Alleged ‘forgeries’ withdrawn from Dublin art auction

Gormleys withdrew 17 paintings from its auction at the Radisson St Helen's Hotel in south Dublin on Tuesday evening. Ballsbridge art dealer Dominic
Milmo-Penny spotted some paintings in the catalogue which he believed were "not right" and raised his concerns with the auctioneer about the authenticity of works ascribed to Walter Frederick Osborne, Roderic O'Conor and Aloysius O'Kelly.

Among the paintings withdrawn was Women Washing Clothes in a Canal by Walter Frederick Osborne, which had an estimate of €20,000-€30,000.

Auctioneer Oliver Gormley said he had accepted the paintings "in good faith" from the heirs of the late Mervyn Solomon, a well-known Belfast art collector. He told The Irish Times he had contacted the vendors who said they "had no idea at all" that the paintings might not be authentic. Mr Gormley said he had now returned the paintings to the owners who were "getting an expert to check them all".

Mr Milmo-Penny, of Milmo Fine Art in Ballsbridge said he had been concerned about forgeries in the Irish art market since 1980, and was planning to lodge a formal complaint about the lack of regulation in the fine art auctioneering sector to the Property Services Regulatory Authority. He said the Irish art market was subject to “light-touch regulation by a poodle with no teeth, when we need a Rottweiler”.