Rare sculpture-only art auction in Dublin

Chiens Lévriers (greyhounds), bronze on marble base, by Emmanuel Frémiet, is estimated at €700-€1,000 at Morgan O’Driscoll’s Auction

Chiens Lévriers (greyhounds), bronze on marble base, by Emmanuel Frémiet, is estimated at €700-€1,000 at Morgan O’Driscoll’s Auction


Sculpture, because it is generally intended for open-air display in public spaces is often life-size and often regarded as simply too big for private art collections and display indoors. But many sculptors produce pieces, including “mini” versions of their large public commissions, suitable for a domestic setting. Sculpture also is often perceived as unaffordable. But a rare ‘sculpture-only’ art auction in Dublin on Monday evening has a selection of pieces with many of the estimates under €1,000.

Most of the 95 Lots are from the estate of a private collector and will be sold without reserve. Auctioneer Morgan O’Driscoll said the collection, featuring work by Irish and international sculptors, was assembled during “many years of trawling through galleries and auctions in London and Paris” as well as acquisitions made in Irish galleries and directly from artists’ studios.

The subjects range from the traditional figurative to modern abstract. A 19th century French piece titled Chiens Lévriers (greyhounds), bronze on marble base, by Emmanuel Frémiet, best-known for his Joan of Arc in Paris, is estimated at €700-€1,000. A 21st century piece by Dublin sculptor Brian Byrne, titled Paranoid Android, stainless & mild steel , is €600-€900.

At the opposite end of the price scale is a 3.1m high bronze bird titled Éan Mór (€60,000-€80,000) by Bréon O’Casey, who died in England in 2011 and was the artist son of the playwright Seán O’Casey. Éan Mór was cast in 2006, in an edition of three; the first is in the grounds of Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park, Dublin; and, the second in a private estate in Co Down.

Other prominent Irish sculptors featured include John Behan whose Ghost Famine Ship is €15,000-€20,000; and, Conor Fallon (best-known for Pegasus outside Independent Newspapers printing works at Citywest on the Naas Road, whose Four Circus Horses Turning’, number two from an edition of nine, is €1,500-€2,500. There are two life-size bronzes by the Co Antrim-born Stephen McKeown: Irish Wolfhound (€3,000-€5,000); and Donkey (€6,000-€9,000).

Chestnut Foetus, a bronze, dated 2007, and number five from an edition of eight, is estimated at €600-€900 and is one of 10 lots by Patrick O’Reilly – the largest number from a single artist – who is best-known for his bronze teddy bears at the O2 venue in Dublin and on the seafront at Greystones, Co Wicklow.

The catalogue is online at morganodriscoll.com where each lot is illustrated by a photorgrpah showing the sculpture beside a champagne bottle to enable prospective bidders to judge its scale. First-time buyers need to be aware that buying sculpture (unlike paintings) doesn’t necessarily mean that you are acquiring a unique work of art. Sculptures are generally cast in numbered limited editions and, until the original mould is destroyed, more “original” copies can, in theory be made. Morgan O’Driscoll’s Sculpture Auction RDS, Minerva Suite, Merrion Rd, Dublin, June 9th at 6pm. Viewing from 11m, Saturday and Sunday, June 7th and 8th and from 10am on Monday.

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