Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

    Gauguin's Crouching Tahitan Woman (click on image to enlarge)

    There was a new world auction record for a print by Paul Gauguin at Sotheby’s in London today.  Gauguin’s Crouching Tahitian Woman Seen From The Back sold for £577,250, more than three times the low estimate of £180,000.
    The traced monotype, or ‘printed drawing’, was fiercely contested by a number of determined bidders, finally selling to a private collector on the telephone after a five-minute battle.
    Ten prints by Gauguin from the Collection of Stanley J. Seeger, sold for £1.54 million, almost four times the pre-sale low estimate for the group.
    A pair of woodcuts by Albrecht Durer who is widely considered the greatest artist of the Northern RenaissanceA Map of the Northern Sky and A Map of the Southern Sky, sold for £361,250.
    See post for March 22.


    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


    Monday, December 20th, 2010
    THE Season to be Merry extended year round in some quarters.  Sotheby’s wine auctions in 2010 brought an overall global total of US$88,270,602.  This is more than double the figure for 2009 and the highest in the company’s forty years of wine auctions. There was extraordinary demand from Asian collectors with every bottle offered in eight Hong Kong auctions finding a buyer and major Asian participation in London and Hong Kong sales.  Globally 99% of wine lots found buyers, and all 23 auctions exceeded the high estimate.
    The Asian sales were led by the two auctions of wine direct from the Châteaux – Cheval Blanc, Yquem and Dom Pérignon which fetched $2.6 million in May and Lafite Ex Cellars which brought $8.3 million in October.
    There was a new record for a single standard sized bottle at the Ex Cellars sale when a bottle of Château Lafite 1869 sold for $232,692.
    Sotheby’s will offer the Andrew Lloyd Webber Wine Collection in Hong Kong on January 22 next.


    Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

    The Harrington Commode made a new world record for a piece of English furniture at auction. (click to enlarge)

    THE Harrington Commode, dating to circa 1770, made a new record for a piece of English furniture at auction at Sotheby’s in London on December 8.  It sold for £3,793,250 over an estimate of £600,000-£1 million. The serpentine commode was almost certainly crafted by Thomas Chippendale.

    It exceeded the previous world record for any piece of English furniture at auction by over £1 million.  Sotheby’s said it set an exciting new benchmark for English furniture.  The George III commode, previously housed at Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire, was sold by order of the Trustees of the 10th Earl of Harrington’s Will Trust. Lord Harrington had extensive Irish estates.  His son, the 11th Earl, who died in 2009, was an Irish citizen and successful horse breeder who maintained studs in Ireland.  He had links to the Royal Family through the marriage of his grand-daughter, Serena Stanhope to the furniture maker Viscount Linley, son of the late Princess Margaret and nephew of Queen Elizabeth.
    The Harrington Commode was part of an Important Furniture, Ceramics, Clocks, Silver & Vertu sale which made £6,216,750. Henry House, Head of English Furniture at Sotheby’s, commented: “This remarkable commode which is outstandingly beautiful in both form and condition, was keenly contested by five bidders, the final price demonstrating true demand in the market for items of real quality, and I feel is justly deserved for an item that has been an honour to sell.”
    The previous world record for a piece of English furniture at auction belonged to a George II Parcel-Gilt Padouk Cabinet-on-Stand attributed to Thomas Chippendale, 1755-1760, which sold for £2,729,250 at Christies in June 2008.


    Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

    This rare pink diamond sold for 33.7 million euro at Sotheby's in Geneva. (click on image to enlarge)

    A rare pink diamond broke auction records when it made 33.7 million euro at Sotheby’s in Geneva on November 16.  The buyer was London diamond dealer Laurence Graff.

    Sotheby’s had said in advance that the market for coloured diamonds is extremely strong.  They are the most sought after gemstones in the world’s auction rooms today.

    This one is an exceptionally rare 24.78 carat fancy intense pink diamond of the purest hue.  It had been purchased directly from Mr. Harry Winston 60 years ago and has not been on the open market since.

    Sotheby’s had estimated the stone at $27-38 million Swiss Francs or about 20-25 million euro.  Demand for rare gems as wealth that is portable has pushed up prices.

    See post on for October 4


    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.


    Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

    Modigliani's La Belle Romaine made 68.9 million dollars at Sotheby's, a new record for the artist. (click on image to enlarge)

    Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu assis sur un divan (La Belle Romaine)  made $68,962,500 at Sotheby’s.  This is a new world record.  It was achieved at the sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York on November 2. The sale brought in  $227.6 million (€162 million).  This was within the pre-sale estimate of $195/266 million.

    The sale was led by Modigliani’s Nu assis sur un divan. This new record for Modigliani was over over four times the price realized when it was sold at Sotheby’s in 1999 for a then record $16.8 million. There was bidding from all over the world, including Asia, Europe, Russia and the United States.  It was chased by five different bidders and there were multiple bidders on most of the major lots.

    Four works were sold for more than $15 million and 38 sold for over $1 million.

    Le Bassin aux Nymphéa from Claude Monet’s water lilies series made $24,722,500 and Jeanne Hébuterne, one of the first portraits Amedeo Modigliani painted of his great love, sold for $19,122,500.  Both paintings were sold to benefit YoungArts, the Core Program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.