Monday 18 December 2017

Artists pay price as values tumble

Works by major artists 'negotiable' at auction

Majella O'Sullivan and Ken Sweeney

EVEN art has not escaped the economic downturn, with work by some of Ireland's best-known artists taking a hammering on prices.

Percy French, Sean Keating and Pauline Bewick are just some of the big names in a sale at an art gallery in Tralee and, for the first time, the price is negotiable.

And a major auction of art from the Bank Of Ireland Collection due to take place at a Dublin auction house has been moved to the Shelbourne Hotel because of so much interest.

Adams auctioneers has said that due to "phenomenal interest" the sale of paintings and sculptures by artists including Paul Henry, Louis le Brocquy and Basil Blackshaw, intended for their rooms on St Stephen's Green, will now take place in The Great Room in The Shelbourne Hotel at 6.15pm tonight.

And director of the Bin Ban gallery in Tralee, Helen Shanahan, says uncertainty in the market has forced a dramatic re-evaluation of what clients are willing to spend on high quality Irish art.


"A lot of art was overpriced in my view and has now hit negative equity, but on the other hand, it's a brilliant time to buy if you have the money," Ms Shanahan said. The sale opens on Saturday but the collection can be viewed online at

In Dublin, James O'Halloran of Adams Auctioneers said health and safety concerns due to demand had prompted a change of venue for the sale of the BoI collection.

"We've had four thousand people in since we started viewings on Saturday. Many of them told us they were coming back for the auction so it's really a health and safety issue to move up to The Shelboune," he said.

Expected to raise €1.3m for the bank, which will be donated to Community Arts Charities in Ireland, the auction is not without controversy and is expected to be picketed by some Irish artists opposed to the sale.

Painter Robert Ballagh is among critics who believe that Bank Of Ireland should have donated their entire collection to a major Irish Institution

"With all the money they have received from the tax payer, the very least they might consider is to donate their entire art collection to the Irish people. We're being told all the time not to be so pessimistic. Yet here is a major financial institution sending out the most negative of signals -- off-load your art," he said.

Irish Independent

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