Dublin fine art auctioneers James Adam believe uncertainty regarding the euro has helped rather than hindered the Irish art market.
Adam's 2011 sales reached the €10m mark, a ten per cent increase
on 2010. Meanwhile, the average selling rate by lot rose from 70 to
Although well down on the halcyon days of the Celtic Tiger
(Adams posted sales of €17.5m in 2006), this is the second year in
a row that the St Stephens Green firm have recorded a ten per cent
increase in sales. It is a positive note on which to celebrate the
firm's 125 years in the fine art business.
The success of Adam's quarterly Irish art auctions contributed
significantly to the figures, with two artists in particular - Jack
B. Yeats and Paul Henry - performing strongly when estimated at
Yeats' Fair Day, Mayo brought a new Irish record
when it sold in September for €1m, making it the highest-priced
painting ever sold at auction in Ireland. Yeats' Jazz
Babies sold in December for €480,000 (it had last been
sold in Ireland in 1981 for the equivalent of €14,000), while good
paintings by Paul Henry averaged €70,000 each.
"I believe that many buyers saw, in good artworks, a safe haven
for their savings at a time when the euro has been under
considerable pressure," managing director James O'Halloran told
"Despite difficult economic conditions in Ireland, good quality
items are continuing to achieve strong prices, with the vast
majority of purchasers coming from this country. [Sales of €10m] is
a great result and one that shows that the company is heading in
the right direction after several hard years."
Moss Green figures
On the other side of the world, where the economy has been
notably strong, Australian auction house Moss
Green have also released buoyant figures.
A slew of single-owner auctions hs helped the Melbourne-based
firm to a 43% increase in sales totals, from Aus$9.9m to
Managing director Paul Sumner, a former chairman of Sotheby's
Olympia, also said that sales of Chinese art had contributed a
quarter of the entire sales total for the year.
Although only a fraction of the prices seen in London, New York
and Hong Kong, Moss Green were able to claim the record in
Australia for a Chinese work of art with the Aus$1.22m paid against
an estimate of $150,000-250,000 in November for a 15th century
Xuande mark and period gilt-bronze figure of Avalokitesvara. It
also set a record for a single piece of decorative art sold at
auction in Australia, said Mr Sumner.