Works of art by Peter Paul Rubens, David Teniers the Younger, and Francesco Guardi are among a small group of carefully selected Old Masters from Russborough House that will be sold at Christie’s in London in July.
They are being sold by the Alfred Beit Foundation to safeguard the long-term future of Russborough in Wicklow.
Two magnificent panels by Rubens — ‘Head of a Bearded Man’ (£2m-£3m/€2.75m-€4.12m) and ‘Venus and Jupiter’ (£1.2m-£1.8m) — lead the paintings to be offered.
A ‘Kermesse’ (religious festival) by Teniers the Younger dating to the 1640s is estimated at £1.2m-£1.8m; ‘Adoration of the Shepherds’ by Adriaen van Ostade is estimated at £600,000-£800,000; and a pair of Venetian views by Franceso Guardi is estimated at £300,000-£500,000.
They will all come up at Christie’s Old Master evening auction in London on July 9. They will be exhibited in New York, Hong Kong, and London prior to the sale.
Three further lots to be sold are Francois Boucher’s ‘Aurore et Amour Tenant Une Torche’ (£30,000-£50,000) at the Old Master Drawings auction on July 7. Two views of Yew Court, Scalby, Scarborough, by John Atkinson Grimshaw will come up at the sale of Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite, and British Impressionist Art on June 16. They are estimated at £50,000-£70,000 each.
Built almost 300 years ago Russborough is in continuing need of restoration and improvements to the main house, wings, colonnades, outbuildings, estate grounds, walkways, water features, and visitor facilities.
Acquired in 1952 by Alfred Beit, it was the scene of four major art robberies. In 1986 Beit and his wife made a gift of many of the most celebrated works from their collection to the National Gallery of Ireland, which are all now housed in the Beit Wing at the gallery.
Following the four notorious robberies in the 1970s, ’80s, and early 2000s, six of the eight lots being auctioned have not been in view or even in storage at the house for many years.
Judith Woodworth of the Alfred Beit Foundation said the roofs, stonework, electrical, and heating systems all need attention, and the interiors need refurbishment and conservation.
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