Antiques and Fine Art: The industry is adapting

The online sector is growing rapidly as bidders do business from home, reports Des O’Sullivan
Antiques and Fine Art: The industry is adapting
Thin Lizzy Tour Poster at Aidan Foley’s online sale next Monday (€150-€200).

The online sector is growing rapidly as bidders do business from home, reports Des O’Sullivan.

Signs are that many in the art, antiques, and auction industry are beginning to adapt to the lockdown in ways that would have been unimaginable a decade or two ago.

As people at home and around the world are confined to their homes the internet is providing much-needed distraction at a time when it was never needed more. The online sector is growing rapidly.

Before the virus struck, information about online bidding activity from across the auction house sector was that on average some 50% of bidding was now coming from internet bidders, according to Barneby’s, the big online search engine for art and collectibles.

The first wave of the virus had a negative impact, almost immediately followed by a bounce-back working from either their mobile phones or their laptops.

The market for contemporary art, always subject to the most speculation, has taken a hit but smaller auction houses have shown an agile approach and adapted quickly.

In Ireland, just as some bigger art sales by Adam’s and Whyte’s were temporarily postponed, a number of auctioneers moved to online-only auctions at the last minute.

This proved to be so successful that both Aidan Foley and Damien Matthews will hold second online sales next week.

Morgan O’Driscoll moved his big Irish and International Art Sale online and it will take place next Tuesday evening.

In Dublin, de Veres opened its art sale catalogue to offers and this resulted in a huge influx of inquiries and bids. A total of 65 lots were sold for more than €100,000.

Morgan O’Driscoll has some big-ticket items on offer including Celtic Cross in a west of Ireland landscape by Paul Henry (€150,000-€250,000), Whik Wood by Ivon Hitchens (€60,000-90,000), Landscape with Figures by George Barret (€60,000-€90,000), Altar by Damien Hirst (€17,500-€25,000), Roxboro Road Bus Stop V by John Shinnors (€15,000-€20,000), Spring Bogland, Ballinaboy by Kenneth Webb (€10,000-€15,000), Abstract Composition by William Scott (€6,000-9,000), and three pieces by Jeff Koons, one of the most expensive living artists in the world.

‘Balloon Swan (Yellow)’ by Jeff Koons at Morgan O’Driscoll’s Irish and International online art sale next Tuesday.
‘Balloon Swan (Yellow)’ by Jeff Koons at Morgan O’Driscoll’s Irish and International online art sale next Tuesday.

They are Balloon Rabbit (Red), Balloon Monkey (Blue), and Balloon Swan (Yellow). All date to 2017.

They are all from numbered editions of 999 in porcelain painted with chrome and published by Bernaudaud, Limoges, France, with signature, title, and date on the underside. Each one is estimated at €15,000-€20,000.

Aidan Foley will have two separate live internet auctions in Sixmilebridge next Monday and Tuesday, each with around 300 lots and starting at noon.

On Monday there is a choice of rare Irish music posters from the collection of well known RTÉ presenter Lorcan Murray, including Thin Lizzy’s biggest concert in Ireland.

Tuesday’s sale will include Persian rugs, art, antique furniture, and collectibles.

Matthews of Oldcastle, Co Meath, will have an online sale with 390 lots of jewellery, gold, silver, watches, and Oriental lots at 6.30pm on Tuesday.Estimates range from €20 to €20,000.

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