Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    February 8th, 2020

    Hockney, Klein, Bacon, Warhol  and Basquiat are among the artists whose work will loom large at major contemporary art evening sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s in London next week.At this moment of uncertainty and unease about the future there is no shortage of rich pickings for wealthy and institutional collectors. Sotheby’s has Hockney’s The Splash and one of Yves Klein’s first performance paintings, Christie’s has Andy Warhol’s Athletes.The Splash, featured on these pages two weeks ago, is the standout work at Sotheby’s evening sale of 47 works next Tuesday evening.  Estimated at £20-30 million it is the second in a series of three splash paintings that secured Hockey’s international reputation. Like Hockney’s splash Turning Figure by Francis Bacon, estimated at £6-8 million, contrasts an explosion of movement with a background that is utterly still.There is a similar estimate on Yves Klein’s Untitled Anthropometry, a work created during one of Klein’s first art performances at his Paris studio in 1960.  During the show Klein instructed nude female models coated in his patented blue IKB pigment to press their bodies against large sheets of paper.  Transforming the human figure into a living brush this work is considered rare for its grand scale and the inclusion of two full figures.  There are notable works on offer from artists like Jean Michel Basquiat, Cecily Brown, Damien Hirst, KAWS, Roy Lichtenstein, Kerry James Marshall, Grayson Perry, Gerhard Richter, Bridget Riley and others.At Christie’s on Wednesday evening a Warhol of Mohammed Ali is estimated at £3-5 million. From the collection of Richard L. Weisman Warhol’s Athletes is comprised of ten multicoloured portraits of stars like Pele, Chris Evert, O.J. Simpson and Jack Nicklaus. Ali dates to 1977.  The series is presented at Christie’s alongside Flowers from 1964 (£1-1.5 million), Warhol’s Knives (£2.5-3.5 million) and Brillo Soap Pads Box (£300,000-500,000).Jean Dubuffet’s Panorama, 1978 (£2-3 million) is an example of his theatres of memory, a reflective series created in the last decade of the artist’s life.  It is one of three works by Dubuffet in the sale. Albert Oehlen’s Mission Rohrfrei (£1.8-2.5 million) from 1996 is among the most abstract and explosive of his Remixes derived from Oehlen’s obsession with an obscure painting by John Grahama largely forgotten figure who played an important role in Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist circles in mid-century America.

    Untitled Anthropometry by Yves Klein at Sotheby’s . UPDATE: THIS MADE £6.1 MILLION
    Panorama by Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) at Christie’s . UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £2.1 MILLION


    February 7th, 2020

    A timed online auction of accessible at from Ireland and around the world runs at Whyte’s until February 17. Among the leading Irish artists represented are Jack Yeats, Louis le Brocquy, Estella Solomons, Colin Middleton, Seán McSweeney and Markey Robinson. Estimates range from €50 to €1,000, with most under €500.

    A timed auction is similar to EBay auctions but “sniping” (last split second bidding by programmes) is prevented by ten minute wait periods. The sale will be on view at Whyte’s at Molesworth St., Dublin from February 12-14 and on February 17. The catalogue is online.

    Still Life with Roses and Apples – Rosaleen Brigid Ganly HRHA (1909-2002) . UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    CHRISTIE’S SALES ACHIEVE £106.6 million

    February 5th, 2020

    The Impressionist and Modern Art and Art of the Surreal evening sales at Christie’s in London tonight made £106.8 million. Tamara de Lempicka’s Portrait de Marjorie Ferry made £16.2 million, a new auction record for the artist. It was the top lot and the Polish artist becomes the first female artist to lead an Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale.

    George Grosz’s politically charged Gefährliche Straße made a record of £9,740,250 and Rene Magritte’s A la rencontre du plaisir made £18,933,750 to lead The Art of the Surreal evening sale. Trois Hommes qui marchent by Alberto Giacometti made £11.2 million and there were records for Louis Anquetin (£1.3 million) and James Ensor (£815,250). The Impressionist and Modern sale made £62.6 million, The Art of the Surreal made £43.9 million.

    (See posts on for February 1, January 30, January 15 and January 10, 2020)

    Tamara de LempickaPortrait de Marjorie Ferry


    February 5th, 2020

    The first major David Hockney painting to feature at auction in Asia – 30 Sunflowers – will lead Sotheby’s Hong Kong Contemporary Art evening sale on April 6. The work is not unlike Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, while exhibiting a radical and personal approach. Created in 1996 it marks his return to figurative painting after a decade in which he was primarily immersed in photography. 30 Sunflowers will be on view at Sotheby’s London from February 7 – 11. It will then tour to Los Angeles, Jakarta, Hong Kong, and Taipei.

    David Hockney, 30 Sunflowers


    February 4th, 2020

    The Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist Art sale at Sotheby’s this evening achieved a total of £49.9 million. Camille Pissarro’s Gelee blanche was the top lot of this 33 lot auction. It made £13.29 million over a top estimate of £12 million. This was the second highest auction price for a Pissarro. The painting was one of three works restituted to the heirs of Gaston Levy which together sold for £22.2 million. There were auction records for Jean Metzinger and Pyke Koch. The sale saw strong activity from Asia as well as Europe and the US. Asian collectors bid on one third of lots offered.

    (See posts on for February 1, January 29 and January 13, 2020)

    Pyke Koch FLORENTIJNSE TUIN (FLORENTINE GARDEN) sold for £555,000


    February 4th, 2020

    It is a pity that Claude Monet never came to Ireland. The rapidly changing light would have undoubtedly enthralled him. This depiction of Waterloo Bridge in London, which comes up at the Impressionist and Modern Art day sale at Sotheby’s on February 5, is both specific and otherworldly.

    In words that could be readily used about the Irish climate Monet wrote from London to his wife Alice: “The weather was magnificent but unsettled… I can’t begin to describe a day as wonderful as this. One marvel after another, each lasting less than five minutes, it was enough to drive one mad. No country could be more extraordinary for a painter.” Painted in 1899 the work is estimated at £400,000-600,000.

    Claude Monet – Waterloo Bridge . UPDATE: THIS MADE £819,000


    February 3rd, 2020

    The catalogue for the online auction of Irish art now underway at de Veres in Dublin is online. Most lots are estimated at under 1,000 euro. The sale runs to February 11.

    Michael Cullen b.1946 BATHERS, LA PELOSA, SARDINIA (watercolour) . UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    February 1st, 2020

    Adding piquancy to the big London February art sales, which get underway next week, is that these are the first post Brexit auctions.  These annual sales usually attract round the globe interest and large numbers of Asian and US buyers. Sothebys kicks off on February 4 with Impressionist and Modern art evening sales to include three works recently restituted to the heirs of Gaston Levy, two from the Musee d’Orsay in Paris headed by a Pointillist masterpiece by Camille Pissarro.  This work depicts a young woman and child building a fire on a cold winter morning. Christie’s will follow on February 5 with an Impressionist and Modern sale and an auction of the Art of the Surreal.

    Gaston Levy was a notable art collector living in Paris in the 1920’s and 1930’s whose holding was dispersed under the Nazi occupation. After the war the works were repatriated to the French state and two of them have recently been restituted by the French Government to Lévy’s heirs from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The third of his works, Signac’s Quai de Clichy. Temps gris, found its way into the collection of the dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, whose illicit hoard was discovered by the authorities in the Munich apartment of his son Cornelius in 2012. Through his patronage of the Pointillists, Lévy formed a lifelong friendship with Signac, holidaying with the artist and sponsoring his project to paint 107 ports in France – securing his first pick from every batch of watercolours. Over the arc of his collecting career, Lévy owned forty-four oils by the artist. The auction will offer two paintings from different points in Signac’s oeuvre – transporting the viewer from a brisk morning in a Parisian port to the exotic delights of Istanbul’s waterside.

    Christie’s is highlighted by Tamara de Lempicka’s 1932 Portrait of Marjorie Ferry and Alberto Giacometti’s Trois hommes qui marchent from 1948.  Each one is estimated at £8-12 million. Further highlights include George Grosz’s highly politicised depiction of German at the close of the First World War. Gefahrliche Strasse is being offered 100 years after it was first shown at  Galerie Neue Kunst in Munich. Paintings from this series can be found at Tate Modern in London, MoMA in New York, the Nationalgalerle in Berlin and the Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid.  There are three Picasso Still Lifes and works on paper by Gino Severini, Paul Klee, Egon Schiele and Max Ernst.

    George Grosz (1893-1959) Gefahrliche Strasse . UPDATE: THIS MADE £9.7 MILLION


    February 1st, 2020

    A paintings and sculpture online sale at James Adam in Dublin until February 3 includes 164 lots from the collection of Antoinette and Patrick J. Murphy. The sale runs until 6 pm on February 3 and the catalogue is online.

    Carolyn Mullholland – Flowers (painted steel) UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 1,500 AT HAMMER


    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.