Sign of times Bank of Ireland sells off collection
It's a sign of our troubled times that Bank of Ireland is putting its art collection up for sale, but there are expected to be plenty of buyers for the first 160 pieces to be sold next month.
Adams, which is handling the November 24 auction, says there is still a strong market for art and that Irish buyers, particularly the over-55s, have money to spend and are showing interest in the more realistic prices on offer.
Bank of Ireland is initially selling 160 of its 2,000-piece art collection which is valued at €5m and includes pieces by Louis le Broquy, Paul Henry, Terry O'Malley and Robert Ballagh.
The collection has adorned Bank of Ireland's banking halls and executive offices since the 1970s when the bank began to acquire art works from emerging Irish artists.
Adams managing director James O'Halloran says these pieces are the "best" of the bank's entire collection and will most likely remain in the hands of Irish owners.
Priced at €400 to €70,000, the batch of paintings, sculptures and lithographs, is a "lovely selection of popular culture" from the 20th Century, he says.
The most sought-after piece will be Louis le Broquy's image of James Joyce with a reserve of between €50,000 and €70,000, while at the cheaper end a Patrick Hickey lithograph is priced at between €400 and €600.
Mr O'Halloran says the prices are typically 50pc below those secured for Irish artworks at the height of the boom and that seasoned art collectors, who stood back in those heady days, have now returned to pick up the greater value on offer.
The bank intends to put the sale proceeds towards its Give Together community investment programme and is inviting community-based arts organisations to submit applications. AIB and Anglo Irish Bank will also be selling their art collections, although not immediately.