Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    FROM €15,000 to €12.7 MILLION IN JUST TWO YEARS

    Friday, December 8th, 2023
    Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn – The Adoration of the Kings

    Rembrandt’s rediscovered Adoration of the Kings sold for £10.9 million (€12.7 million) at Sotheby’s in London on December 6. Just two years ago – when it was attributed as Circle of Rembrandt – it was valued at just €10,000-€15,000 at Christie’s in Amsterdam. The complex monochromatic painting had been almost entirely unseen by scholars since the 1950’s when it came to light.

    It was included in museum exhibitions and referenced as a Rembrandt work by leading Rembrandt scholars in the 1950s, but in 1960 German art historian Kurt Bauch, who only knew the painting from a black and white photograph, described it as a product of the Rembrandt School and omitted it from from the catalogue raisonné he was compiling. Thereafter, the painting was “entirely overlooked and completely ignored in the Rembrandt literature,” according to Sothebys. Following an 18 month research programme by Sotheby’s it was recognised as a work of great significance from Rembrandt’s early career.

    The Adoration of the Kings was acquired by collector J.C.H. Heldring in Amsterdam in 1955. His widow sold it to a German family in 1985, where it remained until it was sold by Christie’s in Amsterdam two years ago. The painting, which measures 9.6 x 7.3 inches, was purchased by an anonymous buyer for €860,000 at the Christie’s sale — more than 50 times the estimated value. It was later identified as the work of the Dutch master. 

    The vast majority of Rembrandt’s works hang in museums around the world, and almost all of those that have come to auction over the past three decades have been portraits or studies of single character heads.


    Friday, December 1st, 2023
    An Irish George III statuary marble, Siena, Spanish brocatelle and inlaid marble chimney piece, circa 1780, attributed to George and Hill Darley. UPDATE: THIS LOT WAS WITHDRAWN FROM THE AUCTION

    Based on new research this magnificent Irish chimney piece at Sotheby’s Albany private collection sale in London on December 6 can be attributed to George and Hill Darley. There is a shallow breakfront mantel and the moulded underside is carved with a bead-and-reel moulding and inlaid dentil detailing. The central tablet is carved with a classical vase with birds-head handles issuing berried-leaf swags tied to the corners with ribbons, flanked by inlaid panels with ribbon-tied bell-flower swage and rosettes with leaf and bead-and-reel carved mouldings.

    The work of Darley brothers George and Hill, stonecutters and furniture designers in late-eighteenth century Dublin, can still be seen on the west front of Trinity College. They also had worked on several other notable late-eighteenth century commissions, including the poet William Ashford’s house Sandymount in County Dublin, and the residence of the Italian ambassador at Lucan House. A rare collection of their fine watercolour designs for chimneypieces is held at the Royal Irish Academy. The estimate for this chimneypiece is £120,000-£180,000.


    Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023
    Irish George II mahogany silver table. UPDATE: THIS MADE £5,080

    This Irish George II silver table comes up as lot 65 at Sotheby’s in London on December 6. The rectangular top with has a raised moulded edge, the shaped apron is centred by a carved scallop shell and the gently curved legs terminate in paw feet. The estimate is £4,000-£6,000. It is part of the Albany: An Important Private Collection sale of items housed within the famous Albany on Piccadilly, the neo classical masterpiece originally built in 1770 by Sir William Chambers. The auction consists of furniture from the 17th to the early 19th centuries.


    Tuesday, November 21st, 2023

    Two artworks by Sir John Lavery and one by Jack B Yeats each made £381,000 (€437,520) at Sotheby’s Modern British and Irish art sale in London today. The Donkey Show by Yeats and A Moorish Harem and Ariadne, both by Lavery, all sold above their low estimate of £300,000. The Trotter by Yeats made £88,900 over an estimate of £80,000-£120,000 but Woodhenge by F. E. McWilliam failed to find a buyer. The Modern British and Irish day auction at Sotheby’s takes place tomorrow.

    Sir John Lavery – A Moorish Harem


    Monday, November 20th, 2023
    Lionel Messi with the 2022 FIFA World Cup Finals Shirt (France) (Front), courtesy of Sam Robles photography

    A set of six Lionel Messi match worn shirts from the 2022 FIFA World Cup is set to become the most valuable collection of sports memorabilia at auction. A year following Messi’s crowning achievement, Sotheby’s will present a set of six of Lionel Messi’s match-worn Argentina shirts from his historic run in Qatar. Worn by the Argentine captain during the first half of the Final, Semi-final, Quarter-final, Round of 16, and two of the three Group Stage matches, the set of six white and sky blue Argentina home shirts will be offered in a dedicated sale open for bidding from 30 November – 14 December. The extraordinary collection is estimated in excess of $10 million.

    The shirts are being brought to auction by US-based tech startup AC Momento, who in addition to their mobile app for sports fans, partners with high-profile athletes (like Messi) to help manage their match-worn memorabilia collections. A portion of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to UNICAS Project, led by Sant Joan de Déu (SJD) Barcelona Children’s Hospital with the support of Leo Messi Foundation, to meet the needs of children suffering from rare diseases. This follows the work the Leo Messi Foundation has completed with the SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital Pediatric Cancer Center which treats 400 children with cancer each year.

    The current record for a game-worn item of sports memorabilia is Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals jersey, which sold for $10.1 million at Sotheby’s New York in September 2022


    Saturday, November 18th, 2023
    Edwin Mercer will display this Victorian lady’s vanity box at the Limerick fair this weekend.

    In the run up to Christmas the antique and art season is beginning to really hot up. Limerick racecourse is the venue for the National Antiques, Art and Vintage fair today and tomorrow. Outstanding Irish art will come under the hammer at de Veres in Dublin next Tuesday and Sotheby’s expects around €2 million worth of Irish art to change hands at evening and day sales in London on Tuesday and Wednesday.
    The calendar for the next few weeks is brimful of interest and offers a huge array of choice to eager collectors across all price levels and genres. Limerick Racecourse has proven to be an ideal venue for Hibernian Antique Fairs.  There is easy access and lots of space for antique shops, art galleries and vintage dealers.  An across the board selection this weekend includes a Victorian vanity box complete with travel accessories, bottles and even hat pins. Along with a covetable selection of antique furniture including a c1790 Irish double sided library table with hairy paw feet and Irish art there are selections of clocks and watches, militaria, jewellery, porcelain and silver.

    Rugby Sculpture (2007) by Barry Flanagan at de Veres. UPDATE: THIS MADE 40,000

    Art by Paul Henry, Walter Osborne, Gerard Dillon, Tony O’Malley, Norah McGuinness, William Scott, John Shinnors and Barry Flanagan will feature strongly at de Veres on Tuesday evening.  Bidding on this timed online sale which draws to a close from 6 pm on November 21 is already open.  It is on view at Kildare St. in Dublin for the next four days.

    Bathers, Naylor’s Cove, Bray by Harry Kernoff at Sotheby’s in London. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    The evening and day sales at Sotheby’s in London on November 21 and 22 are part of British and Irish art week, a series of events celebrating the art of Ireland and Britain from the 19th to the 21st centuries.  A total of 54 lots of Irish art will feature with the evening sale headed by two works from Sir John Lavery and two by Jack B Yeats.  The Lavery’s have emerged from the collection of the artists family.  Another evening highlight is a significant early carving by F.E. McWilliam titled Woodhenge.  The estimate for the piece is €229,220-€343,830. Meantime Bonhams first sale on the island of Ireland is now open for bidding online.  The Irish Sale: Vision and Voice will offer art by Paul Henry, Donald Teskey, Sir William Orpen, Maeve McCarthy, Margaret Clarke, Frank McKelvey, Wiliam Leech and Jack B Yeats along with an annotated typescript of Finnegans Wake by James Joyce and  handwritten lyrics of Your Song Saved My Life by Bono.  The auction will be on view at the City Assembly House in Dublin from November 24-28, when the sale will be held.

    Woodhenge by F.E. McWilliam at Sotheby’s. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Thursday, November 16th, 2023
    Joan Mitchell (1925-1922) – Sunflowers

    Joan Mitchell’s Sunflowers sold for $27.9 million at Sotheby’s Contemporary evening auction in New York last night. The Chicago native is associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement, even though she lived in France for much of her career. The striking visual dynamism of the dense composition reveals the artist’s affinity for the American action painters, amongst whom she lived and worked in the initial decade of her career; as one of the few women to garner significant critical acclaim within the predominantly male Eighth Street Club, Mitchell is remembered by art history as the leading female voice of the Abstract Expressionist movement.


    Wednesday, November 15th, 2023
    Paul Cézanne – L’Assiette bleue

    This blue plate by Paul Cezanne made $6,709,500 at Sotheby’s Modern evening auction in New York this week. The artist was a hugely influential figure revered by other artists. This was painted in 1879-80 and was described by Sotheby’s as a potent example of the still lifes with which Cezanne reached the pinnacle of his genius. The artist and critic Roger Fry said: . “Cézanne is distinguished among artists of the highest rank by the fact…that he achieved in still life the expression of the most exalted feelings and the deepest intuitions of his nature… it is hard to exaggerate their importance in the expression of Cézanne’s genius or the necessity of studying them for its comprehension, because it is in them that he appears to have established his principles of design and theories of form”.

    Peupliers au bord de l”Epte by Monet made $30.7 million, Le moulin de Limetze by Monet made $25.6 million, Untitled by Mark Rothko made $23.8 million, Compotier et Guitare by Picasso made $23.4 million, Au dessus de la ville by Marc Chagall made $15.6 million and La Patience by Balthus made $14.6 million.


    Saturday, November 11th, 2023

    The Donkey Show, a 1925 painting by Yeats, is among the headliners at Sotheby’s annual Irish art sales in London on November 21-22. His first painting of the annual Donkey Show at Goff’s Yard in Dublin was burnt in the Royal Hibernian Academy fire during the Easter Rising. In the second version, a decade later, the artist is totally released from his former representational manner.  The viewer is invited into the scene by a group of grey donkeys in the foreground with distinctive pitched ears and the work is estimated at €458,440-€687,660. Evening and day sales will offer 54 works of Irish art estimated to bring in more than €2 million. There are two works by Lavery from direct descendants of the artist and contemporary artists featured include Hughie O’Donoghue, Linda Brunker, Orla de Bri, Richard Hearns, Melissa O’Donnell, Jack Coulter, Rowan Gillespie and Nick Miller. Works are on view at the RHA in Dublin today and tomorrow.

    (See post on for November 2, 2023)


    Thursday, November 9th, 2023
    Pablo Picasso – Femme a la Montre (Woman with a Watch)

    Picasso’s Femme a la Montre became the most valuable painting sold at auction this year when it was knocked down for $139 million at Sotheby’s in New York last night. This was the second highest price ever achieved for a Picasso after Les Femmes d’Alger (Women of Algiers) which made $179.3m at Christie’s in 2015. Femme a la Montre was previously owned by the late art collector Emily Fisher Landau, who bought it in 1968, and has been purchased by an anonymous buyer. It depicts Marie-Therese Walter, the lover of the Spanish artist and subject of many of his artworks. Known as Picasso’s “golden muse”, Walter was 17 when she met the 45-year-old Picasso in Paris, and the pair later entered into a secret relationship while he was still married to Olga Khokhlova, a Ukrainian ballerina.

    (See post on for September 13, 2023)