Art sale to boost bank liquidators
More than 130 pieces of art from the corridors and offices of the bailed-out Anglo Irish Bank are going under the hammer.
The rogue lender's corporate art collection is expected to raise just 200,000 euro when auctioned next month on the orders of the bank's liquidators KPMG.
The bank, which was renamed the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), is expected to eventually cost the taxpayer 30 billion euro.
Auctioneer James O'Halloran, of Adams in Dublin, said the collection includes superb oil paintings by some of Ireland's best-known contemporary artists including Louis le Brocquy, Martin Gale, Felim Egan and Stephen McKenna.
Watercolours, prints, sculptures, photographs and street scenes are also among the lots, valued from 50 euro up to 12,000 euro.
"I think a lot of people are likely to be interested in picking up a piece of modern Irish history, but also something of very good quality at today's prices," he added.
The IBRC was placed into liquidation by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in February.
Mr O'Halloran said its art was bought to simply decorate offices, unlike collections at AIB and Bank of Ireland which were investments worth millions of euros.
"I don't think Anglo was thinking about investment," he said.
"They were just interested in nice contemporary art.
"They weren't thinking about what something would be worth in five to 10 years time, but they did buy some lovely pieces.
"A lot of the large works make them very impressive to look at."
The proceeds of the auction, which takes place on Tuesday September 3, will go to the special liquidators.
Highlights include a fine collection of canvases by Dublin artist Egan, six wildlife watercolours by Pauline Bewick, works by McKenna, the former President of the Royal Hibernian Academy, and le Brocquy's delicate watercolour from 1997 entitled Being.
There are also numerous paintings of street scenes in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway and Waterford by artists such as John Horan, Aiden Bradley, Rosita Manahan and Kevin Sanquest, whose panoramic birds-eye view of Cork city is 305cm wide.
Anglo previously donated 18 works worth an estimated 160,000 euro, along with the signage which hung over its Dublin headquarters, to the Irish Museum of Modern Art.