Several banks have made smart moves recently by selling some of their best works of art, including the Giacometti sculpture that briefly held the world’s record for a work of art sold at auction. The Irish Times discovers that the Bank of Ireland’s recently announced plan to sell it’s collection doesn’t quite have the same sheen of smarts as the other bank sales:
Can the same be said of Bank of Ireland’s decision, announced last weekend, to sell the 2,000 or so works of art that make up its collection? The stated valuation is somewhere between €4 million and €5 million, up from about €1.35 million five years ago but, on the face of it, if national or municipal institutions want to secure any of the works, they will have to bid for them on the open market.
However, look more closely and it emerges that the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Imma) has already received two substantial donations of works from the Bank’s collection, one in 1999, totalling 21 pieces and another in 2008, when a further 25 pieces were given as Heritage Gifts.
Like other institutions, Imma does not accept gifts lightly. It’s important to uphold the quality of the national collections and it’s also expensive to maintain and conserve works of art. So we can be reasonably sure that first-rate pieces from the bank’s collection have already gone to Imma. That is indeed the case.
Emptying the Artistic Vaults (Irish Times)