Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    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)


    Sunday, November 5th, 2023
    Sixteen Jackies by Andy Warhol at Christie’s. UPDATE: THIS MADE $25.9 MILLION

    The 60th anniversary of the assassination of President John F Kennedy this month is recalled through Andy Warhol’s Death and Disaster series in New York next week. Sixteen Jackies will lead Christie’s 20th century evening sale next Thursday (November 9). The 1964 painting, a grid of a repeated press image of First Lady Jackie Kennedy during her husband’s funeral procession is estimated at $25 – $35 million and is one of many highlights in the sales. Led by the Emily Fisher Landau collection of key masterwork examples sales at Sotheby’s showcase over a century of artistic production. There are seminal works by Picasso, Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol.  This collection comes under the hammer at Sotheby’s next Wednesday and Thursday (November 8 and 9), followed by the Modern evening auction on November 13 and Now and Contemporary art sales on November 15.  At Christie’s the 21st Century evening sale is next Tuesday the 20th century sale is on Thursday, the Post War and Contemporary day sale is on November 10 and the Impressionist and Modern day sale takes place on November 11.

    Untitled XV 1983 by Willem de Kooning at Sotheby’s. UPDATE: THIS MADE $8.6 MILLION


    Wednesday, October 18th, 2023
    George II Irish silver strainer, Dublin, 1727. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    This early Irish silver tea strainer comes up at Sotheby’s online sale of the Edith and Stuary Cary Welch collection which opens today and runs until October 27. There is no makers mark on the 1727 piece and the two handles are engraved with a crest. The estimate is £1,500-2,500.


    Monday, October 9th, 2023
    Pair of George II Carved Giltwood Armchairs, Circa 1760. UPDATE: THESE SOLD FOR $152,400

    This pair of Irish George II carved giltwood armchairs, one bearing the label R Stahan and Co., come up at Sotheby’s in New York on October 17 as part of a sale of Classic Design: Furniture, Silver and Ceramics. They are estimated at $100,000-$150,000. The chairs may have been commissioned by Charles Moore, 1st Earl of Charleville, an Irish peer and wealthy owner of large estates in County Limerick and Charleville Forest in County Offaly, who died without issue in February 1794, the estates passing to his nephew John Bury in 1764, who would himself pass away only six months later, leaving his newborn son Charles William as heir. Charles would become an Irish MP and later peer and was made Earl of Charleville 2nd creation in 1806. He used his large fortune to commission the architect Francis Johnston (d.1829) to erect a new house on the Charleville estate between 1800 and 1812 in the form of a medieval castle. Following the death of the 5th Earl without issue in 1875, Charleville Castle and its contents passed to his sister Lady Julia, who had married Captain Kenneth Howard-Bury (1846–1885), and their son Charles would inherit the estate in 1931.

    Charles Kenneth Howard-Bury was a colourful character from the waning generations of the Anglo-Irish elite. Following his education at Eton and Sandhurst he joined the army and was sent to India, where he developed a taste for exploration, learnt Hindi and Urdu and went on tiger and crocodile hunting expeditions. After distinguished service in Flanders during World War I he returned to India and went on the first British expedition to Mount Everest, where he described wolves’ footprints in the snow that were mistranslated as belonging to an ‘Abominable Snowman’, thus giving rise to the expression for the first time. On his return to Ireland he resided at Belvedere House, a lakeside Palladian villa designed by Robert Cassels in 1740 inherited from his cousin Charles Brinsley Marlay in 1912. Whilst serving in the army during World War II, Howard-Bury met the RAF pilot Rex Beaumont (1914-1988) who became his companion and settled in Ireland after the war. A former Shakespearean actor informally known as ‘Sexy Rexy’, Beaumont and Howard-Bury became prominent local figures and entertained lavishly, their guests reputedly including Princess Grace of Monaco, the Crown Prince of Sweden, Charlie Chaplin and Elizabeth Arden.

    The sale includes two pieces attributed to William Moore, a c1780 demi lune side table ($30,000-$50,000) and a c1790 demi lune commode ($50,000-$80,000).

    An Irish George III Harewood, Tulipwood, Burr Yew and Sycamore Marquetry Demilune Commode attributed to William Moore of Dublin, Circa 1790. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $20,320


    Friday, October 6th, 2023
    Pablo Picasso – Compotier et guitare,1932

    One of Pablo Picasso’s most unique still lifes, containing coded references to his famed “Golden muse,”
    Marie-Thérèse Walter at a time when their clandestine affair remained a secret, comes up at Sotheby’s Modern evening auction in New York on November 13. Compotier et guitare was completed the day before Valentine’s Day while in the throes of his secretive affair with Marie-Thérèse. It was not until later in 1932 with the opening of Picasso’s celebrated retrospective at the Galeries Georges Petit in Paris that their affair would become public. Selected by Picasso to star in this exhibition (the first and only time he installed his own work), Compotier et guitare’s veiled portrait was exhibited alongside numerous portraits of Marie-Thérèse, announcing to the world that she was his muse. It is estimated in the region of $25 million, placing it among the most valuable still lifes by the artist at auction.


    Thursday, October 5th, 2023
    Gerhard Richter – Abstraktes Bild. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Gerhard Richter’s Abstract Painting is among the highlights at Sotheby’s Contemporary evening sale in London on October 12. It is estimated at £16-£20 million. Other contemporary highlights including a study for a portrait by Francis Bacon and art by Philip Guston, Robert Ryman, Sigmar Polke and Sean Scully.

    This October, Sotheby’s will once more bring together two series of sales in London and Paris, coinciding with the world renowned Frieze and Paris + par Art Basel art fairs. The auctions will present a diverse selection of works by the most exciting artists emerging on the auction scene, alongside established titans of the 20th and 21st centuries.


    Thursday, September 14th, 2023
    Freddie Mercury’s silver moustache comb, Tiffany & Co., late 20th century. 

    THE top estimate was £600 but Freddie Mercury’s silver moustache comb sold for a whopping £152,400 at the final day of the Queen frontman’s series of online sales at Sotheby’s in London yesterday. The little comb by Tiffany and Co. ignited the public interest at the month long exhibition at Sotheby’s before the series of Freddie Mercury sales.