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    Saturday, March 28th, 2020

    The show must go on but not in all circumstances.  At home and abroad many sales are being postponed and rescheduled.  Among the postponements last week was Sotheby’s much vaunted London sale of the Patrick Kelly Collection from 44 Fitzwilliam Square in Dublin. This was a loss and the sense of disappointment was palpable but the auction will no doubt eventually go ahead.The sale of Important Irish Art at James Adam was postponed last week and among the auctions not going ahead in the coming week are sales at Lynes and Lynes in Carrigtwohill, Mullen’s Collectors Cabinet sale at Laurel Park in Bray and a planned sale of pub memorabilia at Victor Mee’s in Co. Cavan. These auctions are set up and ready to go at a moments notice whenever the all clear is given.  Even where an auction is scheduled to go ahead right now it is advisable to check at the last minute before travelling. All sales at Bonhams are postponed until April 21, there is a revised schedule at Christie’s, Sotheby’s has reduced the schedule, all auctions at James Adam in Dublin are temporarily postponed and Fonsie Mealy is open by appointment only.  Whyte’s offices are closed but business continues behind closed doors and this is the case with many leading auctioneering firms right now.


    Friday, March 20th, 2020

    The first phase of a global review to revise the Spring and Summer auction schedule in the Americas and Europe at Christie’s has been completed. In Hong Kong, the Spring Asian Art and Luxury sales currently remain scheduled to take place from May 30 to June 3.

    Christie’s will consolidate international 20th Century auctions into one week in one location, New York, scheduled to take place from June 23-28. In Geneva, the Luxury Week is scheduled for June 29 to 1 July. In London, Classic Week including Old Master Paintings and the Exceptional Sale, remain scheduled for July 6 to July 17. These dates may be subject to change based on the relevant advice and the recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO).


    Saturday, 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

    CHRISTIE’S SALES ACHIEVE £106.6 million

    Wednesday, 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


    Saturday, 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


    Thursday, January 30th, 2020

    Tamara de Lempicka, Alberto Giacometti, Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali are among the big names due to come under the hammer at Christies in London on February 5. The Impressionist and Modern evening auction will be followed by The Art of the Surreal, together launching 20th century at Christie’s. de Lempicka’s Portrait de Marjorie Ferry from 1932 and Giacometti’s Trois hommes qui march from 1948, each estimated at £8-12 million, will highlight the first of the sales. There is a similar estimate on Magritte’s A la rencontre du plaisir from 1962. It is one of seven works by the artist in the auction.

    Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)  Trois hommes qui marchent (Grand plateau) . UPDATE: THIS MADE £11.2 MILLION


    Monday, January 27th, 2020

    Andy Warhol’s ‘Athletes’, ten multicoloured portraits of athletes, is highlighted by Muhammad Ali (1977) come up at Christie’s Post War and Contemporary art evening auction in London on February 12. From the collection of Richard L. Weisman Ali is estimated at £3-5 million. The seminal series is presented alongside Flowers (1964) (£1-1.5 million) which is offered as part of ‘Art for Future: Selected Works from the UniCredit Group’. The sale will include Warhol’s  Knives (1982) and Brillo Soap Pads Box (1964) originally held in the collection of Leo Castelli.

    The Post War and Contemporary art day auction takes place on February 13 and and online only sale will open for bidding from February 7-18.

    Andy Warhol, Muhammad Ali, 1977 . UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £4.9 MILLION


    Thursday, January 16th, 2020

    It is, according to the auctioneers Christie’s, in paintings like The Sky Lovers that we see the roots of Yeats’ most emotional and highly evocative works.  The 1947 work provides a striking example of his late painting style. Early in 1947 Yeats lost Cottie, his wife of 53 years, and when he returned to his easel it was with a new found emotional intensity.  In this work two figures are depicted looking to the sky as one raises his hands imploringly to the heavens. Through light and vigorous brushstrokes the artist brings energy to the work, a sense of desolation and a yearning for something lost.  The Sky Lovers comes up at the Modern British Art evening sale  at Christie’s in London on January 21 with an estimate of £200,000-300,000.

    Jack Butler Yeats, R.H.A. (1871-1957) The Sky Lovers . UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £225,000


    Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

    Tamara de Lempicka’s Portrait de Marjorie Ferry (1932) will be a highlight at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in London on February 5. The painting was commissioned by the husband of the British-born cabaret star Marjorie Ferry at the height of Lempicka’s fame in Paris where she was the most sought-after and celebrated female modernist painter. By 1930 Lempicka had become the première portraitist in demand among both wealthy Europeans and Americans, specifically with those who had an eye for classicised modernism. The portrait is estimated at £8,000,000-12,000,000.

    Tamara de Lempicka, Portrait de Marjorie Ferry . UPDATE: THIS MADE £16.2 MILLION


    Friday, 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 UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £18.9 million