Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    March 6th, 2020

    A facsimile of The Book of Kells – the most precious illuminated manuscript of the early Middle Ages – is among the lots at Fonsie Mealy’s Spring rare book sale in Castlecomer on March 11. It is from the first and only complete fine art facsimile, a limited edition of 1,480 books published by authority of the Board of Trinity College, Dublin. Published by Verlag, Luzern it comes in a specially created presentation box and is estimated at 6,000-8,000. More than 900 lots will come under the hammer.



    March 4th, 2020

    More than 450 lots will come under the hammer at Morgan O’Driscoll’s auction of affordable art on Tuesday March 10. Artists whose work will feature are Jack B Yeats, Harry Kernoff, Banksy, Salvador Dali, Antony Gormley, John Kingerlee, Georges Braque, Kenneth Webb and John Butler Yeats. The catalogue is online.

    JACK BUTLER YEATS (1871-1957) Roadside Thatched Cottage (1,200-1,800). UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,600 AT HAMMER


    March 4th, 2020

    Coronavirus nothwithstanding TEFAF, the European Fine Art Fair, is looking forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world. March 5 is early access day when it opens by invitation only, Friday is preview day, again by invitation only, and the fair proper runs from March 7 to March 15. Further to the Dutch authority’s advice, TEFAF is taking extra precautionary measures, such as additional all-day cleaning services and distribution and placement of hand sanitizers at the fair. The local health authorities will set up an information desk in the entrance area at the MECC.

    Heading into the 33rd edition, TEFAF Maastricht continues to be a pillar of the art market, providing a vital destination for collectors to explore the diversity of 7,000 years of art history. This outstanding fair provides collectors with the opportunity to acquire some of the finest works available on the market. Among many highlights this year is Three Dancers in Yellow Skirts,  a c1891 oil by Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917). It is being exhibited by Hammer Galleries.

    Edgar Degas – Three Dancers in Yellow Skirts


    March 3rd, 2020

    An advertising print featuring New York and Chicago baseball players estimated at €80-100 sold for a hammer price of €17,500 at Sheppards in Durrow today. The print, for E and J Burke Finest Pale Ales and Extra Foreign Stout depicted the two players drinking companionably, one with ale from a barrell, the other with stout.

    The brothers Edward (1827?-1887) and John Burke (1829-1892) were Irish distillers, brewers, bottlers and importers, cousins of Benjamin Lee Guinness and grandsons of the first Arthur Guinness. The company they founded in. 1847 was in business in New York City from 1874 to 1953. A six story brick warehouse at 616 W 46th St. served as headquarters and storage from 1913-1922.

    A Chinese Qing hardwood and silk throne screen with six embroidered panels made €42,000 at hammer. It had been estimated at €30,000-60,000.


    March 3rd, 2020

    A rare complete set of Beethoven screenprints by Andy Warhol comes up at Sotheby’s sale of prints and multiples in London on March 19. This year marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. Warhol spared no effort in transforming the idealised and iconic portrait of the composer by Karl Stieler, into the rock star persona portrayed within this set of four screenprints. Created shortly before Warhol’s death in 1987 they are estimated at £200,000-300,000.


    March 2nd, 2020

    A foiled armed Belfast bank raid in 1974 is recalled in a lot to come under the hammer at Dix Noonan Webb in London on March 4. A group of three Queen’s Gallantry Medals awarded to RUC Detective Constable James Patrick Hardy will be offered with an estimate of £4,000-5,000. He was one of two policemen who spotted the getaway car speeding away from a robbery at the Trustee Savings Bank at Glengormley in November 1974. Tbey gave chase and the getaway car crashed into the security fence at the Corr’s Corner Roadhouse.

    A newspaper account quoting the second RUC man, Detective Sergeant George McMullen is included. Sgt. McMullen said: “When the car stopped four armed men got out and we ordered them to halt. After repeated warnings we drew our pistols and opened fire, hitting and wounding one man. He and one of the others stopped and after a further chase we caught all four.” More than £1,800 in cash was recovered and the robbers were subsequently brought to trial.



    March 1st, 2020

    Art auctioneers Whyte’s, who enjoyed a record breaking year in 2019, will kick off their 2020 art selling season on March 9.  The evening sale of Irish and International Art at the RDS in Dublin includes works by Yeats, Paul Henry, William Conor, Beatrice Glenavy, William Sadler, Nathaniel Hone the elder, Louis le Brocquy, Tony O’Malley, Donald Teskey, Barrie Cooke and many more. Whyte’s results in 2019 were aided in no small part by the record breaking November sale of the Ernie O’Malley Collection at which two works by Yeats soared past the million euro barrier.  A 1948 Yeats, Rusty Gates, is the most expensively estimated lot in this upcoming sale with an estimate of €100,000-150,000.  It depicts two elderly gentleman standing before a gateway in a high stone wall in a setting reminiscent of Co. Wicklow with a Sugar Loaf like mountain in the background.The first ROSC exhibition in Dublin at the RDS in 1967 was built around 50 of the “best” living artists at that time and included Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso.  Among those exhibiting was Polish artist Tadeusz Brzozowski (1918-1987).  His work Mastiff from that show returns to the RDS to go under the hammer as Lot 53 with an estimate of €80,000-100,000.  The Bog Road by Paul Henry dates to 1917-1923 and is estimated at €50,000-70,000, Stage Girls by Daniel O’Neill is estimated at €30,000-50,000 and works by Sir John Lavery include two portraits and a painting of two cigarette girls in Seville in colourful costume.  There is art by Gerard Dillon, Colin Middleton and George Campbell and Reclining Woman by Roderic O’Conor is estimated at €15,000-20,000. Large oils by John Shinnors and Donald Teskey, Sculptor’s Scarecrow and Coastal Report II are each estimated at €10,000-15,000, Mayo Summer by Tony O’Malley is estimated at €15,000-20,000, Rakaia Gorge I by Barrie Cooke is estimated at €6,000-8,000 as is  an Aubusson tapestry from the 1970’s by Patrick Scott.The Embarkation of King George IV at Kingstown 1821 by William Sadler II is full of minute detail recording the historic visit to Ireland by the British monarch. The King arrived drunk and suspicions persisted that the main purpose of the trip was to visit his mistress, Lady Conyngham at Slane Castle.  The visit was presented as a success and Lot 98 is estimated at €12,000-18,000.There are 200 lots on the catalogue, which is online.

    Rakaia Gorge I by Barrie Cooke  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    February 29th, 2020

    One of the most rewarding aspects of a love of antiques is that there is always something new. Lot 556 at Sheppards three days sale in Durrow on March 3, 4 and 5 is a case in point. Among the lots on offer is a large and unusual c1830 Irish circular sarcophagus form carved mahogany wine cooler. Attributed to the Dublin firm of Williams and Gibton it comes with an acanthus leaf carved lid which opens to a lead lined interior.  Rarity comes with a price, unfortunately, and this one is estimated at €15,000-25,000. Viewing at Sheppards is now underway.



    February 29th, 2020

    A Mountainous Wooded Landscape with figures gathering wood by Cork artist John Butts comes up at Sotheby’s sale of 44 Fitzwilliam Square, works from the estate of the late Patrick Kelly in London on March 18. It is estimated at £20,000-30,000. The talented artist, who died aged only 37 in 1764, worked as a teacher in Cork where his pupils included James Barry and Nathanial Grogan. He moved to Dublin around 1757 and worked predominantly as a scene painter. A comparable painting by the artist, Poachers: View in the Dargle, is at Tate Britain.  In a letter written after his death James Barry described him as … “an unfortunate man, who with all his merit never met with any thing but cares and misery, which I may say hunted him into the very grave. His cast of genius was very much that of Claude’s, whom he resembles without any imitation more than anybody that I know of”.  His View of Cork is one of the most popular works in the collection of the Crawford Gallery. 

    JOHN BUTTS – A Mountainous Wooded Landscape with figures gathering wood


    February 28th, 2020

    Murillo: The Prodigal Son Restored which opens at the National Gallery of Ireland on February 29, follows a long conservation project. It is 30 years since Murillo’s series of paintings based on the parable of the Prodigal Son has been on display here.

    The Prodigal Son cycle by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo explores sin, repentance and forgiveness across six paintings, staged in seventeenth-century Seville. It is the only intact narrative cycle by Murillo in the world. Donated by the Beit family in 1987, the works have been conserved at the Gallery’s Paintings Conservation Studio in a project led by Muirne Lydon, who remarked: “The conclusions of technical research performed on the paintings during conservation will be highlighted in the exhibition, revealing how the series was created – from canvas to ground layers and pigments – and the transformations that they have gone through over time. This new research adds to the growing body of knowledge of Murillo’s painting technique and materials. By situating the paintings both culturally and technically, the exhibition hopes to demonstrate that it is crucial to understand these masterpieces beyond their surface, thereby allowing our visitors to fully appreciate this exceptionally rich series.”

    Sean Rainbird, Gallery Director said: Murillo’s Prodigal Son cycle is one of the treasures of the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland. We are delighted that this exceptional group of paintings, now gloriously conserved for future generations, will be on view at the Gallery this Spring.” The exhibition continues until August 30.

    Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682)
    The Departure of the Prodigal Son, 1660s Photo © National Gallery of Ireland