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    Friday, April 1st, 2011

    Franz Kline, Herald 1953-54 to be sold at Sotheby's, New York on May 9. The estimate is $2.5-$3.5 million. (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE $2,322,500

    Willem de Kooning, Event in a Barn Painted in 1947, to be sold at Sotheby's, New York on May 9. It is estimated at $5/7 million. (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE$4,562,500

    Work from the collection of  art dealer Allan Stone will be offered at Sotheby’s in New York in May.  The sale will be presented in two volumes on Monday, May 9, the night before Sotheby’s Contemporary art evening sale on May 10.

    Highlights of the first sale will comprise outstanding examples by the key artists represented and collected by Stone, including Willem de Kooning, John Chamberlain, Franz Kline and Joseph Cornell.  The second sale will be dedicated to the West Coast artist Wayne Thiebaud, whose work was first championed by Stone in New York more than forty-five years ago.

    The two sales are estimated to bring in more than $35 million.

    UPDATE: The two-part sale of The Collection of Allan Stone, brought a total of $54,805,500, well above the pre-sale high estimate of $46.8 million, and was 93% sold by lot. The auction was held 50 years after the founding of The Allan Stone Gallery and celebrated the artists represented and collected by this renowned New York dealer. The evening was led by John Chamberlain’s Nutcracker which sold for $4,786,500 and set a new record for the artist at auction. The sale was characterised by strong prices and global demand for U.S. West Coast artist Wayne Thiebaud


    Thursday, January 27th, 2011

    Titian's A Sacre Conversazione (click on image to enlarge)

    There was a new auction record for Venetian Renaissance master Titian at Sotheby’s in New York on January 27.  A Sacra Conversazione: The Madonna and Child with Saints Luke and Catherine of Alexandria sold for $16,882,500 to a European private collector.  The painting is also known as The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine.  The price paid exceeded the previous record of $13.6 million, which had held for 20 years.  A Sacra Conversazione is one of only a handful of multi-figured compositions by Titian that remain in private hands, and is the most important to appear at auction in decades.

    See post for November 2, 2010


    Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

    This Newport, Rhode Island bureau table made $5.6 million at Christie's, New York, a new world record. (click on image to enlarge) © Christie’s Images Limited 2011

    A $5.6 million bureau table and a $662,500 Federal side chair made new world auction records at Christie’s Americana Week 2011 in New York.  The Catherine Goddard Chippendale block and shell carved and figured mahogany bureau table c1765 is attributed to John Goddard (1724-1785), Newport, Rhode Island.  The desk bears all the unique characteristics that make Newport furniture of this era so highly prized by collectors. It had been estimated at $700,000-900,000.  The price paid of $5,682,500 represents a world auction record for the form.

    This chair made a new world auction record for a piece of Federal furniture. (click on image to enlarge). © Christie’s Images Limited 2011

    The Federal carved mahogany side chair, known as the Elias Hasket Derby chair, has carving attributed to Samuel McIntire (1757-1811) of Salem, Massachusetts. McIntire, one of the earliest architects in America, was influenced by the Palladian style and was skilled at furniture making and sculpture.  The chair had been estimated at $30,000-50,000.  The price paid represents a world auction record for a piece of Federal furniture.
    The combined total for Americana Week 2011 at Christie’s New York was $22,026,376/£13,784,788/€16,222,849, achieved through five sales from January 18 through 25.


    Friday, January 7th, 2011

    The Madonna and Child enthroned with Angels, flanked by St. Bridget and the Archangel Michael at Sotheby's in New York. (click to enlarge)

    SIGNIFICANT works by artists from across Europe feature at Sotheby’s Important Old Master Paintings & Sculpture sale in New York on January 27.  This sale features Titian’s Sacra Conversazione (see post for November 2) estimated at $15/$20 million.

    Among the works to be sold by the J. Paul Getty Museum to benefit future painting acquisitions is
    The Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels and Flanked by Saint Bridget and the Archangel Michael.  Erroneously known as “The Poggibonsi Triptych”  the work has been attributed to the as-yet-unidentified Master of Pratovecchio, who worked in and around Florence in the mid-15th century. It is estimated at $200/300,000.
    The afternoon session of Old Master Paintings and Sculpture is led by an Italian marble relief portrait of Cosimo I de ‘Medici by Baccio Bandinelli, executed just prior to the future Grand Duke’s rise to power in 1537.
    Luis Meléndez’s Still Life with Tomatoes, a Bowl of Aubergines and Onions leads the Spanish paintings.   It is estimated at $1.5/2 million.  A popular exhibition of 40 still lifes by Meléndez (1716-1780), organised in collaboration with the Prado Museum in Madrid, was held at the National Gallery of Ireland in the summer of 2004.


    Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

    Pieces from the Historic Charleston Association loan exhibition. (click to enlarge)

    Treasures ranging from an ancient Egyptian relief of Akhenaten through to the mid 20th century furniture by Gerald Summers and Gio Ponti are to be showcased in America’s most prestigious antiques show.
    The Winter Antiques Show in New York provides museums, collectors, dealers, design professionals and first- time buyers with opportunities to see and purchase exceptional pieces showcased by 74 exhibitors.  Located at the Park Avenue Armory, 67th Street and Park Avenue, New York  it runs from January 21-30, 2011. This Armory Show celebrates its 57th year in 2011 with newly joined specialists in 17th to 19th century American furniture and decorative arts, old master drawings and European sculpture, and Southeast Asian art.
    The 2011 loan exhibition of masterworks is presented by the Historic Charleston Foundation and highlights more than fifty objects. Important pieces from Historic Charleston Foundation’s two museum houses will be complemented with loans from The Charleston Museum, Drayton Hall, Gibbes Museum of Art/Carolina Art Association, and Middleton Place Foundation. These include some works on view for the first time.


    Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

    Eileen Gray painted wood brick screen made $842,000 at Christie's in New York.

    Estimated at $2/$3 million, this Eileen Gray armchair failed to sell in New York.

    An Eileen Gray painted wood brick screen from 1923 made $842,500 at Christie’s in New York on December 14.  This was within the  $700,000 – $1,000,000 estimate.  Christie’s described the piece, composed of 45 large and ten small white painted wood panels on steel rods, as: “defining the key point of transition between her early engagement with the luxury of lacquer and symbolist motifs and her subsequent commitment to Modernist ideals”.

    The screen was one of a pair presented by Miss Gray at the Salon des Artistes Déorateurs in 1923.  The other one is now at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.
    The ‘Sirène’ armchair, a lacquered painted and beech armchair by Eileen Gray which was estimated at $2/$3 million, failed to sell.  Bidding reached $1.7 million, at which point it was withdrawn.
    See post for December 3 on


    Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

    Sotheby’s November 9 evening sale of Contemporary Art in New York totaled $222,454,500, well ahead of the high estimate of $214 million. There were five new artist records. Highlights were Coca-Cola [4] Large Coca-Cola by Andy Warhol, which made $35,362,500 (estimate $20/25 million), and Mark Rothko’s Untitled from 1955, which made $22,482,500. Six works sold for more than $10 million and almost half the works sold achieved prices in excess of the high estimate. This was a very strong result for the market.


    Thursday, November 4th, 2010

    Matisse’s monumental bronze sculpture of a woman’s back made $48.8 million at Christie’s in New York on November 3 well above its $35 million high estimate.  This was a new record for the artist.

    It was bought by dealer Larry Gagosian for a client he did not name.

    The sale, strongest for quality items, brought $231.4 million against an estimate of $199 million to $287 million. Of the 84 works on offer, 67 sold.

    A 1913 Cublist painting by Juan Gris, “Violin and Guitar.” made $28.6 million, a record auction price.

    See posts on for October 5 and November 1.


    Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

    Abstract Expressionist New York, at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) until April 25, 2011, is drawn  entirely from the Museum’s vast holdings. Abstract Expressionist New York underscores the achievements of a generation that catapulted New York City to the center of the international art world during the 1950s, and left as its legacy some of the twentieth century’s greatest masterpieces. Galleries on the fourth floor present Abstract Expressionist paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, films, and archival materials in a display subtitled The Big Picture, marking the first time in the history of the new Museum building that a full floor has been devoted to a single theme.  In this video, Ann Temkin, MoMA curator, takes us through the context.


    Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

    Titian, A Sacra Conversazione to be sold at Sotheby's in New York in January 2011. (click on image to enlarge)

    A monumental Titian features at Sotheby’s sale of Important Old Master Paintings in New York on January 27, 2011.  A Sacra Conversazione:  The Madonna and Child with Saints Luke and Catherine of Alexandria is one of only a handful of multi-figured compositions by the Venetian Renaissance master in private hands. Painted circa 1560 this is a mature work from a time when Titian was being courted by monarchs and emperors.

    Historically referred to as ‘The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine’, the present canvas’s subject lies within the more traditional representation of a ‘sacra conversazione’, a holy conversation between the Madonna and Child and the saints.  There is a remarkable provenance.  In nearly 500 years it has only changed hands five times moving from one illustrious private European collection to another and rarely appearing in public at exhibition or at auction. It has not been seen in public since the late 1970’s and Sotheby’s say it is the most important Titian to appear at auction since 1991.
    It is estimated to sell for  $15/20 million.
    UPDATE:  IT sold for $16,882,500