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Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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  • PICASSO HIGHLIGHT AT CHRISTIE’S NEW YORK

    April 6th, 2021

    Picasso’s Femme assise près d’une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse), 30 October 1932 (estimate in the region of $55 million) will highlight Christie’s 20th century evening sale in New York on May 11. One of the extraordinary series of iconic portraits that Picasso painted of his golden-haired muse during this landmark year, this monumental work is among the most stately and impressive depictions of Marie-Thérèse that the artist painted.

    EASTER WEEKEND OFFERS MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR ONLINE BROWSING

    April 4th, 2021

    With everything from a  wonderful landscape by John Butts to suits of armour to watches designed for the space age there is plenty to interest collectors at  auctions open for online browsing in Ireland over this Easter Weekend.  The library collection, a timed online sale at James Adam in Dublin running to April 14, offers art, antique furniture and bookcases, old maps, miniatures, Qing Dynasty bronzes, a carved and stained birdcage modelled as a two storey house and a pair of Georgian upholstered armchairs once at Ashford Castle in a wide ranging sale of 227 lots.

    John Butts (c1728-1764) – A Mountainous Wooded Landscape. UPDATE: THIS MADE 15,000 AT HAMMER

    Christofle serving dishes, a Georgian style dining suite by Harrods, a bespoke silver canteen by Carrs of Sheffield, a pair of Eames chairs, sculpture and maritime art by S Francis Smitheman (1927-2016) will come under the hammer  on April 7.  Sean Eacrett, the Ballybrittas, Co. Laois based auctioneer will offer contents from 35 Abington, Malahide in an online sale of 383 lots.

    Meantime three centuries of watches and clocks from the Age of Reason to the Age of Steam to the Space Age are on offer at a timed online evening sale by Mullens of Laurel Park, Bray on April 11. A pocket watch made in Dublin in the 1730’s by Thomas Coote, the earliest watch in the sale, is estimated at €700-€1,000. There are 12 examples of American railroad grade precision watches which came into being following an investigation into a head on collision 40 miles west of Cleveland in 1891. Nine men died when the fast mail hit the Toledo express on a single track near a siding. The investigation centred on the engineers watches, one of which was found to be four minutes slow. Space age travel with massive G forces and zero gravity presented new challenges and Max Hetzel devised the Bulova Watch Company “Accutron” win 1960, marketed as the Space Age watch.  There are five of them in the sale with estimates of €80-€300.

    A c1780 George III pocket watch by William Ross, Cork at Mullens

    Lot 89 at Adams, A Mountainous Wooded Landscape by John Butts (c1728-1764) is estimated at €15,000-€20,000. Influenced by Claude Lorraine and Nicolas Poussin the Cork artist is regarded as one of the finest early Irish landscape painters.  Among other more expensive lots is a c1780 Irish satinwood pier table (€10,000-€15,000), a giltwood and marble topped side table (€5,000-€8,000), a river landscape by the Dutch artist Albert Meyering (1645-1714) (€10,000-€15,000) and an Irish Regency serving table (€5,000-€7,000). A Victorian snooker score board by J. Thurston and Co. London has an estimate of €500-€800. 

    The maritime art of Francis Smitheman at Sean Eacrett’s sale is headed by three oils with estimates of €6,000-€8,000 and there are also some limited edition prints.  The mahogany Harrods dining suite is estimated at €8,000-€12,000 and the silver canteen is estimated at €8,000-€10,000.  There is a selection of Art Deco pieces, African sculptures from Cape Town, attractive garden furniture and some large terracotta urns.

    EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY

    April 3rd, 2021

    The story of a fractured relationship between a portrait artist and his client lies behind the Knatchbull family portrait. Painted by John Singleton Copley in 1800 it was commissioned by Tory politician Sir Edward Knatchbull, who wanted a portrait of his second wife and ten children.  His first wife was to be included so Copley depicted her as one of a group of angels. When his second wife died two years later Knatchbull married again and wanted her included. Then his pregnant wife’s child had to be added. When after three years the portrait was finally unveiled he was mortified when people laughed openly at the spectacle of past and present wives in the same painting. He had it taken down and ordered Copley to paint over the angels. The fee was to be cut too, forcing a legal dispute which the artist won.  The oil sketch from the collection of Patricia Mountbatten sold at Sotheby’s for £88,200. Singleton Copley was an Irish American whose father was from Limerick and whose mother was from Clare.

    John Singleton Copley – The Knatchbull Family Portrait

    MORE THAN 2,000 LOTS AT THREE DAY HOUSE CLEARANCE SALE

    April 2nd, 2021

    There will be a three day online house clearance auction with 2,100 lots by Matthews of Kells on April 10, 11 and 12. On offer are contents from Ardlaois, Blackrock, Co. Louth, home of the late Professor Kieran Taaffe who was head of International Affairs at Dublin Institute of Technology. There is Irish and international art, old silver, antique furniture, rugs, gilded mirrors, books, oriental items and collectibles. The catalogue is online.

    Lot 100 is an Irish mahogany turf bucket (1,000-1,500). UPDATE: THIS MADE 980 AT HAMMER

    THE BATTLE OF THE NILE BY S FRANCIS SMITHEMAN

    April 2nd, 2021

    The Battle of the Nile is one of a number of works by the British artist S. Francis Smitheman (1927-2016) at an online Malahide house sale by Sean Eacrett on April 7. It is one of four paintings the artist made for the vendor, who first came across his work at a shop near where she then lived at St. Katherine Dock in London. The shop owner mentioned that the artist would be dropping in and they became firm friends. This is the first of the four paintings that Smitheman painted for the seller and it comes with hand written sketches explaining his approach to an artwork to celebrate Nelson’s centenary. It is estimated at 6,000-8,000. The sale features maritime art, classic furniture, Art Deco and Collectibles.

    S. Francis Smitheman (1927 – 2016) Battle Of The Nile 1798  UPDATE: THIS MADE 7,500 AT HAMMER

    THE COLLECTION OF SYDELL MILLER AT CHRISTIE’S IN NEW YORK

    April 1st, 2021

    Fine and decorative art from the collection of entrepreneur, collector and philanthropist Sydell Miller will come up at Christie’s two marquee weeks in New York. A selection of 20 works of art will highlight the 20th and 21st Century Week from May 11-14, and a dedicated auction on June 10 entitled will feature masterworks of 18th Century French furniture and Design. Her Palm Beach ocean front house called La Rêverie was a true achievement in collecting – a vision of art and design that was the result of Mrs. Miller’s avant-garde eye and connoisseurship, complemented by the renowned talent of interior designer Peter Marino. The collection in total is estimated to exceed $30 million. Sydell Miller and her late husband Arnold Miller co-founded Matrix Essential, which became the largest manufacturer of professional hair and beauty products in America. Mrs. Miller devotes much of her time and energy to philantrophy, chiefly the Cleveland Clinic. The Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute houses the heart hospital on the main campus in Ohio.

    FRANÇOIS-XAVIER LALANNE (1927-2008) Rare ‘Elephant’ Centre Table, 2001 ($1-1.5 million)

    A WORTHY ADDITION TO ANY COLLECTION

    March 31st, 2021

    This c1730 George II Galway octagonal waiter or small salver sold for a hammer price of £16,000 at Gorringes of Lewes, East Sussex on March 30. It was made by Mark Fallon, whose work is exceptionally rare, and it will be a worthy addition to any collection. There are marks consistent with wear but the hallmarks are clear. It had been estimated at £6,000-£9,000. The hammer price will incur fees of 23% plus VAT. If it is to be brought back to Ireland there will, in addition, be importation fees of 13.5%.

    TRY THIS TIARA FOR SIZE ON INSTAGRAM

    March 31st, 2021

    A tiara passed down for 150 years through the Royal Family of Italy will highlight Sotheby’s sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels in Geneva on May 11. The natural pearls and diamonds tiara from the House of Savoy is estimated at $1-$1.5 million. A new instagram filter available from today on the @Sothebys handle and @SothebysJewels enables followers to virtually try on the tiara and take a photograph of themselves wearing it against a 360 degree background of an Italian palace in Turin. Sotheby’s report an increasing interest in and demand for tiaras. No less than 96% of tiaras offered by them last year found a buyer, with 83% breaking the top estimate.

    COMBINED TOTAL OF £361.4 MILLION AT CHRISTIE’S GLOBAL MARCH SEASON

    March 30th, 2021

    THE global series of 20th century auctions at Christie’s in March brought in a combined total of £361,428,211. The auction house reports that the season saw registered bidders from 69 countries. The depth of bidding across platforms, time zones and geographies demonstrates global market is active and expansive according to the auction house. New registrants accounted for 24% of registered bidders in March. Tens of millions of viewers tuned in to watch and participate in the March sale series, through Facebook, You Tube, We Chat, Weibo, Artron, ArtPro, Yitao, Christies.com and Christie’s Live™

    The underbidder on Banksy’s Game Changer placed a final bid of £14,300,000, the highest bid to date on Christie’s LIVE™. No less than 30 artists records were set.

    Picasso’s Femme nue couchée au collier (Marie-Thérèse), 1932 sold for £14,582,500

    ROYAL SAPPHIRES AND DIAMONDS AND CHRISTIE’S, GENEVA

    March 29th, 2021

    A spectacular parure of sapphires and diamonds from the collection Stephanie de Beauharnais, Grand Duchess of Baden (1789-1860) come up at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva on May 12. The nine pieces, including a tiara, one collier, one pair of earrings, two pendants and brooches as well as one ring and one bracelet will be offered as individual lots. A total of 38 sapphires originating from Ceylon were used to create this parure in the early 1800s. Stephanie was the adoptive daughter of Emperor Napoléon I (1769-1821), the 200th anniversary of whose death occurs in May.

    Napoleon I married Josephine de Beauharnais in 1796. She was Stephanie’s aunt. Stephanie was born in 1789, unfortunately and after the death of her mother two years later she spent her early years with the nuns in the French country side. Soon after her aunt’s marriage to Napoléon I she joined them and grew up in Versailles and Paris. A month before her own wedding, she was adopted by Napoléon and became Her Imperial Highness Princess Stephanie Napoléon and was therewith able to marry into the Baden family.

    The collection also includes the important sapphire crown of Maria II Queen of Portugal, set with a remarkable Burmese sapphire in the centre.

    Early 19th century sapphire and diamond necklace, property of a royal familyCourtesy CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2021