The proposed auction of the Beit paintings, as featured in the Summer and Autumn editions of the Irish Arts Review, has been postponed until June 2016.
The Alfred Beit Foundation had scheduled the sale of the paintings for July of this year to create an endowment fund for Russborough House. Following public outcry, including over 5,000 signatures on the Irish Arts Review Appeal to Save the Beit Paintings, the foundation deferred the auction until December to explore alternative solutions. The foundation planned to find donors in Ireland who would buy the paintings and donate them to the State in return for tax relief.
Michael Parsons reports today in the Irish Times that negotiations between the foundation and unnamed philanthropists are understood to be “ongoing” but “require more time to bring to a conclusion”. Businessman Lochlann Quinn, who is part-owner of Dublin’s Merrion Hotel and a well-known art collector, is believed to be willing to acquire A Village Kermesse Near Antwerp by David Teniers the Younger, a 17th-century Flemish artist, with the intention that it be donated to the National Gallery of Ireland. The painting, which depicts a village fair in 17th-century Flanders and dates from the 1640s, was described by experts at Christie’s as a “masterpiece” made when the artist “was at the peak of his fame”.
For the deal to proceed, a valuation of the painting would have to be agreed by the Revenue Commissioners and the donor would get 80 per cent tax relief on the price paid. The painting is estimated to be worth about €2 million.
The foundation has said the current negotiations involve only “some” of the paintings. It remains the foundation’s intention to proceed with the sale at Christie’s for any of the six paintings that fail to sell to the so-called “white knight” donors by June 2016.
To join the IAR Appeal to save the Beit Paintings and to view the paintings, visit irishartsreview.com/join-the-appeal
Read John Mulcahy’s Editor’s Letter, proposing to restructure the Beit Foundation, in the Autumn edition of the Irish Arts Review or in the Heritage section of this website.