Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Monday, April 8th, 2024

    An assemblage portrait of Tony Bennett by David Hockey.

    He might have left his heart in San Francisco but millions of people everywhere took singer Tony Bennett to their own hearts. His extraordinary life and career will be celebrated at a live and online sale by Julien’s Auctions in New York at Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame in Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 18 and 19.  With everything from a 1965 letter of appreciation from Martin Luther King (for his performance at the 1965 Selma march) to acclaimed original sketches and signed sheet music duets the sale tracks how his life mirrored American cultural, social and political history over many decades.

    There is an assemblage portrait of Bennett by David Hockney, art by Willem de Kooning and LeRoy Neiman, a sketch by Tony Bennett of Princess Grace signed by her and letters from Presidents Ford, Carter, Clinton and Bush, Martin Scorsese, Madonna, Elton John, Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand, Al Pacino  are testament to how much he was loved.

    In 2007 he was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame for his lifelong activism and work in social justice. He won 20 Grammys, recorded more than 70 albums and sold 50 million records. He recorded with K.D. Lang, Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel and next generation superstars like Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga. He scored three Guinness Book of Records entries, for the oldest performer to reach No. I, the longest time between the release of a recording and the re-recording of the same single by the same artist and for being the oldest person to release a new album. Tony Bennett died aged 96 last July.

    A sketch by Tony Bennett of Princess Grace signed by Grace


    Monday, February 5th, 2024
    Gangsta Rat Live by Banksy. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $190,500

    Gangsta Rat Live by Banksy, an aerosol on a metal door mounted in an acrylic shadow box frame, will lead Julien’s Power of Street Art auction in Los Angeles on February 15.  It was originally executed on a British Telecom street box in Liverpool in 2004 during the Biennial contemporary art festival and documented by Banksy.  It comes to market with an estimate of $80,000-$100,000 (€73,640-€92,050).The sale is a curated collection of some of the most revolutionary street art created in the shadows, streets and walls of urban spaces.  Among the artists featured are Banksy, Invader, RETNA, Jamie Reid, Billy Morrison, Louis Waldon, Jeff Hamilton and Jorge Jimenez-Deredia.  Turf Wars, Police Van Chimp and Crazy Horse, both by Banksy, are each estimated at $100,000-$200,000 (€92,050-€184,100).  There are five works by famed French street artist Invader including PA _595 attached to a wall in Paris in 2005 $8,000-$12,000 (€7,360-€11,050).  A Jamie Reid signed Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK limited edition print is estimated at $1,000-$2,000 (€920-€1,840).

    UPDATE: Iconic masterpieces from two of the art world’s revolutionary enfants terribles and superstars, Banksy and Invader, were the top sellers at an auction netting a total of nearly $900,000.

    Jamie Reid signed Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK print. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Saturday, January 13th, 2024
    An interior shot of Palazzo Volpi in Venice with contents to be sold by Sotheby’s in Paris.

    Art mirrors life and the life it is currently mirroring is one of censorship and intolerable attacks on freedom of expression.  The art world has not been immune as  the Israeli-Hamas war has spawned a new wave of hidden and not so hidden persuaders who move to stifle anything other than total support for hardliners against humanity. Against this background of global uncertainty there is a pipeline of interesting international sales coming up in 2024.  On offer already are a variety of covetable lots as diverse as the contents of a sumptuous Venetian palace on the Grand Canal to Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Archive to a Royal portrait by Velazquez and property from the life and career of Marilyn Monroe.  We must assume that all this will be okay once there is nothing in these auctions – such as seeking a ceasefire in Gaza – that can be construed as anti-semitic.

    A pair of stools or tabourets delivered to the Empress Josephine at Christie’s in New York

    Sotheby’s will offer 200 lots from Palazzo Volpi in Venice at an auction in Paris on February 28. The collection will include palatial Roman tables, ballroom banquettes, art panels in the style of Jacopo Sansovino, Wagner sofas and Venetian mirrors. Julien’s will offer contents from the Playboy archives and from Marilyn Monroe at a three day sale in Los Angeles on March 28, 29 and 30.  Highlights will include a Playboy Bunny silkscreen by Andy Warhol and a black and cellophane effect evening gown worn by Monroe in The Seven Year Itch.  The Velazquez portrait of Isabel de Borbon is at Sotheby’s in New York on February 1.

    A black and cellophane effect evening gown worn by Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch at Julien’s

    Elvis Presley’s Gretsch guitar from his Las Vegas residency is among the lots at Christie’s Exceptional Sale in New York on the same day along with a pair of c1800 tabourets or stools delivered to the Empress Josephine at Chateau de St. Cloud.

    It has the potential to be an exciting year with many records being broken at home and abroad.  Yet in 2024 there are well founded accusations of censorship in an art world that has never been noted for its lack of freedom of expression.  In New York board members and many art writers withdrew in protest after the editor of the prestigious Artforum magazine, David Valasco, was abruptly fired when a letter supporting Palestinian liberation was published which omitted to mention the victims of the Hamas attack on October 7.  Advertisers like gallerist David Zwirner and the Chanel culture fund threatened to withdraw.The Saarland Museum in Germany cancelled an exhibition by Candice Breitz, who is Jewish and has condemned Hamas, saying they would not show works by anyone who does not recognise Hamas terror as a rupture of civilisation.  The entire selection panel for the next curator of Documenta, a global art exhibition in 2027, resigned after disputes with administrators about the war. This mirrors the wider environment.  Think of resignations like that of Harvard President Claudine Gay in a campaign led by the Wall Street Jewish financier Bill Ackman whose wife is a former member of the IDF. You do not need to be a soothsayer to know there will be more resignations. UPDATE: The first American retrospective of Samia Halaby (87), regarded as one of the most important living Palestinian artists, has been cancelled by officials at Indiana University.

    Andy Warhol’s original Playboy Bunny at Julien’s.


    Monday, December 18th, 2023
    Princess Diana’s Jacques Azagury 1985 Ballerina-Length Evening Dress Sold for $1,148,080 (11X Estimate), New World Record for Most Expensive Dress Worn by Princess Diana Sold at Auction (Photo credit Alamy).

    A beautiful, romantic ballerina-length evening dress designed by Moroccan-British fashion designer Jacques Azagury made a new world record for a dress worn by Princess Diana when it sold $1.1 million, eleven times the low estimate, at Julien’s and TCM’s Hollywood Legends sale. The most successful Hollywood memorabilia sale in Julien’s 20 year history brought in more than $7 million. There was 16,351 registered bids from bidders across the globe from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Italy, Hong Kong, Israel, The Netherlands, Ireland, Austria, Finland, Uruguay, South Korea, New Zealand and Switzerland. They took part in the Los Angeles sale live, online and on the phone. Pictured here is the Princess of Wales wearing the Azagury dress in Florence, Italy in April 1985. With padded shoulders it features a black velvet bodice with embroidered stars in metallic thread made from Jakob Schlaepher fabric with a two-tier royal blue organza skirt with a sash and bow. A blush pink chiffon Emanuels blouse worn in her famous 1981 engagement portrait sold for $381,000.


    Sunday, September 3rd, 2023

    This 1954 oil painting of the American jazz musician Miles Davis by James Dean – who died in a car accident the following year – will come up at Julien’s Hollywood Legends sale on September 6, 7 and 8. It is from a collection of more than 300 lots from the career collection of Easy Rider star Denis Hopper as actor, director and artist. There are only four known paintings by James Dean, the iconic star of classic films like East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant.   This one is estimated at $10,000-$20,000 (€9,178-€18,356).  Hopper’s collection includes a vintage three piece outfit worn by Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas. They met on the set of his 1971 film The Last Movie and married soon after in a union that lasted only eight days.


    Sunday, August 13th, 2023
     Handwritten manuscript working  lyrics to We are the Champions. UPDATE: THESE SOLD FOR £317,500

    Freddie Mercury’s baby grand, the matched wedding rings of Bogie and  Bacall, a first edition of The Great Gatsby from the collection of Charlie Watts and Sir Roger Moore’s Lamborghini skis are among an extraordinary collection of celebrity stuff soon to come up at blockbuster sales in London and Hollywood. Collectibles like these are big business.  With fans everywhere and global auction access online the business is growing exponentially.

    A c1905 Art Nouveau glass vase lamp from the collection of Freddie Mercury. UPDATE: THIS MADE £22,860

    Right now every inch of Sotheby’s 16,000  gallery space at New Bond St. in London is given over to a free exhibition of the world of Freddie Mercury in advance of three auctions on September 6, 7 and 8.  Online Mercury sales already underway will run to September 11, 12 and 13.  On offer are costumes, hand written lyrics, drawings, furniture, decorative and fine art that were part of his life at his London home, Garden Lodge in Kensington.The centre piece of the exhibition is his treasured Yamaha G2 Baby Grand.  More than a decade of hits, from Bohemian Rhapsody to Barcelona, were composed on this treasured piano.  Always kept in pristine condition it is estimated at £2 million – £3 million.  There are handwritten working lyrics for Bohemian Rhapsody, Don’t Stop Me Now and Somebody to Love, costumes relating to promotional videos including a two piece stage outfit comprising catsuit and bolero of ivory satin with winged wrists and lower legs inspired by the God Mercury.

     Henri Matisse – Masque Blanc sur Fond Noir from the collection of Freddie Mercury. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £30,480

    Freddie Mercury was a discriminating collector who loved going to auctions.  In 1980 he acquired Garden Lodge, a Georgian style brick villa, and set about creating a home that was both grand and intimate, richly furnished and entirely of his own making. The auction will include art by Matisse, James Tissot, Picasso and Utagawa Hiroshige, Victorian paintings and works on paper, the finest examples of the glass makers art, exceptional fabrics and fine works collected on trips to Japan.  All are on view at Sotheby’s in an exhibition that will close on September 5, the day that would have been Freddie Mercury’s 77th birthday.

    The matching 14 carat gold wedding rings exchanged by Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in May 1945 at Julien’s. UPDATE: THESE SOLD FOR $190,500

    Iconic objects from some of Hollywood’s greatest legends will come up at a sale by Turner Classic Movies and Julien’s Auctions on September 6, 7 and 8.  There is everything from dresses worn by Princess Diana and Audrey Hepburn to a slave costume worn by Princess Leia in Star Wars, Captain Kirk’s Star Fleet command jacket and the 1945 wedding rings of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. James Bond, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Back to the Future and Batman will all feature in a sale celebrating 100 years of Warner Brothers.

    A library of First Edition classics and landmarks from the world of jazz will come up at Christie’s sale of the collection of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts (1941-2021).  The sale is led by a first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby inscribed by the author to the original Gatsby of the story. There are iconic works of detective fiction by Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle alongside the best of English and American literature of the 20th century. Charlie Watts: Gentleman, Collector, Rolling Stone will take place in London on September 28.  An online sale will run from September 15-29.  Meantime Bonhams will offer 180 lots from the personal collection of Bond actor and UNICEF ambassador Sir Roger Moore (1927-2017) in London on October 4.  This marks the 50th anniversary year of his first appearance as 007.  There is Bond memorabilia like dinner suits and jackets, collectibles like a Hollywood Walk of Fame plaque and personal items like silk ties and cravats along with a pair of his Lamborghini skis.


    Tuesday, August 1st, 2023
    Audrey Hepburn’s flamingo pink embellished silk-organza Givenchy dress from her iconic role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $444,500

    Legends: Hollywood and Royalty is hardly an understated title for Julien’s auction celebrating 100 years of Warner Brothers in Beverly Hills on September 6, 7 and 8. The greatest legends of the silver screen will feature alongside evening gowns worn by Princess Diana. Among more than 1,400 lots are matching wedding rings from Bogie and Bacall, Princess Leia’s slave costume from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, a Captain Kirk Starfleet command jacket from from Star Trek, over a dozen Harry Potter prop wands, Blade Runner props from Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, a Back to the Future hoverboard prop and an array of spectacular one of a kind production artefacts. Hebburn’s dress illustrated here is estimated at $200,000-$400,000.


    Wednesday, June 21st, 2023
    A set of five Lemon & Son brand sterling silver engraved Kentucky Derby jockey trophies won by legendary horse jockey Bill Hartack. UPDATE: THESE SOLD FOR $317,500

    An exceptional lineup of nearly 900 sports artefacts will come up at Julien’s live and online sports legends sale in Beverly Hills on June 23, 24 and 25. Lots on offer span the worlds of basketball, soccer, baseball, hockey, football, tennis, golf, the Olympics and beyond from sports legends like Pelé, Kobe Bryant, Floyd Mayweather, Diego Maradona, Babe Ruth and Rafael Nadal. Historic items of exceptional provenance from the greatest basketball player of all time Michael Jordan will be offered to benefit the James R. Jordan Foundation International, including the Michael Jordan signed and worn commemorative 1992 “Dream Team” USA jersey ($400,000-$600,000) and his 1982 commemorative signed North Carolina Tar Heels training jersey ($80,000-$100,000). The James R. Jordan Foundation International provides a pathway out of poverty by empowering youth and strengthening families through education and partnerships so they can become successful human beings and productive contributors to society. The Bill Hartack trophies illustrated here come up as lot 828 with an estimate of $300,000-$500,000.


    Wednesday, April 5th, 2023

    The custom-made white suit worn by John Travolta in his Academy Award nominated role as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever comes up at Julien’s Auctions in Hollywood this month. Julien’s and Turner Classic Movies will offer a collection of over 1,400 iconic items from more than 100 years of pop culture history in “Hollywood: Classic & Contemporary”, on April 22 and 23 in Beverly Hills and online. “From John Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever suit to Indiana Jones’ machete to a rare headdress from the lost 1917 Cleopatra film to the largest collection of Harry Potter wands, this auction honors Hollywood’s greatest artistic achievements across all eras and genres and offers something for every fan and collector” Martin Nolan of Julien’s said.


    Friday, March 31st, 2023
    Banksy – Brace Yuorself!

    A large-scale painting of a grim reaper figure riding in a carnival bumper car by Banksy entitled “Brace Yourself!” sold for $2,032,000 – over three times its original estimate of $600,000 – at Julien’s Auctions in Hollywood. It was the first time the work came to auction. The buyer was Miguel Garcia Larios, owner of vintage specialist RCNSTRCT Studio in Hollywhood. Banksy created the artwork in 2010 for a local British band known as “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” who shared the same name the artist wanted to use for his about to be released 2010 directorial debut film. To avoid any copyright issues, the band agreed to Banksy’s offer to create a unique painting for the group if they were to change their name to “Brace Yourself!” According to the original email correspondence, Banksy humorously offered to paint a smiley face on Death if the band felt the imagery was too dark. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will benefit MusiCares® the music charity.