel in London on January 21. Irish lots feature prominently in this 250 lots auction.There is furniture, paintings and collectibles from Killadoon House on the banks of the River Liffey in Kildare, formerly one of the seats of the Earls of Leitrim and owned by the Clements family; a selection of mostly collectible lots from Luggala and the collection of the late Garech Browne and some lots from an important Irish collector.No less that 22 Claddagh rings representing love, loyalty and friendship owned by Garech Browne are included. The Claddagh ring as it is now known was first produced in the 17th century in the fishing village of Claddagh. Many of the examples in Garech Browne’s collection are rare and early.  The most expensively estimated is a c1700 ring by Thomas Meade, Kinsale or Galway at £2,500-4,500. Galway makers featured include James Clinch, Nicholas Burge, George Robinson, Richard Joyce and Austin French.Also from Luggala is a collection of mostly Galway 18th century ecclesiastical silver, Irish 18th century rosaries with pendant crucifixes, some Irish silver, furniture and a George III longcase clock by James Aikin, Cork c1780 (£3,000-4,000).

    There are portraits, Irish 19th century furniture, Chinese and European porcelain and bronzes. Also in the sale from an Irish collection is a George II side table in the manner of William Kent which is estimated at £30,000-50,000.  This table was brought to Birr Castle in the 1940’s by Anne, Countess of Rosse and came to the present owner by descent.

    UPDATE: A total of 21 Claddagh rings sold mostly at prices considerably above the top estimate.

    This c1700 rare Claddagh ring by Thomas Meade, Kinsale or Galway is estimated at £2,500–4,500). UPDATE: THIS RING SOLD FOR £9,375

    A SURREAL MASTERPIECE AT CHRISTIE’S

    January 10th, 2020

    Rene Magritte’s A la rencontre du plaisir (Towards Pleasure) comes up at Christie’s Surreal auction in London on February 5. It combines several if his most iconic motifs into a single, evocative image, creating an elegant summation of the poetic imagination which fuelled his unique form of Surrealism. Purchased directly from the artist shortly after its creation, the painting has remained in the same family collection for over half a century, and is coming to auction for the first time and is estimated at £8-12 million.

    René Magritte, À la rencontre du plaisir

    IRISH ART ONLINE AT MORGAN O’DRISCOLL SALE

    January 9th, 2020

    An online auction of Irish art by Morgan O’Driscoll runs until the evening of January 20. Artists featured include Mark O’Neill, James Humbert Craig, John Shinnors, Melanie le Brocquy, Patrick O’Reilly, Markey Robinson and many more. The catalogue, with 259 lots in total, is online.

    MARK O’NEILL (B.1963) – Summer Floral II (2019) . UPDATE: THIS MADE 3,200 AT HAMMER

    MOORE HIGHLIGHT AT CHRISTIE’S MODERN BRITISH ART SALE

    January 8th, 2020

    Henry Moore’s Square Form, a rare surreal sculpture from 1936, is among the highlights at Christie’s Modern British Art evening sale in London on January 21. It is estimated at £3-5 million. The auction will launch the 20th century series at Christie’s which includes a day sale and works from the collection of Allen and Beryl Freer on January 22 and 23. The Mill, Pendlebury, a recently discovered painting by L.S. Lowry bought directly from the artist is estimated at £700,000-1,000,000. The evening auction will feature early Modernist paintings by Ben Nicholson, John Piper, and Richard Lin alongside the Vorticists David Bomberg, William Roberts and Lawrence Atkinson. Two paintings by Howard Hodgkin from The Jeremy Lancaster Collection continue to illustrate the collector’s career-long support for the artist.


    Henry Moore – Square Form © Christie’s Images Limited 2019 . UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    GOLDEN GLOBES IN NEWBRIDGE

    January 6th, 2020

    Golden Globes won by Doris Day are among the lots from the estate of the singer and actress on view at the Museum of Style Icons in Newbridge, Co. Kildare until February 3.  More than 800 lots from her estate will be auctioned live and online by Julien’s Auctions in Hollywood on April 4 and 5. This is the only European exhibition of the collection. On offer is a selection of her most iconic costumes and memorabilia from films and television shows and furnishings from her home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Proceeds will go to the Doris Day animal foundation. The Golden Globes are estimated at $4,000-$6,000 each.

    GOLDEN GLOBES WON BY DORIS DAY

    A SALE TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2020

    January 5th, 2020

    One sale to look forward to in 2020 takes place at Sotheby’s in London on March 18 – the day after St. Patrick’s Day.  It will focus global attention on the art and antiques of Ireland at a time when international buyers are playing an increasingly important role in many sales in this country. Jack Yeats and William Scott made art which could not be more different, yet together they represent the two hottest Irish artists in the salesrooms right now.  Both artists featured in the collection of late property developer Patrick Kelly, who furnished his Georgian home at 44 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin with an array of paintings spanning the 18th to the 20th centuries.These paintings were wonderfully complemented with fine Georgian and Regency furniture, silver and decorative arts, amassed by Kelly from auctions and dealers over the past three decades.On offer at Sotheby’s will be 120 lots from the estate of Patrick Kelly (1942-2011) who was one of our most successful property developers.Arabella Bishop, head of Sotheby’s Dublin office, said:  “I have known Patrick and his collection for many years. 44 Fitzwilliam Square was a truly stunning setting to showcase the paintings, furniture, and objects which he collected from around the world over a number of decades. In holding a dedicated auction, we are able to celebrate Patrick’s vision and look forward to sharing it with collectors not only in Ireland but internationally.”The auction will offer art by Daniel Maclise, George Barret, Roderic O’Conor, Yeats, Scott and others.  Furniture highlights include a pair of George II Irish mirrors supplied to Sankey Winter, Dean of Kildare, and marquetry tables attributed to William Moore of Dublin.Sotheby’s say the collection as a whole reveals Patrick’s passion for Irish art and his discerning eye, with pictures and furniture beautifully married within the elegant surroundings of his Georgian home. Central to the collection are five paintings by Yeats, including The Showground Revisited, painted in 1950 (£150,000-250,000 / €170,000-282,000) and Young Men, painted in 1929 (£150,000-250,000 / €170,000-282,000), and an exceptional work by William Scott, entitled Deep Blues (£300,000-500,000 / €339,000-565,000). 

    Interior view of 44 Fitzwilliam Square

    STILL TIME TO CATCH FREUD AND YEATS AT IMMA

    January 4th, 2020

    If you have not yet managed to see it there is still time to catch a marvellous show at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin.  Life Above Everything brings together the work of Lucian Freud (1922-2011) and Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957).  Freud had a lifelong interest in the work of Yeats and admired its force and energy.  He did not cite Yeats as an influence but seems to have found common purpose with its originality and independence.  A pen and ink drawing by Yeats, The Dancing Stevedores, hung beside Freud’s bed forI over 20 years.  Unique to the show is a group of seven paintings by Yeats which Freud selected for a close friend, advising him which works to acquire.  Freud’s first visit to Ireland in 1948 has been described, at least in part, as a pilgrimage to the site of Yeats’ work.  They exhibited together only one in their lifetimes, at the inaugural show at the ICA in London in 1948. Freud’s work has been exhibited with that of other artists, but this is the first time that it is presented with a single other artist. The show runs until January 19.

    Girl with Roses by Lucian Freud from the Freud-Yeats show at IMMA. British Council, London, UK /  © The Lucian Freud Archive /  Bridgeman Images