It’s been a few weeks in the art auction world. In just six days, November 9-15, Christie’s New York achieved more than a billion dollars in teeth with Jean-Michel Basquiat’s monumental canvas, The Guilt of Gold, at its Marquee Week sale, which set 31 new artist records $ 40 million. But perhaps even more interesting is that Michael Winkelmann achieved almost 30 million US dollars (27 million euros) under his pseudonym Beeple for his Human One, “a kinetic video sculpture with a corresponding dynamic NFT”. [non-fungible token]”. He’s had a few years, considering he’s just 40 years old, as two of his works grossed $ 99 million in eight months.
Later, on November 15, Sotheby’s achieved a white glove result for the Macklowe Collection, which not only sold every lot, but four works fetched more than $ 50 million each on a sale of over $ 676 million. ) in total. Not bad for a single owner collection – but owned by the now divorced couple Harry and Linda Macklowe, who could not agree on the value of their art treasure, so a judge ordered the auction. Bidders from 25 countries have signed up, and most of the top lots, including Alberto Giacometti’s Le Nez, which sold for more than $ 78 million (€ 69 million), have been acquired by buyers registered in Asia.
Currently open and ending November 23rd, is Sotheby’s annual sale of Irish art. Some pieces are from Michael Smurfit’s collection, many of which graced the walls of the K Club. In an interview with the auction house, Smurfit admits that he saw value in collecting good art “and the best possible pieces”. The retired businessman, who now lives in his 5,100 square meter home in Marbella, says the Spanish climate and atmosphere simply isn’t suitable for works by Irish artists painted in a cold climate.
The selection is impressive, and in addition to Sotheby’s Modern British and Irish Art Sale on November 23, there are 10 Jack B Yeats offers, from smaller watercolors priced from € 948 to € 1,422 and three medium oils: engravings (€ 59,230 to € 82,921 ). ; Boat Builder and the Great Face of Victory (both € 82,921 € 118,459), to A Welcome (€ 177,678-€ 296,129); A Nor ‘Western Town (€ 414,581 – € 651,484) and South Pacific (€ 236,866 – € 355,299).
For fans of William Orpen, the auction has three works, including a beautiful portrait of the artist’s wife, Grace by Candlelight (€ 59,230 – € 82,921). Sir John Lavery has four appearances with penitential scenes on Lough Derg, the Spanish coast and two beautiful portraits: Mrs Adam at dinner and Portrait of Mrs Charles Barker (both € 82,921 € 118,459). From the collection of Joseph Stephen Cullinan an oil industry pioneer and civil rights activist in the United States in the early 20th century. Executed in 1934 when Henry and Mabel Young were visiting Co Kerry. Cullinan acquired a number of Irish works, including another excellent example by Henry (Lot 12, West of Ireland Landscape € 142,142 – € 213,213) which can be seen in the Modern British and Irish Art Sale.
Contemporary offers from the Irish Art Sale are the Ink Sky Bindu Bowl by Grainne Watts, a fascinating ceramic from 2020 (€ 3,554-5,923) and an incredible piece of photorealism by Gottfried Helnwein, the Austro-Irish visual artist from Gurteen de la Castle Poer in Co Waterford. Red Sleep 24 ($ 47,394 $ 71,091) is muted under a purple wash and it would be easy to walk if you thought it was just a block of red color, but on closer inspection it reveals a child’s face. It’s so lifelike, when it was exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy last week, there were lots of “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd when people discovered that it was actually a painting. Louis le Brocquy, John Behan, Daniel O’Neill, Roderic O’Conor and a mammoth installation Double Portrait by Patrick Swift can also be seen in the auction. Overall, the Irish sale is expected to reach between € 3 million and € 4.6 million.
The current art auction of Dolan’s auction house in Galway is now open with more than 250 lots online and ends on November 29th.
A pen drawing by Sir William Orpen is interesting. The Roscommon Fusilier features a young woman, hand on hip, dressed in a military uniform sketched on paper from the Metropolitan School of Art of Kildare Street, where Orpen taught in the early years of the 20th century. The sitter was Vera Hone, and according to Niall Dolan from the auction house, this is one of the artist’s most famous works (10,000 to 12,500 euros). In fact, Hone was not alone his favorite model, she posed for so many paintings that Orpen numbered them instead of giving them titles.
A fabulous piece is Na Fir Ón Oiléan, an extraordinary study in charcoal by Sean Keating in which two island men have a heated discussion. It’s a sizeable drawing and the top lot in Dolan’s auction, listed at an estimate of € 16,000 to € 20,000.