Anglo art collection up for auction this evening

Total of 134 paintings, prints, sculpture and photographs for sale at Dublin saleroom

Auctioneer James O’Halloran said the Anglo Irish Bank collection included “some high quality works” by well-known modern Irish artists including Louis le Brocquy, Martin Gale, Felim Egan and Stephen McKenna. Photograph: Cyril Byrne /The Irish Times

Auctioneer James O’Halloran said the Anglo Irish Bank collection included “some high quality works” by well-known modern Irish artists including Louis le Brocquy, Martin Gale, Felim Egan and Stephen McKenna. Photograph: Cyril Byrne /The Irish Times

Tue, Sep 3, 2013, 12:54

The corporate art collection of the former Anglo Irish Bank is being sold at public auction in Dublin this evening at 6pm.

A total of 134 paintings, prints, sculpture and photographs are for sale on the instructions of the bank’s liquidators, KPMG.

The collection has been valued at just €150,000 – a fraction of the estimated €25 billion which it has cost the State to bail out the failed bank.

The art had been bought by local managers to decorate Anglo’s former offices in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Sligo and Galway.

The bank, which was renamed IBRC after its collapse and bailout, was placed into liquidation by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in February.

Evening auction

Adam’s Fine Art Auctioneers said the collection would be auctioned in its St Stephen’s Green saleroom this evening.

Auctioneer James O’Halloran said the collection included “some high quality works” by well-known modern Irish artists including Louis le Brocquy, Martin Gale, Felim Egan and Stephen McKenna.

Estimates range from “just €50 up to €12,000”.

The full list is available at iti.ms/17wx1YH.

Among the highlights are “six monumental watercolours by Pauline Bewick which represent Irish wildlife”, with subjects including the salmon, the wolfhound and the hare, each estimated at €3,000–€5,000.

Public interest

Art collectors aside, the auction is likely to attract public interest from Anglo “souvenir hunters” seeking a memento of the country’s most expensive and catastrophic business failure.

Among the less expensive lots are a painting of the Cork offices of Anglo Irish Bank by Kevin Sanquest (estimated at €200-€300) and a framed, signed photograph of Paul O’Connell playing rugby for Munster (€100-€150).

Anglo had previously donated to the Irish Museum of Modern Art 18 artworks – paintings and sculpture worth an estimated €160,000 – along with the signage which hung over its Dublin headquarters.

Among the other bailed out banks, AIB has donated its art collection to the State, while Bank of Ireland is disposing of its art collection through a series of auctions. It has promised to ring-fence the proceeds for cultural philanthropy.