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    Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

    Francis Bacon Study for A Portrait, 1953. (click on image to enlarge)

    A painting by Francis Bacon (1909-1992) once owned by his friend Louis le Brocquy could make £11 million at Christie’s.  Study for a Portrait, 1953 will be a highlight of Christie’s Post War and Contemporary Art sale in London on June 28.

    It has previously been owned by two of Francis Bacon’s contemporaries: Rodrigo Moynihan, a pioneer of abstract painting in the 1930’s who was Professor of Painting at the Royal College of Art and le Brocquy.
    This was one of the last paintings Bacon made in his studio at the Royal College of Art rented from Rodrigo Moynihan from 1951 to 1953.  He created some of his greatest landmark works here including the definitive series of Popes and his first portrait triptych.
    Le Brocquy acquired the painting from Moynihan.  The Irish artist in turn sold it to Marlborough Fine Art.  Never sold at auction, it has been in private hands since. In 1984 it was bought from Marlborough by the Swiss entrepreneur and wine producer Donald M Hess, one of the world’s top art collectors.
    Francis Bacon’s work is among the most popular 20th century art sold at auction. His Three Studies for Self Portrait, 1974 made $25,282,500 / £15,422,325 at Christie’s New York earlier this month.  Another Bacon, Untitled (Crouching Nude on Rail), 1952, made $9,602,500 / £5,857,525 at the same sale.
    UPDATE:  IT made £17,961,250


    Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

    A portrait by John Singleton Copley of Alice Hooper. (click to enlarge)

    THIS portrait  by John Singleton Copley promises to be one of the highlights of the Winter Antiques Show in New York.  In 2011 the show celebrates its 57th year as America’s most prestigious antiques show, providing museums, established collectors, dealers, design professionals and first time buyers with opportunities to see and purchase exceptional pieces showcased by 74 exhibitors.

    Copley, whose parents were Irish, is famous for his portraits in colonial New England.  He is considered the most influential painter in colonial America and made this portrait of Alice Hooper in 1763 when he was just 25.  Later on, in Britain, he continued to paint portraits, developed contemporary history painting and was one of the pioneers of the private exhibition.  His father, Richard, came from Limerick, his mother Mary was a Singleton from Co. Clare. Boston’s Copley Square and Copley Plaza bear his name. This portrait will be shown by Hirschl & Adler Galleries.

    Shiva Adhikaranandi. (click to enlarge)

    A copper alloy figure of Shiva Adhikaranandi from Tamil Nadu in India is another highlight.  It is from new exhibitors Carlton Rochell Asian Art, which was established in New York in 2002.   With Brahma and Vishnu, Shiva, the destroyer, is one of the three most important deities of the Hindu pantheon.  Typical images depict Shiva with a bovine head. Those in which he has a human head are rarer. This one was made during the Chola dynasty, a period considered to be the zenith of bronze sculpture production in India.  The Winter Antiques Show runs from January 21-30 at the Park Avenue Armory at 67th in Manhattan.
    See post on for December 21


    Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

    Horace Hone's miniature of Mrs. Siddons

    A portrait miniature by the Irish artist Horace Hone of Sarah Siddons the best known tragedienne of the 18th century will be offered by Bonhams in the Fine Portrait Miniature sale taking place in Knightsbridge on November 24. The portrait miniature by Horace Hone (1756-1825) was painted at the height of her career on Drury Lane. A member of the famous Dublin family of artists Horace Hone received his early training from his father Nathaniel Hone the Elder.

    According to Bonhams this miniature can be compared with another portrait by Hone of the previous year now in the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland. Painted during Siddons’ second visit to Dublin, it is one of the earliest known portraits of the tragic actress and one of the most recognisable, having subsequently been engraved by Francesco Bartolozzi. The Mrs. Siddons portrait is estimated to make £6,000 – 8,000.

    UPDATE:  It sold for £12,600.