Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

    20th christiesA strong total of £190,230,950 was achieved by Christie’s across seven sales from January 29 to February 12.  Registered bidders from 71 countries across six continents, gave a strong indication that a ‘globalisation’ of taste continues to drive the evolution of collecting today. The sell-through rate was 86% by value and 84% by lot. All of the top ten lots were sold at the Impressionist, Modern and Surreal evening sale which achieved a total of £117,788,500. The Post-War and Contemporary evening auction achieved £58,099,000. British painting led the results with three decades of work by Peter Doig, David Hockney, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud making stand out results – the top six results were for British artists.


    Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

    Francis Bacon (1909-1992) Study for a Portrait made £17,961,250. (Click on image to enlarge). Copyright Christie's.

    Study for a Portrait by Irish born Francis Bacon was the top lot at Christie’s Post War and Contemporary Art evening auction on June 28.  It made £17,961,250.  Bought by an anonymous telephone bidder it had been estimated to make around £11 million.

    The work was previously owned by Rodrigo Moynihan, a pioneer of abstract painting in the 1930’s, and the Irish artist Louis Le Brocquy.

    An untitled work by Damien Hirst executed in 1996 of butterflies and household gloss paint on canvas sold for £601,250.

    Damien Hirst (b. 1965) Untitled made £601,250 at Christie's. (Click on image to enlarge), Copyright Christie's Images.

    The sale realised £78,817,050. This was the second highest total for the category. A total of 19 lots sold for over £1 million (25 over $1 million). Buyers came from 16 different countries and the breakdown was 59% Europe including UK, 26% Americas and 15% Asia.  Artist records were set for Juan Muñoz, Ron Mueck, Paula Rego, Domenico Gnoli and Miquel Barceló, who set a record for any living Spanish artist.

    Red Boat (Imaginary Boys), 2003-04, by Peter Doig (b.1959) sold for £6,201,250; Faena de muleta, 1990, by Miquel Barceló (b.1957) sold for £3,961,250 and seven works from the collection of Kay Saatchi sold for a total of £3,992,750.

    See posts for June 27, May 24 and March 31.


    Monday, June 6th, 2011

    Not Far from Here by Melita Denaro is priced at £17,500 sterling. (Click on image to enlarge)

    Not Far from Here is the title of this work by the Irish artist Melita Denaro.  It is from an exhibition which charts the progress of her painting over the last four years.  The Tenderness of Attention is the largest survey of her work. In two parts it takes place at the galleries which represent the Irish artist, the John Martin Gallery, Albemarle St., London WI from June 3 to June 25 and  Taylor Galleries, Kildare St., Dublin from June 10 to July 2.

    All Denaro’s small studies are painted on location on the Isle of Doagh, an island on the Atlantic coast of Ireland. Her larger oil paintings are inspired by these smaller studies and are usually painted in London. Denaro was trained at Central School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools.
    The exhibition presents two sets of paintings that are arranged to tell a similar story. It sets out to capture something of the rhythm of her painting created in part by the demands of her working routine as an artist: the monthly journey from London to Donegal, and the necessity of making all her work from one single spot on the isle of Doagh. The catalogue arranges the paintings by the date of each visit to Donegal, from 2007 to the spring of 2011.


    Monday, February 7th, 2011

    Georges Braque (1882-1963) Nature morte à la guitare (rideaux rouge) signed and dated 'G.Braque 38' is estimated at £3.5-£5.5 million. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR £3.9 MILLION

    Hundreds of millions of pounds worth of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art will change hands in London this fortnight.  Two weeks of major art sales in London begin on  February 8.  It is anticipated that the market recovery will see more than £400m spent on art in the coming days

    Sotheby’s kick off with  with an evening sale of impressionist and modern art and continue into next week with contemporary works. Their 42-lot evening session is estimated at £55-£79 million.  This sale  includes the most expensive lot of the week, Picasso’s “La Lecture”. The high estimate of this portrait of his lover Marie-Thérèse dated 1932 is £18 million. Sotheby’s other evening sale, on Thursday, February 10, is a private collection estimated at £39-£55 million.
    At Christie’s there is an estimate of £73-£109 million for the the Impressionist and Modern  and the Art of the Surreal sales on February 9. This is the second highest pre-sale estimate for the February Impressionist sales at Christie’s in London. The highlight is Nature morte à “L’Espérance”, a still life painted by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) in 1901 while he was living in Tahiti. It is expected to realise £7-£10 million. (See for January 7) The sale includes four works to be sold by the Art Institute of Chicago (two Picasso’s, a Braque and a Matisse), and will feature the artists Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Fernand Léger.
    Self-portraits by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat will star in contemporary-art auctions in London set to raise at least 72.5 million pounds ($116 million).


    Monday, November 1st, 2010

    Christie’s expects to achieve more than $500 million in a series of sales in New York in the first fortnight of November.  A total of 850 works will be offered in Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary art in a spectacular line up of sales that includes museum quality works from the greatest artists.

    Auctions get underway with the evening sale of 85 works of Impressionist and Modern Art on Wednesday, November 3.  The global art market has exhibited depth and resilience.  Huge competition is expected for important works from masters including Juan Gris, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol  and Gerhard Richter.


    Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
    Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary art evening sale in New York on November 10 includes acclaimed masterpieces by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons and Mark Rothko as well as one of the finest examples from Gerhard Richter’s revered Candle Paintings Series. Christie’s will sell  the major estates on offer this season —the collections of computing pioneer Max Palevsky, actor Dennis Hopper, gallerist and taste-maker Robert Shapazian and philanthropic art collector Nancy Epstein. This auction is estimated to realize upwards of $240 million.
    “This sale contains the high quality, rarity and provenance that creates fireworks at auction,”  Robert Manley of Christie’s New York remarked.
    “Collectors are vying for the best works by the major artists of the last sixty years and Christie’s evening sale is loaded with museum masterpieces.”


    Sunday, October 17th, 2010

    Andy Warhol’s Dollar Sign. (click to enlarge)

    The Sotheby’s October sales series of 20th Century Italian Art and Contemporary Art brought in  £40.1 million, far surpassing the total for Sotheby’s equivalent sales series in October 2009 of £20 million.   The  sale of six paintings from the Jerry Hall Collection of art brought in £2,489,775, and exceeded pre-sale expectations of £1.5 million.

    Andy Warhol’s Dollar Sign was gifted by the artist to Jerry Hall in recognition of her help with the production of his television show, Warhol TV.  It  sold  for £217,250, far above its high estimate of £120,000-150,000


    Thursday, October 14th, 2010
    The Christie’s evening auctions of Post-War and Contemporary Art and The Italian Sale in London on October 14 realised a combined total of £38,213,050 / €43,371,811. The top price was paid for Cavaliere by Marino Marini (1901-1980) which led record-breaking Italian Sale.   It made £4,465,250 /€5,068,059, a world record price for the artist at auction. In total, 6 lots sold for over £1 million and 18 for over $1 million.
    An epic butterfly painting by Damien Hirst – I am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds – made £2,169,250 /€2,462,099, the top price in the post war and contemporary sale.  It had been estimated at £2.5 million to £3.5 million. In this sale 40% of lots sold above estimate and record auction prices were established for Ged Quinn, Kelley Walker, Otto Piene, Roman Opalka and Liza Lou.
    The corresponding auctions in October 2009 realised a combined total of £17 million, with 3 works selling for over £1 million and 5 for over $1 million.
    Francis Outred, International Director and Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe: ‘This is an exciting week in London as art lovers from around the world congregate in London for the events and sales surrounding Frieze. We have welcomed thousands of people through our doors for our exhibitions of modern and contemporary art this week, which have included the works offered this evening as well as highlights from New York. The buzz surrounding this week was evident in the saleroom which had a great atmosphere and which gathered a packed crowd, including many collectors new to Christie’s.”


    Monday, October 11th, 2010
    Sotheby’s will offer Francis Bacon’s Figure In Movement in New York in November.  This is the most significant Bacon painting to appear at auction in several seasons. The 1985 portrait of a man twisting and writhing, demonstrates the artist’s genius in painting the human figure in motion.  It was given by Bacon to his doctor in the year it was painted.
    Figure In Movement has been in the same collection ever since. It featured in the 2008 landmark exhibition Francis Bacon: A Centenary Retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which began at Tate Britain. It was also shown at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. The painting has been on extended loan to Tate Britain for the past decade.  It comes up at Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Contemporary Art on November 9, 2010 in New York.  It is estimated to sell for $7/10 million.
    UPDATE:  It sold for $14,082,500 including buyer’s premium.