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    Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

    The international art market is increasingly evolving towards the now.  Developments  happening at breakneck pace are reflected in the annual  May New York sales of big league international art, livestreamed of course, and available to view around the world. Christie’s has torn up the rule book to create an entirely new category of turn of the 21st century contemporary art.  Established contemporaries like Gerhard Richter and Christopher Wool will be offered alongside newcomer artists like Jordan Casteel.

    Two tables with floral pattern by Jonas Wood (born 1977) at Christies.  Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2021. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $6,510,000

    This follows the discovery of a growing appetite for masterpieces by a new generation of artists reported by Christie’s in 2020.  The auction house recorded no less than seven new auction records by 21st century artists in the livestreamed Hong Kong to New York evening sale last December.  Many of these artists are unknown to those of us familiar with the glorious range of art from Monet to Hockney and beyond.  The 21st century evening sale at Christie’s on May 11 will be led by work from artists like Martin Kippenberger, Jordan Casteel and  Gerhard Richter. Mark Rothko’s Untitled, painted in 1970 during the final months of his life, will highlight the 20th century evening sale on May 13.

    Femme assise près d’une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse) by Pablo Picasso at Christie’s.  Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2021 (estimate in the region of $55 million). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $103,410,000

    Even though there are growing numbers of new kids on the block there will be no shortage  of names that are familiar.  Sotheby’s Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art sales will include highlights from Jean-Michel Basquiat, Clyfford Still, Warhol, Hockney, Willem de Kooning, Alexander Calder, Childe Hassan, Degas, Monet, Picasso and more.  An exquisite example of Monet’s Waterlilies series will highlight Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern sale and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Versus Medici will take centre stage at the Contemporary Art evening auction.  Both sales will be livestreamed on May 12. Contemporary auctions reflect the response of todays artists to our changing world and offer a fascinating glimpse of the development of abstract and figurative art from the Post-War period to the present day. To further mark the changes Sotheby’s will hold its first auction entirely devoted to women artists across the centuries later this month.

    Le Bassin aux nympheas by Claude Monet at Sothebys on May 12. ($40-$60 million). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $70,353,000

    The future beckons and it looks exciting. The mix of online and live sales is here to stay. We will not go back to what was there before Covid. If a signpost to the future can be discerned it points in the direction of a more diverse and multicultural art market focused on gender equality, the rights of minorities and masterpieces waiting to be discovered by artists yet largely unknown.

    Versus Medici by Jean Michel Basquiat at Sothebys on May 12 ($35-$50 million). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $50,820,000


    Thursday, April 15th, 2021
    Cork silver tankard by Robert Goble

    A Queen Anne Irish silver tankard by Robert Goble, Cork c1700 sold for £21,250 at Christie’s in London today. From the collection of Mrs. Henry Ford II from Eaton Square in London and Turville Grange in Buckinghamshire it had been estimated at £3,000-£5,000.

    Also from the Kathleen Ford collection was a set of seven George III silver dishes by Robert Calderwood, Dublin c1760. Complete with the St. Leger arms from Doneraile in Co. Cork these sold for £17,500 over a top estimate of £8,000. The arms are those of St. Ledger with Deane in pretence, for Hayes St. Ledger, 4th Viscount Doneraile (1702-1767), of Doneraile Court, Co. Cork, M.P. for Doneraile, and his wife Elizabeth (d.1768), daughter and heiress of the Rt. Hon Joseph Deane (1575-1715), Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer of Ireland, whom he married in 1722. The large meat dish was at the sale of the property of Mary, Viscountess Doneraile; Sotheby’s, London, at Sotheby’s in London in 1958 and from there it passed into the estate of Henry Ford II. A pair of George II Irish silver counter dishes by John McLoughlin, Dublin c1740 and an Irish silver salver by George Hodder, Cork c1760 sold as one lot for £10,000 over a top estimate of £3,500.

    Two paintings by May Guinness RHA, Girl Reading and Autumn Flowers sold for £18,750 and £16,250 over top estimates of £8,000 and £10,000.

    The auction achieved £3.98 million and was 96% sold by lot and 93% sold by value. The final total for the combined Ford Collection sales was £22.5 million. Bidders from 35 countries took part.

    (See posts on for February 8, March 27 and April 11, 2021)

    A set of seven George III silver dishes by Robert Calderwood


    Thursday, 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)


    Thursday, March 18th, 2021

    In anticipation of a new era for the art world Christie’s will offer major auctions of “20th Century Art” and “21st Century Art” in New York in May. These sales on May 11 (1880-1980) and May 13 (1980’s into the future) will replace the Impressionist and Modern and Post-War and Contemporary sales.  According to Christie’s the new format will underscore the radical nature of the Modern Masters and their lasting impact on the art being created today, it will emphasise the electricity and relevance of the art created over the past 40 years, and make plenty room for the new – both physical and digital. (Last week the auction house sold a digital non fungible token art collage by Beeple for a record $69 million).

    Alexander Rotter, chairman of 20th & 21st Century Art remarked: ‘This time of upheaval has had an enormous impact on the art world. It has impacted the nature of art that is being created today and has altered our understanding on the art of the past. This new format allows us to bring our new found perspective forward to the market in an exciting and dynamic way. We are looking forward to what the future has to bring.’

    By removing art from the context of its assigned movements, Christie’s seeks to make new stylistic connections, approach topics such as race and revolution from a new lens, and create space to amplify voices that have been historically overlooked and undervalued. The sales will create a new platform to elevate masterworks and discover new and extraordinary works.

    Claude Monet – Waterloo Bridge, effet de brouillard courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2021

    Monet’s Waterloo Bridge, effet de brouillard, (estimate in the region of $35 million, will be joined by Andy Warhol’s Nine Multicolored  Marilyns (Reversal Series), 1979-1986 (estimate in the region of $7 million) in the 20th Century Evening Sale. One of the most influential sculptural works of the last 35 years Martin Kippenberger’s Martin, ab in die Ecke und schäm Dich (Martin, Into the Corner, You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself) from 1989 is a highlight of the May 13 sale. It is estimated at $10-15 million. 

    Martin Kippenberger –  Martin, ab in die Ecke und schäm Dich (Martin, Into the Corner, You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself)  courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2021. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $9,520,000


    Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

    Sir John Lavery’s painting of the Viscountess Castlerosse at Palm Springs. comes up at Christie’s Modern British Art evening sale in London on March 1 with an estimate of £400,000-600,000. With all its connotations of the rich at play in the years between the First and Second World Wars it is redolent of an era long gone. Doris Delavigne married the 6th Earl of Kenmare in 1928. A similar version of the scene sold for €50,000 at de Veres in Dublin in 2014.

    Christie’s list the provenance as: The artist, and by descent to his granddaughter, Lady Ann Sempill.
    Her sale; Christie’s, London, 13 May 1966, lot 77, as ‘Portrait of Lady Castlerosse, seated on a springboard at Palm Springs’.
    Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, London, 22 May 1997, lot 264, as ‘Lady Castlerosse on a diving board’, where purchased by the present owner.

    SIR JOHN LAVERY, R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A. (1856-1941) The Viscountess Castlerosse, Palm Springs (the version sold at de Veres). UPDATE: THE WORK AT CHRISTIE’S SOLD FOR £862,500, A RECORD FOR A PORTRAIT BY LAVERY


    Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

    Sir Winston Churchill’s only wartime painting – Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque (1943) – will lead Christie’s Modern British Art evening sale on March 1. From the collection of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who are divorcing, it is being offered for sale by the Jolie Family Collection. Painted in Marrakech following the Casablanca Conference in January 1943 – where it was agreed by the Allied forces that only complete surrender by the Axis powers would be acceptable – it is estimated at £1,500,000-2,500,000. Churchill invited Franklin D. Roosevelt to join him in Marrakech the day after the conference concluded, motivated by his desire to share the views of the city and the light at sunset. The view impressed Roosevelt so much that Churchill decided to capture the scene for him as a memento of their excursion. This act was seen not only as an indication of their friendship but of the special relationship between the UK and the USA.

    The Hollywood couple bought the painting ten years ago at M.S. Rau in New Orleans.

    Churchill began painting scenes of Morocco after being encouraged to visit the country by his painting tutor, Sir John Lavery. Upon his first visit in 1935, he felt that the light and scenery were unrivalled, creating some 45 paintings of the country. Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque stands out as the only painting he created between 1939 and 1945.

    Sir Winston Churchill –  Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £8,285,000, A WORLD AUCTION RECORD


    Thursday, January 28th, 2021

    This c1720 pair of Italian (Trapani) gilt copper and copper mounted pricket sticks sold for $243,750 at Christie’s sale of the collection of Mr. and Mrs. John H Gutfreund in New York. They had been estimated at $60,000-100,000. Trapani, in Sicily was a famous centre of coral-work production between the 16th and the 18th centuries. Famously expensive and collected or exchanged as diplomatic gifts between European nobility, coral-work form Trapani generally combines a gilt-copper ground with enamel embellishments and was fashioned into a variety of religious and secular items. The two day sale of the Gutfreund collection totalled $6.2 million.


    Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

    Jean Etienne Liotard’s pastel portrait of Philibert Cramer is a highlight of Christie’s online sale of Old Master and British drawings including property from the Cornelia Bessie Estate in New York.  Philibert and his brother Gabriel were the principal publishers of Voltaire and responsible for the first editions of major works such as the novel Candide.  This portrait is estimated at $400,000-$600,000. The sale runs to January 28.

    Jean Etienne Liotard – Philibert Cramer. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $810,000


    Saturday, January 23rd, 2021

    IT is not everyday that a painting by Botticelli comes to auction, and it is not everyday that a sale of Old Master drawings features a strong Cork connection and a tenuous but definite link to the monster Frankenstein. Next January 28 in New York will be just such a day. Led by Botticelli, Rembrandt and Bernini  the highest value Masters Week in Sotheby’s history runs in New York until January 30. The seven Sotheby’s auctions of paintings, drawings and sculpture with works spanning four centuries is headed by Botticelli’s Young Man Holding a Roundel. Sotheby’s are confident that this work will establish art market history as one of the most significant portraits of any period ever at auction. They have not published an estimate but rank it alongside Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II (sold in 2006 for $87.9 million) and  Van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet (sold in 1990 for $82.5 million). As only about 12 portraits by the early Renaissance Florentine master are known – nearly all of them in major museum collections – it seems likely that this rare and characterful portrait could break all existing records. It comes up at the marquee sale of Master Paintings and Sculpture alongside 45 other works with estimates of from $70,000 to $30 million, the top estimate for Rembrandt’s Abraham and the Angels. (The Rembrandt was withdrawn from the sale)

    The Cork connection turns up at Christie’s online sale of Old Master and British drawings including property from the Cornelia Bessie Estate which runs until January 28. Lot 81 is a portrait by the Irish artist Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1739-1808) of Robert King, 2nd Earl of Kingston and Caroline (nee Fitzgerald), Countess of Kingston.  He was an MP for County Cork. They lived at Mitchelstown Castle where they hired the author and founding feminist philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) as governess to their daughters. (It is a pity that the governess did not have the opportunity to educate and civilise their son George who grew up to be the notoriously brutal commander of the North Cork Militia during the 1798 Rebellion).  The daughter she influenced most was Margaret King who, as Lady Mount Cashell, undertook a grand tour and published her diaries. The unconventional Wollstonecraft died 11 days after giving birth to her second daughter Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein and wife of the poet. The Kingston portraits are estimated at $12,000-$18,000

    (See post on for January 15, 2021)

    Sandro Botticelli – Portrait of a young man holding a roundel  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $92,184,000


    Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

    A selection of costume jewellery made for the Chanel runway comes up at an online sale at Christie’s, New York from January 14-29. Spanning over 100 intricate creations the jewels provide a glimpse into the golden era of Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel. They are featured as part of the landmark sale series from the Collection of Mr. & Mrs. John H. Gutfreund 834 Fifth Avenue. Susan Gutfreund shared a close friendship with Karl Lagerfeld. Many of the pieces are prototypes never before offered for sale and they provide a window into the world of haute couture in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

    (See post on for December 20, 2020)

    $800-1,200. UPDATE: THESE SOLD FOR $3,250