Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Monday, May 22nd, 2023
    Charles II Irish silver porringer, Samuel Marsden, Dublin, 1680. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £4,445

    This very rare Irish silver porringer by Samuel Marsden comes up as lot 77 at Sotheby’s sale of furniture, silver, clocks and ceramics which runs online until tomorrow (May 23) afternoon. Only one other example of Marsden’s work is known: a 1679 communion cup and paten at St. Michan’s church in Dublin. He was a warden of the Goldsmiths’ Company of Dublin from 1677-1680 and master in 1681. The estimate for the piece is £4,000-£6,000.

    Among other lots of Irish interest are a set of four Irish George III silver meat dishes with Sheffield plate covers with the arms of Moore, Earls of Drogheda for Charles Moore (29 June 1730 – 22 December 1822), 6th Earl of Drogheda, who in July 1791 was created Marquess of Drogheda. The estimate here is £12,000-£18,000. There is a silver salver by Joseph Johns of Limerick and a soup ladle by George Moore of Limerick, Irish silver goblets, coasters, basting spoons and sauce boats. UPDATE: The Earl of Drogheda silver sold for £13,970


    Saturday, April 29th, 2023
    Haze Days by  Yoshitomo Nara at Sotheby’s. THIS WAS UNSOLD

    The explosion of creativity in the art world in the first two decades of the 20th century has not been matched in the 21st. and it is interesting to speculate about why. A century ago the world was newly enriched by Post-Impressionism, Cubism, Abstraction, Suprematism and the rest.  In the global village of today,  development of the shock of the new in art does not seem to have occurred at the hectic pace of technology and other groundbreaking disciplines.  Are artists stupefied by the pace of change in the world all around them? In a world where wonder is taken for granted is visual surprise and delight degraded?

    Geniuses like David Hockney have demonstrated the infinite possibilities of digital art but it is not as yet a significant art market sector.  It looks as if NFT’s have gone the way of cryptocurrency for now. The most innovative market focus is on overlooked women artists, non western art, ethnic, tribal and minority groups but art needs innovation, not political correctness. The impressive selection of Impressionist, Modern, Post-Modern and Contemporary art will come under the hammer at the big New York spring sales in May are mostly of the 20th century. Highly significant art from major collections like Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen,  legendary Condé Nast co owner S.I. Newhouse and Warner Bros. Records executive Mo Ostin, among whose signings were The Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Joni Mitchell, R.E.M. and Madonna, will boost these sales.

    L’Empire des Lumieres by Rene Magritte from the Mo Ostin collection at Sotheby’s. UPDATE: THIS MADE$42,273,000

    All the big names, from Picasso, Matisse and Magritte to Georgia O’Keeffe, David Hockney, Yayoi Kusama and Jean Michel Basquiat are here along with less well known but seriously doing well relative newcomers like Wayne Thiebaud and Yoshitomo Nara. But the art of today, which both auction houses have been busily promoting, is represented by just 51 lots, 27 at the 21st Century evening sale at Christie’s on May 15 and 24 at the Now evening sale at Sotheby’s on May 18.

    Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama at Christie’s. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $4,890,000

    The Christie’s auction will be headed up by a Basquiat (born in 1960, died in 1986). There is a pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama (born in 1929), a box of ten photographs by Diane Arbus (1923-1971), a take on a Velazquez painting by Jeff Koons (born 1955), Prophet by El Anatsui (born 1944) and Untitled (We will no longer be your favourite disappearing act) by Barbara Kruger (born 1945).  Art in this sale by Cecily Brown, Rashid Johnson, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and other younger artists like Vojtek Kovarik and Louis Fratino (both born in 1993) will definitely reward serious study but seems rooted in the 20th century. A powerful 1998 work by Yoshito Nara titled Haze Days will highlight the Now auction at Sotheby’s. This monumental rendering of a bandaged child – furious, foreboding and wonderfully appealing – embodies the contradictions of our culture and ourselves. The eyes have it and it is no surprise that these angst laden paintings sell for many millions of dollars.  There is arresting art by Simone Leigh, Jonas Wood, Matthew Wong, Julien Nguyen, Mark Grotjahn, Kerry James Marshall, Mark Bradford, Rudolf Stingel and other names that might not yet be so well known.  With this sale Sotheby’s has set out to offer heightened visibility and a relevant art historical context for a new generation of younger artists but it is the artists themselves who need to forge new paths.

    Burning gas station by Ed Ruscha at Christie’s. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $22,260,000


    Wednesday, April 26th, 2023
    Freddy Mercury’s favourite waistcoat

    Stage Costumes, handwritten lyrics, fine and decorative arts, Japanese art, precious objects and a trove of Freddy Mercury’s personal belongings will be sold by Sotheby’s this summer. While Mercury captivated audiences across the globe, it was at his beloved home – Garden Lodge in Kensington, West London – where he fashioned his own private world, assembling a collection that reflected and fired his expansive imagination.

    For some 30 years, Garden Lodge has remained almost entirely as Mercury left it, complete with the many works of art that spoke to him so deeply: from Victorian paintings and striking works on paper by the greatest artists of the 20th century, to the finest examples of the glass maker’s art (a medium he loved beyond measure) and other beautiful objects; and from the exceptional fabrics and fine works he would seek out on trips to Japan, to the smaller, more personal items that were such an important part of his daily life. All complemented by defining objects from his more public life: a number of never-before-seen drafts of the immortal song lyrics, along with some of the riotous costumes that were the hallmark of Mercury’s signature style.

    Freddy Mercury’s Martin D35 acoustic guitar

    This summer, the contents of Garden Lodge, all lovingly cherished and cared for over the last three decades, will be revealed to the public for the first time in a dedicated month-long exhibition at Sotheby’s in London, which will see every inch of the company’s 16,000 square foot gallery space dedicated to celebrating Mercury’s rich and multi-faceted life and passions, culminating in six dedicated sales in September, each one devoted to a different aspect of his life, both public and private.

    Pablo Picasso, Jaqueline au Chapeau Noir (1962

    Mary Austin, one of Mercury’s closest and most trusted friends, has treasured and cared for his home and everything in it for the last thirty years.

    The month-long exhibition at Sotheby’s this summer will see all 1,500 or so items from Garden Lodge displayed in a sequence of specially designed immersive galleries, each one devoted to a different aspect of Mercury’s rich and varied life. The exhibition will open on August 4, and close on what would have been his 77th birthday, September 5. Prior to the exhibition highlights from will tour to New York, London, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong in June.

    The six dedicated auctions which follow will kick off with a live evening sale on September 6 with a cross-section of the most significant items.


    Friday, April 14th, 2023
    Paul Gauguin: Nature morte avec pivoines de chine et mandoline (1885)

    Four works from the collection of Ambroise Vollard, one of the most important art dealers in Paris during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, will come up at Sotheby’s Modern evening auction in New York in May. The group is highlighted by a major still life by Paul Gauguin, one of the most significant by the artist to appear at auction, which hung on the walls of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris for almost 40 years since its founding in 1986.
    Following years of legal proceedings, during which the heirs of Ambroise Vollard were represented by lawyers
    including François Honnorat, a French court recently ruled that ownership of the works would be returned to
    Vollard’s descendants.

    The group is highlighted by a major still life by Paul Gauguin, one of the most significant by the artist to appear at
    auction, which hung on the walls of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris for almost 40 years since its founding in 1986.
    Following years of legal proceedings, during which the heirs of Ambroise Vollard were represented by lawyers
    including François Honnorat, a French court recently ruled that ownership of the works would be returned to
    Vollard’s descendants. It is estimated at $10-15 million. The collection includes works by Renoir and Cezanne.

    F.E. McWilliam at Sotheby’s Made in Britain sale

    Thursday, March 9th, 2023
    Frederick Edward McWilliam, R.A. – Mother and Daughter. UPDATE: THIS MADE £40,640

    Mother and Daughter by F. E. McWilliam comes up as lot 49 at Sotheby’s Made in Britain sale online until March 14. The bronze is 45 and a quarter inches tall and 22 inches wide. Conceived in 1957 it is number 2 from an edition of 3. The estimate is £30,000-£50,000.


    Sunday, March 5th, 2023
    Sean Scully – Wall of Light Red

    Sean Scully’s Wall of Light, Red sold for £1,137,000 at Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary evening auction in London on March 1. The monumental work from his most celebrated and instantly recognised Wall of Light series was made in 1998 and is among the largest and earliest works in the series. The oil on linen is on two joined canvases. The inspiration came from a visit to Mexico in the early 1980’s where he was fascinated by the stones of ancient walls on the Yucatan peninsula. When animated by light they seemed to reflect the passage of time.

    “I can’t exactly explain it, but seeing the Mexican ruins, the stacking of the stones, and the way light hit those facades, had something to do with it, maybe everything to do with it” the artist is quoted as saying in an exhibition catalogue at the Metropolitian Museum, New York in 2005.


    Thursday, March 2nd, 2023
    Wassily Kandinsky – Murnau mit Kirche II

    There was a new auction record for Kandinsky at Sotheby’s in London last night when Murnau mit Kirche II sold for £37.2 million. The painting was created in 1910 as Kandinsky began to shift from the figurative towards abstraction, forging a new experimental path in his already distinguished career. It had been recently returned to the heirs of original owners, Siegbert and Johanna Margarete Stern, who were seasoned collectors and respected members of the Berlin cultural circle in the 1930s, counting Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein as peers. The outbreak of war and Nazi occupation meant they were parted from many of their beloved paintings when in exile from Germany.

    Another restituted work, Munch’s Dance on the Beach £16.9 million. Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes made £24 million and Ib Reading by Lucian Freud made £17 million. Picasso’s Fillette au Bateau (Maya) sold for £18 million. 

    Earlier the Now auction was led by Cecily Brown’s The Nymphs have Departed, which made £3.4 million. Sweet Spot by Florna Yukhnovich made £939,800, double its estimate.  The London evening sales reached a combined total of £172.6 million.


    Tuesday, February 21st, 2023
    Sean Scully – Floating Diptych Black White. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $279,400

    Floating Diptych Black White by Sean Scully comes up at a timed online sale running at Sotheby’s in New York on February 23. The oil on aluminium in two parts was acquired by the present owner at Galerie Lelong, New York in 1997, the year in which it was executed. Lot 114 at Part II of the Mallin Collection is now estimated at $30,000-40,000.

    The sale embodies Joel and Sherry Mallins’ unique and innovative curatorial eye. Incorporating a variety of media and artists, from sculptures by Robert Irwin, Michael Heizer, Tau Lewis, and Tara Donovan to video artworks by Marina Abramovic and Ann Hamilton. The sale provides a glimpse into the remarkable works of art that emerge from the Mallin’s legendary Buckhorn Sculpture Park and Artbarn in Pound Ridge, New York.


    Thursday, February 16th, 2023

    The Codex Sassoon is set to become the most valuable historical document or manuscript ever at auction when it is sold at Sotheby’s in May. This bridge from the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls to the Bible of today is estimated to make $30-$50 million. It has been dated as the earliest, most complete definitive text of its kind. Dating to the late 9th early 10th century it is the most complete extant Hebrew Bible. It is named for its prominent modern owner David Solomon Sassoon (1880-1942) and comes to auction from the renowned collection of Jacqui Safra. The auction is to take place in New York in May alongside Sotheby’s marquee sales of Contemporary and Modern Art. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $38.1 MILLION


    Friday, February 10th, 2023
    A near pair of Irish late George III side cabinets, c1800

    This near pair of Irish late George III satinwood and amaranth and mahogany banded side cabinets made $11,970 at Sotheby’s in New York. The c1800 cabinets were described as in good restored condition. They came up as lot 457 at Sotheby’s Hyde Park Antiques, Past Present and Future sale (Part II). They had previously been with Partridge Fine Arts in London and were last sold at auction at Christie’s in London in 2003.