Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
  • About Des
  • Contact
  • Posts Tagged ‘Sotheby’s Paris’


    Monday, July 31st, 2023
    René Magritte – La Valse Hésitation (1955)

    René Magritte’s Masked Apples will make their auction debut at Sotheby’s in Paris on October 19 with an estimate of €10-15 million. This is the highest ever estimate for a work of art at Sotheby’s in France. La Valse hésitation depicts two masked apples shrouded in night-time shadows, against the backdrop of a bright blue sky peppered with Magritte’s characteristic clouds. The motif was conceived in the early 1950s, at the same moment as his most important series – L’Empire des Lumières – was similarly seeking to capture the paradox of day meeting night.

    The painting has not been seen in public since 1979, where it was the subject of an exhibition at the Galerie Isy Brachot, and has since been treasured in three private collections in the artist’s homeland of Belgium. It is coming to the open market for the first time. The apple is central to Magritte’s oeuvre – and the countless iterations he inspired in popular culture. Here, the apple – an intimate object familiar from the centuries-old artistic tradition of the still life and harking back to the Garden of Eden – is transformed into a mysterious, anthropomorphic character. With the addition of a simple mask, without any facial features, Magritte opens to the door to countless possibilities.

    Sotheby’s Paris Modernités auction on 19 October will present works by artists from the emergence of the European avant-garde to the Post-War period, showcasing the modernist movements across Europe and the overlapping dialogues within this rich artistic moment.


    Sunday, May 7th, 2023
    Come on the dawn by Jack B. Yeats. UPDATE: THIS MADE €241,300

    What could be better.  Springtime in Paris is again enlivened this year with a feast of Irish art at Sotheby’s. Come on the dawn, a 1951 work by Jack B. Yeats (€200,000-€300,000) leads a sale supported by a global marketing campaign with Sotheby’s displaying Irish art to Paris and the world. This second edition celebrating cultural links between Ireland and France follows on from the success of an inaugural sale in 2022 which saw strong international bidding and a new world record for a work on paper by Mainie Jellett.
    Artists from the 19th century to the present day feature in the 2023 selection which includes Irish painters abroad and contemporary artworks. Paintings by Roderic O’Conor, Sir William Orpen and Sir John Lavery are on view alongside art and sculpture by Sean Scully, Louis le Brocquy, Rowan Gillespie, Orla de Bri, Peter Curling, Maser, Melissa O’Flaherty, Richard Hearns and Jack Coulter. The catalogue, with 50 lots, is online. The sale, now on view at Sotheby’s Paris headquarters on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, takes place on May 10.

    Feeling the grass by Peter Curling. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Thursday, May 4th, 2023
    Sir William Orpen R.A., R.H.A. – The Normandy Cider Press. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR €36,100

    This 1900 oil on canvas by Sir William Orpen comes up as lot 12 at Sotheby’s Irish art sale in Paris. The sale is on view in Paris. It opens for bidding today and runs online until May 10. This painting was once in the collection of Oliver St. John Gogarty, who acquired it from the artist. It is estimated at €30,000-50,000.

    (See post on for April 2, 2023)


    Sunday, April 2nd, 2023
    Harry Kernoff – La Place du Tertre Montmartre at Sotheby’s Irish art sale in Paris. UPDATE; THIS MADE €50,800

    Art by Harry Kernoff,  Hughie O’Donoghue and Rowan Gillespie will feature  among a strong selection at Sotheby’s second Irish art sale in Paris in May.  Highlights from the auction will be on view at Sotheby’s on Molesworth St. in Dublin on April 3, 4 and 5. Already consigned are works by William Leech, Roderic O’Conor, John Yeats, Louis le Brocquy, Sean Scully,  Patrick Scott, Basil Blackshaw, Camille Souter, LM Hamilton, Jack Coulter, Maser and Richard Hearns.

    In his painting La Place du Tertre, Montmartre Harry Kernoff discreetly places himself wearing his customary trilby hat in a cafe named Jeune Peinture.  It is estimated at €40,000-€60,000.  Hughie O’Donoghue’s Medusa III (€15,000-€20,000) is from a series in which he engages with the past using personal records of his father’s experience of World War II to create intense and emotionally powerful images. Given that the book was first published in Paris  Ripples of Ulysses, Study, 1999 (€10,000-€15,000) by Rowan Gillespie is especially apt. It relates to two life sized James Joyce sculptures, one at the Merrion Hotel, Dublin the other at Regis University, Denver.  The artist places Joyce at the centre of his masterpiece, Ulysses, the words of which ripple outwards in 18 concentric circles. The sculpture spins because it is never ending.

    Hughie O’Donoghue – Medusa III at Sotheby’s Paris. UPDATE; THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Incrementum 2020/2023 by Richard Hearns is estimated at €8,000-€12,000. Born in Beirut during the civil war and adopted as an infant by an Irish UN peacekeeper the Burren based painter has said his dual heritage has inspired his paintings. He is considered to be one of the most exciting abstract painters working in Ireland today by Sotheby’s.
    The inaugural Irish art sale in Paris in May 2022 saw strong international bidding and a world record for a work on paper by Mainie Jellett. It also led to the return of many Irish artworks to this country.  The success of that sale, which coincided with the centenary of the World Congress of the Irish Race in 1922, has spurred Sotheby’s on to repeat it in 2023.  All international exposure of Irish art is to be welcomed.  Bidding for this sale opens online on May 4 and runs until May 10. The auction will be on view at Sotheby’s, Paris on those dates.


    Friday, October 7th, 2022

    The most important set of Don Quixote volumes to come to auction in thirty years is to be offered at auction on December 14 at Sotheby’s Paris, in conjunction with rare books dealer Jean-Baptiste de Proyart. Estimated at €400,000-600,000, this extraordinary offering comprises spectacular editions of both volumes of Cervantes prized work, presented in matching English bindings dating to 1750. With a shared provenance traceable back over 320 years, they are among the oldest known sets of both volumes together.

    Beloved for its liveliness and panorama of Spanish society, Don Quixote became legendary almost immediately when released, with the author achieving fame throughout Europe and the New World, and the book being widely copied and pirated by at least three separate publishers. In the four hundred years since its publication, there are few characters who can have been as mythologised as Don Quixote. The subject of countless books, plays, performances, statues and works of art, he has been – and continues to be – both a fixture in the popular imagination and an inspiration to the great writers and thinkers of the world.

    As the four Folios of Shakespeare are the highest prize of English book-collecting, and the Foligno Dante of Italian, so the early editions Don Quixote printed during of Miguel de Cervantes’s lifetime – are the highest prize of Spanish book-collecting. This edition of the world’s first modern novel is from the library of Jorge Ortiz Linares (1894-1965).


    Monday, May 16th, 2022
    Harry Kernoff, R.H.A. – Sunday Evening – Place du Combat, Paris – sold for 94,500

    A 1937 oil by Harry Kernoff – Sunday Evening, Place du Combat, Paris – sold for €94,500 over a top estimate of €60,000 at Sotheby’s Ireland / France : Art and Literature sale in Paris today. Roderic O’Conor’s Rocks and Foam, St. Guénolé sold for €352,800; Pieta by Mainie Jellett made €88,200 over a top estimate of €25,000; A Sandhill near Tralee Bay by Jack B Yeats made €50,400 as did Bottle Still Life by William Scott and The Newly Married Man by Sean Keating made €44,100. The sale total was €928,116.


    Saturday, January 22nd, 2022
    A lounge suite from the couple’s flat in the former Maeterlinck Palace

    A rare glimpse into the glamorous domestic world of a couple at the heart of the glittering social world of Paris in the 1970’s is offered by a sale at Sotheby’s on February 24.  Best known in France and the US François  Catroux was one of the most important decorators of the 21st century.François  and Betty Catroux married in 1968 when she was becoming the face of Yves St. Laurent and he was decorating bold modern homes for clients like the Rothschilds, Diane von Furstenbert and Princess Firyal of Jordan. He counted Roman Abromovitch, Helene Rochas and Antenor Patino among his clients.

    François Catroux elegantly mixed antiques with contemporary furniture.  He brought work by contemporary designers like Ron Arad, Ingo Maurer, Martin Szekely, Serge Manzon and Ettore Sottsass together with artists like Luis Tomasello, Lucio Fontana, Tom Wesselman, Zoran Music, Victor Vasarely, Xavier Veilhan, Christian Bérard and Jean Cocteau.
    On offer at Sotheby’s Paris is the entire contents of the apartment he created for their retirement at the former Maeterlinck Palace overlooking the Baie des Anges at Nice. The project was barely completed when Catroux discovered he had cancer. He died in November 2020. Catroux and St. Laurent were at school together, though they never spoke of their schooldays where St. Laurent had been bullied.

    In a New York Times obituary Penelope Green came up with a wonderful quote from Betty Catroux: “I’m not interested in fashion, and I’m not interested in design, and I got the two geniuses on the subject. I could live in an empty room as long as there is a bottle of wine and good music. But I know what’s beautiful. I was so lucky. It’s been a fairy tale life”.

    Betty and François Catroux. Photograph: Horst P. Horst/Condé Nast archive


    Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

    Works by Zao Wou-Ki and Pierre Soulages from an Irish collection are to feature at Sotheby’s Paris Art Contemporain evening sale on June 24. This sale is anchored by a museum quality selection of blue-chip Post-War and Contemporary Art. 17.5.63 by Zao Wou-Ki is estimated at 1.5-2 million, Peinture 65 by Soulages has an estimate of 500,000-700,000.

    ZAO WOU-KI 17.5.63


    Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

    The spring 2020 edition of the Paris Contemporary Art online sale at Sotheby’s on June 3 offers a selection of works by world-renowned artists at an affordable price-point. It offers an opportunity to acquire artworks by contemporary artists such as Chiharu Shiota, Bernard Frize, Kiki Smith, Robert Combas, KAWS, Sam Francis, Jef Verheyen and many more.

    Francois Barbatre – Corridor No. 3 (2,000-3,000) (1981 – pastel on paper)


    Friday, October 26th, 2018

    More than 1,000 lots from the last residences of Pierre Bergé will come under the hammer at Sotheby’s in Paris from October 29-31. The sale by Sotheby’s and Pierre Bergé & Associés features a collection of works chosen by Pierre Bergé, many of which were acquired with Yves Saint Laurent.  In the homes he created with Yves Saint Laurent, Bergé surrounded himself with art and decorative objects: four interiors, each with its own identity.  On offer is property from the Paris townhouse at Rue Bonaparte, La Datcha on the estate of Chateau Gabriel in Normandy, Mas Theo in St. Remy and Villa Mabrouka in Tangiers.

    Pierre Bergé was a committed philanthropist and wanted a portion of the proceeds from this auction and from the sale of other items to benefit the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent in Paris and the Fondation Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech.  Here is a small selection:


    Bernard Buffet
    Autoportrait sur fond noir

    Claude Lalanne
    Miroir de Tanger, unique, 1999