Anglo’s art collection to fetch just €150k

Anglo Irish Bank’s corporate art collection to be sold at auction next month, has been valued at just €150,000 — a drop in the ocean compared to €25bn it cost the State to bail out the failed bank.

Anglo’s art collection to fetch just €150k

Among the 130-odd paintings, prints, sculptures, and photographs are fine works by Louis le Brocquy, Sean Scully, Tony O’Malley, Stephen McKenna, Felim Egan and Pauline Bewick.

Estimates range from just €50 to €12,000 for the works with the highest for Stephen McKenna’s Basket and Vessels.

The impressive collection was amassed over a number of years and displayed in Anglo’s public and private offices.

The bank, since renamed the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, was earlier this year placed in liquidation by Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

Money raised from the sale of the works will be given over to the special liquidators.

One of the more striking city scenes is Kevin Sanquest’s monumental panoramic bird’s eye view of Cork, not least for its size which — at 305cm wide — will require a significant wall to hang on. It carries an estimated price of between €400 and €600.

Another of Sanquest’s paintings, of the Cork offices of Anglo Irish Bank, is priced at between €200 and €300 for a little piece of modern Irish history.

The auction takes place on Sept 3 at Adam’s sale rooms on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin, just a few doors away from the offices once occupied by Anglo Irish Bank.

Adam’s auctioneer, James O’Halloran, said the total estimate for the artworks was at the “lower end” of the scale.

“They are not just whimsical buys made by a local manager. From what I can see, there is a considerable lot of good paintings that were bought from serious galleries.

“I don’t know who it was that bought them. Everyone involved is long gone but, based on my experience, the collection was put together by people who knew where they were at.”

He said art prices were probably down by as much as 50% on 2006 prices — about a year before the recession hit.

“But, sure, isn’t everything?”

Anglo donated 18 art works, valued at €160,000, to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in May 2011 along with signage that hung over its headquarters.

In February last year, AIB, another bailed out bank, gave 39 of its finest art pieces worth over €5m back to the taxpayer.

Bank of Ireland, which has also received State support, has been disposing of its art collections through a series of auctions with the proceeds used to fund community art organisations and charities throughout the country.

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