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Taking art: bank vault is no place for O'Reilly's Monet to be locked away


Sir Anthony O'Reilly

Sir Anthony O'Reilly

Sir Anthony O'Reilly

Monet, Monet, Monet. Ireland's first billionaire Tony O'Reilly was also the one and only Irish man to own an Monet. He dropped $24.2m (€17.8m) on the impressionist work 'Le Portail (Soleil)' in a Sotheby's auction 14 years ago this week.

The painting was one of a number of studies of Rouen Cathedral from 1893 (the Met's version is shown here) and it held special significance for the tycoon as he'd cycled through the city as a teenager.

It's also worth a few bob. The market for Monet is recovering after the financial crash, with the artist's 'Nymphaes' selling for $27m in New York just two weeks ago.

O'Reilly and his advisers are said to be locked in talks with AIB this weekend over a planned court action later this week, where AIB is seeking summary judgement against the former Indo chairman and some related firms.

The art collections amassed by the Irish banks during the boom have shown that they were dreadful philistines.

It'd be a terrible shame if O'Reilly's Monet was to end up locked away in a vault at AIB as part of a deal to settle the €45m debt lawsuit.

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