Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Saturday, October 10th, 2020

    Banksy’s Show me the Monet  comes up at Sotheby’s in London on October 21 with an estimate of £3-5 million.  It is from the Crude Oils series where the artist remixes well known artworks. Among other works in the series are Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers portrayed wilting or dead; Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks augmented by an angry man in Union Jack boxer shorts moments after breaking the bar window with a chair, and Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe re-faced with Kate Moss. The artist is quoted saying: “If you want to survive as a graffiti writer when you go indoors, I figured your only option is to carry on painting over things that don’t belong to you there either.”  According to Sotheby’s Show me the Monet may be interpreted as a comment on consumerist culture, a criticism of the commercialisation of art, a lament for the demise of the environment, or all of the above. Painted in 2005 it will highlight a livestream auction which brings together two sales of Modern and Contemporary art held in sequence in Paris and London. 



    Thursday, September 24th, 2020

    Young Man Holding a Roundel by Sandro Botticelli will come up at Sotheby’s in New York next January. With an estimate in excess of $80 million it will highlight the annual Masters Week sales series. In market terms this price will establish it in art market history as one of the most significant portraits, of any period, ever to appear at auction – alongside Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II (sold in 2006 for $87.9 million) and Van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr Gachet (sold in 1990 for $82.5 million).

    Young Man Holding a Roundel is the pictorial synthesis of the ideals, the magic and the beauty of Renaissance Florence where, for the first time since antiquity, the individual and the human figure were at the centre of both life and art. Botticelli was at the vanguard of this movement, and his revolutionary style lead him to be one of the first artists to abandon the tradition of depicting sitters in profile. Yet for all it embodies of the Florentine Renaissance, the painting is timelessly modern in its stark simplicity, bold colors, and graphic linearity.

    Young Man Holding a Roundel was first securely recorded in the 1930s in the collection of Lord Newborough at Caernarvon in Wales, and is believed to have been acquired by his ancestor Sir Thomas Wynn, 1st Lord Newborough (1736-1807) while living in Tuscany. In 1935/8, the portrait passed via a London dealer to a private collector, whose heirs sold it at auction in 1982 to the present owner for £810,000.

    In the past 50 years, the painting has spent extended periods on loan at the National Gallery, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

    Sandro BotticelliYoung Man Holding a Roundel


    Friday, September 11th, 2020

    An internally flawless 102.39-carat diamond comes under the hammer at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong next month. There is no estimate but diamonds of this size and quality have D colour oval stone was cut from a 271-carat rough diamond discovered in Ontario, Canada in 2018. It has achieved top rank in each of the “four Cs” — cut, colour, clarity and carat weight — by which a diamond is judged. In the circumstances of the moment it is being offered without a reserve. Bidding opens online from September 15 and the sale end at a live auction in Hong Kong on October 5.

    UPDATE: The diamond sold for $15.7 million to a telephone bidder in Japan


    Thursday, September 10th, 2020

    Artworks by Hughie O’Donoghue and Colin Middleton feature at Sotheby’s Made in Britain auction online until September 16. The sale of art and objects by artists and makers working in Britain in the 20th and 21st offers paintings, works on paper, sculpture, prints, photography, design and studio and contemporary ceramics. There are ceramics by Lucie Rie and Jennifer Lee, paintings from Gary Bunt and Mary Fedden, photographs from Terry O’Neill and a selection of prints by David Hockney. A group of Donald Hamilton Frasers offered from the collection of the Hirshhorn Museum is included too.



    Saturday, September 5th, 2020

    INTERNATIONAL interest in the Irish art market will be tested at Sotheby’s Irish art sale in London on September 9. This auction of 60 lots features a roll call of the most beloved and esteemed names in the field. The  pre-sale estimate of £3.2 million makes it the highest value auction since Sotheby’s re-introduced dedicated sales of Irish art in 2015. More than 1,000 people attended three and a half days of viewing at the RHA Gallery in Dublin.  The sale is distinguished by 18 works from the collection of Sir Michael Smurfit and some of these have been displayed at the K Club in Co. Kildare.
    Arabella Bishop, head of Sotheby’s Ireland, remarked: “It is a market that was catapulted onto the global platform in the 1990’s by advocates such as Sir Michael, who has played a key role in bestowing Irish artists with the reputation they deserved and still deserve today.”  Sotheby’s hope that this sale will appeal to and excite collectors worldwide.   Sir Michael Smurfit’s passion for Irish artists like Yeats, Lavery and Orpen is reflected in a number of significant works by these figures.   The collection is distinguished further by one of le Brocquy’s most significant works, Travelling Woman with Newspaper (£700,000-£1,000,000) and William Conor’s depiction of The Dublin Horse Show (£80,000-£120,000).The sale opens with twelve works from the Yeats family including sketches by John Butler Yeats and Jack B. Yeats.  Lot 10, Three Girls listening to music by the former, created significant interest at the Dublin view. It is estimated at £4,000-£6,000.  Many other works have emerged from long held private collections including Houses by the Sea (£50,000-£70,000) and Kerry Fisherman (£70,000-£100,000), both by Jack B. Yeats and Tory Island (£18,000-£25,000) and The Dreamer (£100,000-£150,000) both by Gerard Dillon.  Artists like Sir John Lavery and William Scott have a significant international following.  Lavery’s Tennis under the orange trees, Cannes (£300,000-£500,000) and Poem for a Jug, No. 23 (£70,000-£100,000) are both certain to perform well at this sale.The selection on offer is completed by artists and sculptors like Tony O’Malley, Peter Curling, John Kingerlee, Patrick O’Reilly, John Behan, Elizabeth Magill and Mainie Jellett.  Sotheby’s will offer over 50 items from the collection of Sir Michael Smurfit at various auctions over the coming year.

    UPDATE: Travelling Woman with Newspaper and The Dublin Horse show failed to sell. Works from the Yeats family collection all sold. The Dreamer by Gerard Dillon made £378,000 and Kerry Fisherman made £81,500.

     A portrait of WB Yeats by Augustus John from the Smurfit Collection (£70,000-£100,000). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £88,200


    Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

    An Australian artist has found a singular way of expressing his appreciation to medics and paramedics in Cork. Proceeds from the sale of an artwork by west Cork based artist John Kelly at Sotheby’s Irish art sale in London on September 9 will go the the Cork University Hospital Charity and the west Cork Rapid Response Unit. “Having lived for 17 years in this beautiful, if somewhat remote, part of the world as a healthy and robust person I became acutely aware of both the fragility of life and the vulnerability that comes with living in a rural environment” the artist explained. “In August 2018 I collapsed and would have died if it hadn’t been for the combined response of my wonderful family and local friends, the medical ‘rapid responders’, the ambulance service, and extraordinary care offered by medics and staff at Cork University Hospital.”

    The painting of Castlehaven Harbour from Ceim Hill is lot number 56 at Sothebys and has an estimate of £5,000-£7,000. 

    John Kelly – Castlehaven. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £10,710


    Saturday, August 29th, 2020

    This painting of a Kerry Fisherman by Jack B. Yeats has been in a private family collection in Canada for over fifty years. It comes up at Sotheby’s annual Irish Art sale in London on September 9 with an estimate of £70,000-£100,000.  Dating to the late 1920’s Sotheby’s say it has not been at auction before.  The strong features and confident stance offer a heroic figure,  Yeats’s wonder and admiration for such figures was instilled in him during a childhood near the quays of Sligo.  The work anticipates the looser brushwork and dissolving forms of his later work. The sale, which includes 18 works from the collection of Sir Michael Smurfit, is on view by appointment only at the RHA in Dublin from 10 am to 5 pm today and from 10 am to 3 pm tomorrow. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £81,900


    Thursday, August 20th, 2020

    THE annual Irish Art sale at Sotheby’s on September 9 carries the highest combined pre-sale value since the reintroduction of dedicated Irish art sales in London in 2015. The sale, including property from the collection of Sir Michael Smurfit, comprises 60 lots and is estimated to bring in the region of £3.2 million. There will be public exhibitions at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin from August 27-30 by appointment, and in London from September 4. Among the highlights from outside the 18 works from the Smurfit collection is The Dreamer by Gerard Dillon.

    Gerard Dillon, The Dreamer, oil on board, circa 1956-57. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £378,000


    Thursday, August 6th, 2020

    THIS early 20th century set of eight ship’s ash and beech folding chairs come up at Sotheby’s online Dining In auction which runs to August 12. Some legs are branded PSN which almost certainly relates to the Pacific Steam Navigation Company which provided a passenger and mail service between Liverpool and Argentina from 1877 to 1920. With later striped canvas seats they are estimated at £2,500-3,500. UPDATE: THESE SOLD FOR £11,340


    Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

    Truman Capote’s final typescript for Breakfast at Tiffany’s sold for £377,000 at Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts sale in London on August 4. It was covered in handwritten edits including the last minute change to his protagonist’s name to Holly Golightly. Until the very final draft Holly was known throughout as Connie Gustafson. This typescript was submitted to Random House, who published all of Capote’s major works, in May 1958, just before Capote departed for a sojourn in Greece. It had been estimated at £120,000-180,000.