Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
  • About Des
  • Contact
  • Posts Tagged ‘Christie’s’


    Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024


    There was a new world auction record to Titian at Christie’s in London this evening when his early masterpiece Rest on the Flight into Egypt made £17,560,000. The painting was offered by Lord Bath and the Longleat Trustees as part of their long-term investment strategy. It has been owned by Dukes, Archdukes and Holy Roman Emperors, by Napoleon and stolen in the late 20th century.

    Lord Bath said“It has been fabulous to see the interest in Titian’s work as this unique painting was previewed in the lead-up to this evening’s auction. It has been well-received which clearly demonstrates how the fascination with this exquisite early masterpiece has been maintained across the centuries. It has an extraordinary history, looted by Napoleon, bought by the 4th Marquess in 1878 and then stolen from Longleat in 1995 before miraculously being recovered. As the next chapter in the Rest on the Flight into Egypt’s story is written, I am pleased with the outcome of tonight; which will support our considerable long-term investment strategy at Longleat to build on the vision and legacy of my ancestors for the benefit of future generations.”  The Titian was the top lot at Christie’s Classic Week evening sales, Old Masters Part I and The Exceptional sale, which realised a combined total of  £50,788,420.

    (See post on for April 4, 2024)


    Wednesday, June 19th, 2024

    SEVRES ORMOLU-MOUNTED POWDERED LAVENDER AND GOLD-GROUND VASE c1805-1806 MADE $94,500. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd.

    There was energetic participation by bidders and buyers from 33 countries at Christie’s online sale of two American collections which brought in $2,157,624. More than 200 lots of mostly 18th and 19th century European decorative arts were from the estates of two passionate collectors, Adolphus and Emily Andrews, San Franciso and Donald Bruce Wilson of Memphis. The top lot of the sale came from the Andrews collection, a rare pair of marquetry table screens made for Joachim Murat, King of Naples, which made $378,000, more than seven times its low estimate. The top lot of the Wilson collection was a Sevres ormolu-mounted powdered lavender and gold-ground vase which made $94,500.


    Monday, June 3rd, 2024

    What a difference a professional restoration can make.  Pictured here are before and after conservation images of The Madonna of the Cherries by Quentin Metsys, which will be a highlight at Christie’s Old Master sale in London on July 2.  Painted in the 1520’s in Antwerp all trace of the work was lost following the death of its then owner in 1668. It resurfaced in Paris in the 1920’s with an altered composition including a curtain across the window and was no longer recognised as work by Metsys. With its overpainting and varnish it was offered at Christie’s in 2015 as a studio variant deriving from the original, reflecting scholarly opinion at that time. Subsequent conservation was transformative and enabled scholars to recognise it as the original.  The estimate for the work is now £8 million – £12 million (€9.40 million – €14.09 million). 


    Friday, May 17th, 2024


    Flowers, a 1964 work by Andy Warhol, was the top lot at Christie’s evening sale in New York on May 16. It made $35.5 million in a sale with global participation which totalled $413.3 million. Other top lots included Vincent Van Gogh’s Coin de jardin avec papillons, which realised $33.2 million, David Hockney’s A Lawn Being Sprinkled, which made $28.6 million and Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture, Femme Leoni, which brought $22.3 million. Of the 58 works sold, 15 achieved prices above $10 million, with Georgia O’Keeffe and Joan Mitchell counted among the top ten. 


    Monday, May 13th, 2024

    George Stubbs – Mares and Foals in an extensive landscape

    One of the largest pictures that George Stubbs painted – Mares and Foals in an extensive landscape – will be a highlight at Christie’s Old Masters sale in London on July 2. Stubbs was the most revered animal painter in the history of European Art and this work is one of the last two on this scale of any subject to remain in private hands. Dated to circa 1769, this monumental canvas is the artist’s grandest statement on the theme of Mares and Foals, the series of paintings executed in the 1760’s. The picture is believed to have been painted for the Prime Minister of Britain from 1768-1770, Augustus Fitzroy, 3rd Duke of Grafton (1735-1811), who was part of the closely-connected nexus of ‘Whig’ statesmen that provided Stubbs with his most important patronage during this career-defining period. Estimated at £7. – £10 million this painting last appeared on the market in 1976, since when it has been part of an important private collection in Illinois, U.S.A.


    Saturday, May 11th, 2024

    The Allnatt, a fancy vivid yellow diamond of 101.29 carats at Sotheby’s, Geneva. UPDATE: THIS WAS NOT SOLD

    Kashmir sapphires, Burmese rubies, Colombian emeralds and lots and lots of diamonds – what’s not to like?  Traditionally this is the month for sales which bring a global audience of very rich buyers to Geneva for eye watering jewels with all sorts of exotic provenance and stories histories.

    The collections of modern and historic jewellery at sales like these are fascinating. Some lots make millions.  But passion for fine jewellery is not the exclusive preserve of the super rich. There will be plenty of pickings for the rest of us at sales on May 14 at both James Adam in Dublin and Matthews in Kells and O’Reilly’s in Dublin on May 15 with no shortage of choices across all price levels.

    An exceptional pigeon’s blood ruby and diamond ring  at Christie’s.  The 5.03 carat ruby originated in Burma (Myanmar). UPDATE: THIS MADE 1 MILLION CHF AT HAMMER (€1.02 MILLION)

    On the international scene yellow diamonds are the flavour of the month this month. Christie’s will offer The Yellow Rose in Geneva on May 15, an unmounted rare fancy intense yellow pear modified and brilliant cut diamond of 202.18 carats. Like most intense yellow diamonds it is from South Africa where deposits are rich in nitrogen.

    Sotheby’s claim to have one of the world’s most significant fancy vivid yellow diamonds as a highlight of their magnificent jewels sale in Geneva on May 14.  The Allnatt – named for its first recorded owner Major Alfred Allnatt, renowned British racehorse owner, philanthropist and patron of the arts – weighs in at 101.29 carats and is celebrated for its richly saturated gold colour, older cutting style and elegant 1950’s mounting by Cartier.  It too originates in South Africa and the estimate is 5.6 million – 6.5 million Swiss francs (€5.74 million – €6.67 million).

    Both sales are distinguished by one of a kind pieces and historic and modern jewellery from houses like Harry Winston, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany, JAR and many others. 

    Turquoise, lapis lazuli and diamond bracelet at Adams. UPDATE: THIS MADE 19,000 AT HAMMER

    Meantime in Ireland viewing is underway both in Dublin and in Kells for the jewellery sales on May 14 at Adams and Matthews and the regular monthly jewellery and silver sale at O’Reilly’s of Francis St. in Dublin takes place on Wednesday.  Top lots at Adams include a c1960 Serpenti bracelet watch and a ruby and diamond ring both by Bulgari.  Each is estimated at €40,000-€60,000. A rare turquoise, lapis lazuli and diamond bracelet by Fred, Paris c1960 is estimated at €20,000-€30,000.  

    A Trinity bangle by Cartier is estimated at €6,000-€8,000 while a Trinity ring by the same maker (€700-€900) is one of a selection of lots available at under €1,000 in a catalogue with 268 lots in total.

    A vintage diamond and enamel ring by David Morris hallmarked London 1975 is the top lot at O’Reilly’s with an estimate of €58,000-€65,000. It comes with a gold rope link and black enamel surround. A total of 234 lots will come under the hammer.

    A selection of lots from Matthews 

    In Kells the auction at Matthews will offer silver and gold from various executor instructions, pawnbrokers unredeemed pledges and lots from private clients.  The top lot is a Toi et Moi diamond ring (€12,000-€18,000).  There is much to choose from in a wide selection of rings, brooches, bracelets, earrings, pendants and wristwatches.  Happy hunting….


    Saturday, May 4th, 2024

    The Italian Version of Popeye Has no Pork in His Diet by Jean-Michel Basquiat at Christie’s. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $32 MILLION

    The Italian Version of Popeye Has no Pork in His Diet, a lawn being sprinkled, a haunting portrait of a lover and muse, scientific literature and Irish and Mexican myth getting the surreal treatment all feature at the big art sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s in New York this month.

    The 20th/21st Century series at Christie’s and masterworks spanning more than a century of production at Sotheby’s underline the glorious diversity of Modern, Contemporary and Post-War Art and the boundary pushing art of now.

    Jean-Michel Basquiat’s arresting 1982 work The Italian Version of Popeye has no Pork in His Diet will be a highlight at Christie’s 21st Century evening sale on May 14.  Peppered with figures, numbers, shapes and crossed out words it mixes symbols, text and portraiture and is estimated to achieve around $30 million (€28.03 million). It is part of a series featuring tied together wooden supports on which a canvas has been mounted.

    In a market that is weaker than latter years Basquiat continues to exert strong pulling power. A highlight at Sotheby’s Contemporary Auction in New York on May 13 is one of the most significant paintings created jointly by Basquiat and  Andy Warhol during their famed period of collaboration from 1983 – 1985. “Andy would start one and put something very recognizable on it, or a product logo, and I would sort of deface it” Basquiat said once, while Warhol credited Basquiat with getting him into painting differently.  Untitled (1984), a large scale example of this collaborative series, is estimated in the region of $18 million (€16.82 million).

    David Hockney “A Lawn Being Sprinkled” 1967 Acrylic on canvas 60 x 60″ © David Hockney Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $28.6 MILLION.

    Now aged 86 David Hockney continues to make great art today (he says he does not feel his age when in the studio).  Hockney’s mesmerising A Lawn being Sprinkled at Christie’s dates to 1967 and is estimated at $25 million – $35 million (€23.36 million – €32.7 million). It is from the Los Angeles collection of legendary screenwriter, producer and activist Norman Lear and his wife Lyn Davis Lear.

    Portrait of George Dyer Crouching by Francis Bacon at Sotheby’s. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $27,735,000

    Francis Bacon’s Portrait of George Dyer Crouching at Sotheby’s Contemporary evening auction on May 13 dates to 1966 and is the first of a  cycle of ten monumental portraits of Dyer created between 1966 and 1968. It offers a haunting glimpse of Dyer – who died from a drugs and drink overdose in Paris two days before the opening of the Francis Bacon Retrospective at the Grand Palais in 1971 – both as hero and a figure of vulnerability.  The estimate is $30 million – $50 million (€28.03 million – €46.72 million).

    Les Distractions de Dagobert by Leonora Carrington at Sotheby’s. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $28,485,000

    Born in 1917 to an upper class Catholic family in rural north west England Leonora Carrington’s childhood was shaped on one hand by rigid social structures and on the other by magical myths from her Irish grandmother and nanny.  She returned often to Irish legends, especially in works like Les Distractions de Dagobert which is rife with Celtic imagery.  Following a rebellious youth, a brief sojourn with the Parisian Surrealist group and a harrowing flight from war torn Europe Carrington painted this tour de force at the age of 28. The  centrepiece at her first retrospective exhibition at the Pierre Matisse gallery in New York in 1948 it is at Sotheby’s Modern evening auction on May 15 with an estimate of  $12 million – $18 million.


    Thursday, April 4th, 2024

    Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian (Pieve di Cadore circa 1485/90-1576 Venice) – Rest on the Flight into Egypt. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £17,560,000, A NEW WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR TITIAN

    Titian’s early masterpiece Rest on the Flight into Egypt will headline Christie’s Old Masters Part I sale in London on July 2. Estimated at £15 million – £25 million it offers a very rare opportunity for buyers to become part of the next chapter in this fabled picture’s remarkable story. It is being offered by Lord Bath and the Longleat Trustees as part of their long term investment strategy and is one of the last religious works from the artist’s celebrated early years to remain in private hands. It has been owned by Dukes, Archdukes and Holy Roman Emperors, was looted by Napoleon’s troops in 1809 and stolen from Longleat in 1995. It was recovered seven years later in a carrier bag in greater London, minus the frame.


    Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024

    Claude Monet (1840-1926) – Moulin de Limetz

    Claude Monet’s Moulin de Limetz will be a highlight at Christie’s 20th  century evening sale in New York in May. The work is being offered by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the heirs of Ethel B. Atha and proceeds will benefit future art acquisitions for the Nelson-Atkins. Moulin de Limetz is one of only two canvases by Claude Monet picturing the subject of the mill at Limetz-Villez, near Giverny. Painted in 1888, this example presents a prologue to Monet’s development into series, which would become a defining tenet of his late career. Featuring dazzling kaleidoscopic light that reflects and sparkles off the gently flowing water and shimmers off the rustling foliage, Monet’s painterly achievement radiates color with depth and complexity through layers of thick, rich and sumptuous pigment. The estimate is $18-$25 million.


    Wednesday, March 27th, 2024

    A Rare Mughal Silk Rug, The Deccan, South India, Early 18th century of ‘Flower in Lattice’ design, (Estimate £120,000-160,000 | US$160,000-200,000

    This rare Mughal silk rug is among the highlights at Christie’s bi annual Spring sale of Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds including rugs and carpets in London on April 25. It was formerly in the collection of Senator William A. Clark in 1910, who gifted it to the Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington.  Works include paintings, ceramics, metal work, works on paper, arms, textiles and rugs and carpets from across the Islamic world, spanning the Silk Route linking China to the West dating from the 10th to the 20th centuries. There are over 100 rare and collectible rugs and carpets in the sale. Another highlight is a rare and complete illustrated manuscript copy of the Khamsa of Nizami (d.1209) together with the Khamsa of Amir Khusraw Dihlavi (d.1325). This splendid manuscript copy of the two Khamsas is an outstanding example of Safavid manuscript production in the first half of the 17th century. 

    A rare and complete illustrated manuscript copy of the Khamsa of Nizami (d.1209) together with the Khamsa of Amir Khusraw Dihlavi (d.1325) (Estimate £500,000-700,000 / US$640,000-890,000).