Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Thursday, August 4th, 2011

    Venetian Guardi achieved an Old Master record. (click on image to enlarge)

    SOTHEBY’S in New York has just announced their best quarter in the company’s history.  Sotheby’s consolidated sales reached a record $3.4 billion in the first half of 2011. For the three and six months to June 30, 2011 net income increased by 48% and  54% to $127.2 million and $129.7 million, respectively, when compared to the prior year. This improvement is principally due to significantly higher auction and private sale commission.

    Competitive pressure to win high value consignments resulted in lower commission margins.  General and administrative expenses increased $7.9 million, or 24%, in  the second quarter and $9.8 million, or 15%, in the first half, largely due to increased consulting fees to develop Sotheby’s strategic initiatives and unfavorable movements in foreign currency exchange rates.

    “This is the best quarter in Sotheby’s history,” said Bill Ruprecht, President and Chief Executive  Officer.  “Great works of art are enormously desirable to collectors from every corner of the world right now….As I look back on these extraordinary six months for our business, the global appeal of art was one of the few constants in a period of  continued economic uncertainty”.  He said that an exciting fall season is already taking shape: “Clients around the world can expect a number of wonderful sales and objects at Sotheby’s this autumn”.
    London sales included tremendous successes.  Contemporary art surpassed the high estimates. Egon Schiele’s Hauser mit bunter Waesche (Vorstadt II) made $40 million, almost double the previous auction record for the artist and  Guardi’s Venice, a View of the Rialto Bridge, Looking North, from the Fondamenta del Carbon, made $42.9 million, the second highest price ever achieved for an Old Master Painting.  (See post for July 6)


    Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
    Sotheby’s delivered net income of $161.0 million in 2010, which apart from peak of the boom 2007 is the best yearly result ever.  “It is a remarkable accomplishment,” said Bill Ruprecht, President and Chief Executive Officer.  “The recovery of the global art market which was aided in part by the increased buying activity of clients from new markets certainly contributed to these results, as did the difficult decisions we had to make beginning in the autumn of 2008 – the headcount reduction, tightening of our cost structure and steadfast focus on auction commission margins – which have paid off considerably.
    The positive moment is continuing into 2011. “Overall, aggregate auction sales through the first two months of 2011 solidly improved from the first two months of 2010. We hope that 2011 will be another strong year for Sotheby’s and for the art market,”  Bill Ruprecht said.


    Sunday, October 17th, 2010

    Andy Warhol’s Dollar Sign. (click to enlarge)

    The Sotheby’s October sales series of 20th Century Italian Art and Contemporary Art brought in  £40.1 million, far surpassing the total for Sotheby’s equivalent sales series in October 2009 of £20 million.   The  sale of six paintings from the Jerry Hall Collection of art brought in £2,489,775, and exceeded pre-sale expectations of £1.5 million.

    Andy Warhol’s Dollar Sign was gifted by the artist to Jerry Hall in recognition of her help with the production of his television show, Warhol TV.  It  sold  for £217,250, far above its high estimate of £120,000-150,000


    Sunday, October 10th, 2010

    The Bog Road by Paul Henry estimated at 40,000-60,000. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR 72,000

    St. John's Point Lighthouse and Cliffs by Stephen McKenna estimated at 4,000-6,000. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR 3,800

    THESE works of art are among the 141 offerings at the James Adam sale of Irish art in Dublin on Wednesday October 13  at 6 p.m. Estimates are considerably lower than would have been the case a couple of years ago.

    The most expensively estimated paintings are Nathanial Hill’s Breton Peasants at a convent door (1884) estimated at 50,000-70,000, John Shinnors Over the Island, Coastal Composition 2007 estimated at 50,000-70,000 and Paul Henry’s The Bog Road estimated at 40,000-60,000.  This is a sale with something for everyone and estimates from 400 euro up.  The Hill work made 45,000, a new record for the artist, the Henry sold for 72,000 and the Shinnors failed to sell.

    Daughter of Lir c1923 by Joseph Higghs, estimated at 15,000-20,000. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT REMAINED UNSOLD

    Golgotha Good Friday by Tony O'Malley, estimated at 10,000-15,000. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT WAS UNSOLD

    UPDATE:  This turned out to be a very successful sale which achieved a 74 per cent sold rate, higher than had been achieved in other Irish art auctions of late.

    It brought in a hammer price of 460,000, which amounts to more than 550,000 when fees are added.