Bendor Grosvenor pointed to this story in the Irish Times where the Beit Foundation is making noises about pulling their pictures from Christie’s Old Masters sale after an uproar concerning the works of art that have been held in storage for many years after several thefts at Russborough House in Ireland:
Foundation chairwoman Judith Woodworth said it had received “generous proposals” on behalf of some private Irish donors for the “possible” purchase of the artworks.
“In order to explore this promising offer and conscious of the request of the Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys for a postponement, I have taken the decision to propose to the board that the sale is postponed, [And]that the foundation enters into negotiations with Christie’s to arrange that and remove the artworks from the July sale,” she said.
Grosvenor adds some valuable updates here:
Update – a reader tells me that when, last week, the Beit Foundation trustess refused to withdraw the works, they cited (to the Irish Arts Minister) a €1.4m fee payable to Christie’s. More here.
Update II – Reuters reports that the proposed rescue deal involves an Irish tax relief scheme – and also that if the plans don’t work out, then a sale will be back on the agenda in October. Quite why none of this was explored earlier, long before a sale at Christie’s was planned, is a mystery. It sounds to me as if Russborough needs some new trustees.
Update III – All hail one of the trustess, Carmel O’Sullivan, who has consistently argued against the sale. And here in the Irish Times is an interview with the late Sir Alfred and Lady Beit, in which they say that their express wish is the keep the collection intact.
Beit Foundation board set to postpone art sale (Irish Times)