Tony O’Reilly auctions part of art collection at auction

Former press baron Tony O’Reilly is understood to have sold some of his art collection, with a number of works having gone under the hammer at auction last week.

It is understood that 36 of the 45 paintings placed for auction were sold for a combined €444,000, including works by Jack B Yeats and Louis le Brocquy.

The sale was conducted by Dreweatts auction house at a fine art sale at its Donnington showroom last week. A spokesperson did not comment as to the identities of any of the vendors, but it is understood O’Reilly was among those selling artworks.

The spokesperson said: “The collection which sold last week at Dreweatts, Donnington Priory, Berkshire, realised £359,352, (hammer price plus buyer’s premium)” — around €440,000.

Among the items sold were ‘Study for a Thousand Heads’ by Louis le Brocquy, which went for £20,000, and ‘La Fête’ by Michael Farrell, which sold for £28,000.

Le Brocquy’s ‘Head Study of Nelson Mandela’ was among the works to exceed its estimated price, going for £13,000. Other items, such as ‘Possible Remedies: The Emigrant’ by Jack B Yeats, were unsold.

Mr O’Reilly, a former Irish international rugby player, made billions in his business career but suffered massive financial losses with the collapse of Waterford Wedgewood, of which he was chairman and lead shareholder.

The artworks sold last week do not represent the full extent of his collection, understood to include works by Monet and others.

Last year Mr O’Reilly sold his holiday home near Glandore in West Cork for €1.5m, some 18 months after it first came on the market with a guide price of €2.75m. What was his principle residence, the 750-acre Castlemartin Estate in Kildare, was sold in late 2014 for €28m to a US billionaire.


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