Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Thursday, April 30th, 2015

    The response to the date change has resulted in the strongest line up of exhibitors for some time at the Olympia International Art and Antiques Fair in London in June.  It  will run at later dates from June 18-28 this year.  Coinciding with a host of other cultural events it creates a global focus in London for art, antiques and design. The loan exhibition from American philanthropist Rex Sinquefield will include works by great American Midwest artists Thomas Hart Benton, Joe Jones, Grant Wood, John Rogers Cox, John Atherton, John Steuart Curry and George Joe Mess. Here is a taste of what will be on offer.

    Life size portrait of Madame de Pompadour at Nicholas Price Fine Art.

    Life size portrait of Madame de Pompadour at Nicholas Price Fine Art.

    A George III Hepplewhite writing cabinet at Freshfords

    A George III Hepplewhite writing cabinet at Freshfords

    A freestanding three seater sofa with oak frame at Omnipod.

    A freestanding three seater sofa with oak frame at Omnipod.

    A Regency mahogany long stool c1820 at Anthony Fell.

    A Regency mahogany long stool c1820 at Anthony Fell.

    Gubelin gold and lapis lazuli bracelet at Van Kranendonk Duffels.

    Gubelin gold and lapis lazuli bracelet at Van Kranendonk Duffels.


    Thursday, June 30th, 2011

    THE discriminating (and wealthy) collector can acquire anything from a World War II Spitfire fighter plane to the fourth bible ever printed at the Masterpiece London Fair.  Collectors of Irish pieces have plenty to choose from.  Masterpiece is at the South Grounds, Royal Hospital, Chelsea until July 5.

    Masterpiece was launched in 2010 to fill the gap left by the Grosvenor House Fair. It is a showcase for top quality antiques, art and luxury goods.  The World War II Spitfire, the only surviving fighter used by the RAF in World War II, is a cool £8 million, the bible from 1462 a mere £1 million.

    The eye of landed on some great rarities.  Here is a selection.

    This George II giltwood mirror c1750 by John Booker of Dublin is distinguished by its scale. It measures eight feet by fifty five and a quarter inches. The asking price? £320,000.

    The wonderful patina of this mid 18th century Irish hunt table shows all the signs of centuries of use. It is 79 inches long and asking £38,000.


    Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

    The scene at Sotheby's contemporary evening sale.

    Sotheby’s evening Contemporary Art sale on June 29 brought in £108,803,550 the highest total ever for such a sale in London.  Francis Bacon’s Crouching Nude from 1961 was the top selling lot.  It made  £8,329,250.

    The Duerckheim Collection of contemporary German art, which comprised the first 34 lots, realised £60,401,650.  Almost every lot here was contested by multiple bidders. New artist records were established for Blinky Palermo, Sigmar Polke, Eugen Schönebeck, Markus Lüpertz and Georg Baselitz.
    Andy Warhol’s electric pink acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas of Blondie’s lead singer Debbie Harry – the only major painting of renowned lead singer of the new wave and punk rock band ever to come to auction – sold for £3,737,250/ against an estimate of £3.5-5.5 million.  An early Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, Untitled, made £5,417,250 to become the second highest priced lot.
    Headlining the Duerckheim collection were a number of paintings by Sigmar Polke. His record was broken three times in quick succession.  Dschungel, the largest of the Rasterbilder (dot paintings) from the 1960s ever to appear for public sale, made £5,753,250.  A new record was set for Georg Baselitz when Spekulatius from the celebrated ‘Hero’ series sold for £3,233,250. Baselitz’s Grosse Nacht made £2,393,250.  There was exceptional prices for Gerhard Richter whose 1024 Farben from 1974 more than doubled its pre-sale high estimate to make £4,297,250. Buyers from 14 countries took part in an auction which was 89.8% sold by lot and 93.9% by value.  No less than 29 works sold for over £1 million, and 45 lots made over $1 million.
    See posts for April 26 and June 7.


    Monday, June 27th, 2011

    Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Mao, signed and dated 'Andy Warhol 73', is estimated at £6-8 million. (Click on image to enlarge). Copyright Christie's Images. UPDATE: IT MADE £6,985,250

    Andy Warhol’s Mao is one of a number of highlights of Christie’s Post War and Contemporary art evening auction in London on June 28.  The sale of 67 works is expected to realised a combined total of £55.8-77.6 milion.

    The iconic large scale Mao (1973) was shown at the first exhibition of Mao paintings at Musée Galliera, Paris in 1974.  Other highlights are Warhol’s vivid emerald green Little Electric Chair (1964), Miquel Barceló’s Faena de muleta (1990), the largest and most important example of the artist’s celebrated bullfight paintings ever to come to auction and Juan Muñoz’s Esquina positiva (1992), first unveiled to great acclaim at the landmark Documenta IV in Kassel in 1992, which launched the artist’s international career.
    Francis Outred, European Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, said: “At a time when the global art world unites to celebrate the Venice Biennale, Christie’s is delighted to bring together works from 14 countries for this June’s Post War and Contemporary Art auction. At the heart of the forthcoming season is one of the finest groups of British Art ever to be assembled at auction, spanning from the early 1940s to the present day. Looking across the generations, one begins to see continuities between the inky-blue washes of paint in Francis Bacon’s landmark Study for a Portrait (1953) and Peter Doig’s liquid application of the medium in Red Boat (Imaginary Boys) (2003-04), undoubtedly one of his best paintings this century. Indeed the drive to depict real, physical presence is equally apparent in Lucian Freud’s pivotal painting Woman Smiling (1958-59) as in Ron Mueck’s mesmerising, hyper-real Big Baby (1996). Assembled from a variety of collections including that of Kay Saatchi, we are delighted to have brought together such a cohesive group of masterworks.”
    UPDATE: IT MADE £6,985,250
    See post for March 31.


    Saturday, February 19th, 2011
    THE recovery in art market prices continued over the London selling season in February.  According to our calculations Sotheby’s and Christie’s sold £423.6 million worth of Impressionist, Modern, Contemporary, Post-War and Surreal art over the past fortnight.
    Aided by an incredible private owner sale entitled Looking Closely, with 60 works by some of the greatest of all modern and contemporary masters, Sotheby’s led with a sales total of  £242,109,075. This is the second highest total for any sales season ever held at Sotheby’s in London.  Their sales featured property from 39 countries and attracted buyers from 47 countries spanning 5 continents.  The total at Christie’s series of sales amounted to £181.5 million.
    These results support a growing view that the international recovery in art market prices can be sustained.


    Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

    A horseman enters a town at night by Jack B. Yeats, owned by the novelist Graham Greene, will feature at Christie's sale of British and Irish art in London on November 11. UPDATE: IT MADE £349,250 AND WAS SOLD TO A EUROPEAN PRIVATE BUYER.

    The Christie’s sale of British and Irish art at King St. in London on November 11 features two works

    Man in a room thinking by Jack B. Yeats from the Christie's sale in London on November 11. UPDATE: IT MADE 77,560 Euro

    by Jack B. Yeats from the collection of the novelist Graham Greene. The estimate for A horseman enters a town at night is, at £300,00-£500,000, perhaps a little on the ambitious side.  It is a dark work painted in 1948, the year after the death of the artists wife Cottie.  A horseman enters a town at night shows a weary traveller, slumped on his steed, walking through an empty street perhaps in search of an inn before continuing his journey in the morning. It was sold through Leo Smith in 1949 to Graham Greene in Paris.

    The second Yeats work in the sale, Man in a Room Thinking, dates from 1947. It is estimated at £30,000-£50,000.  According to a note in Christie’s catalogue the Model Museum, Sligo, requests that the purchaser of this work allow its inclusion in a major exhibition of the artist’s work to take place between February and April 2011.

    The 143 lot sale, headlined by works by L.S. Lowry, a much loved British artist whose parents were Irish, features works by Augustus John, William Scott, Sean Scully, Markey Robinson, Sir John Lavery and George Campbell.

    The sale realised £9,897,625 and was 93% sold by value and 79% sold by lot.  The top lot was a 1928 work by L.S. Lowry which realised £713,250.


    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.”