Normally the sale of a corporate art collection is signalled well in advance. Not so in the case of the former Anglo-Irish Bank, which has cost the Irish taxpayer an estimated 25 billion. The banks collection is to be sold with what appears to be undue haste. Auctioneers James Adam will conduct the sale in Dublin on September 3. This has only just been announced. Estimates, which range from 50 to 12,000, are on the low side. On offer are 134 works by Stephen McKenna, Louis le Brocquy, Pauline Bewick, Felim Egan, Martin Gale and other artists. The entire collection is worth an estimated 150,000. Anglo previously donated 18 artworks to the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
After its collapse it was re-named the IBRC. It was put into liquidation in February and the sale is being carried on the instructions of the liquidator, KPMG. A question mark remains over the wisdom of putting a collection which includes many leading Irish art names on the market at this short notice just before the autumn selling season proper for Irish art gets underway. Ireland remains mired in recession and the Irish art market, though it has shown itself to be suprisingly resilient, cannot be described as buoyant right now.
Here is a small selection. The catalogue is on-line.
UPDATE: A total of 93 per cent of 134 lots sold and achieved 281,000, twice the expected minimum. The highest price of 17,000 was paid for Stephen McKenna’s Basket and Vessels.The six paintings by Pauline Bewick, depicting Irish wildlife made a combined total of €44,900. Sean Scully’s etchings all sold well over estimate with his ‘Raval No 1’ making the top price of €6600.
The salesrooms was packed with over two hundred bidders for the entire duration of the sale with enthusiastic and good natured bidding all round. Phone and internet bidders competed with the attendees.
Martin Gale RHA (b.1949) His Land (5,000-8,000).
Pauline Bewick (b.1935) The Irish Hare Acrylic (3,000-5,000).
Stephen McKenna PRHA (b.1939) Basket and Vessels (8,000-12,000).