Thursday 19 October 2017

Stand and deliver: security tight for portraits of outlaw

Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

UNDER armed security and in two separate shipments, historic paintings of folk hero Ned Kelly by one of Australia's greatest artists have arrived in Ireland.

The iconic portraits of the infamous bushranger are among 26 of Sidney Nolan's works which go on display at the Irish Museum of Modern Art next Friday.

Valued at €107m, the paintings were shipped under armed guard in purpose-built crates, with up to six in each container.

They were also delivered separately as a safety precaution; the first arrived last Saturday while the second arrived on Tuesday.

This is the first time for them to be displayed in Ireland and have only been shown outside of Australia in two other countries: New York in 1994 and Wellington, New Zealand in 2001.

IMMA has been planning the loan since 2008 and spent the past 12 months arranging security and insurance for the transfer.

Called 'nail to nail' in the art world, the museum was granted a government indemnity which insures the multi-million euro art work while in transit and until their safe return to the Australian National Gallery.

Nolan painted a series on Kelly depicting key moments in the life of the bushranger before he was hanged in the 1870s.

"The paintings are quite primitive. They're cultural icons and national treasures in Australia," said Mary Cremin of IMMA.

The exhibition runs from November 2 to January 27 at IMMA in Kilmainham.

Irish Independent

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