Baltimore, Maryland (PressExposure) June 28, 2011 -- http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/independent-woman/celebrity-news-gossip/great-art-seeks-a-thriving-economy-521206.html
Sunday Oct 31 1999
Ciara Ferguson reports on the sale of world-class art that Ireland has been chosen to host a measure of our international esteemTAGGED as the art sale of the century, and certainly the most prestigious commercial exhibition ever held in Ireland, Bassano to Bacon is an incredible collection of paintings, drawings and sculpture with an estimated worth of between £50m and £100m, which will be displayed at the K Club from November 4 to 7.
Flirty summer dresses
British Academy TV Awards Red Carpet
Billboard Music Awards red carpet
Spanning five centuries, this "selling exhibition" will feature some of the greatest world-class artists from the Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo eras as well as 19th-century Realists and Impressionists. Major 20th-century art movements such as Fauvism, Cubism and Surrealism are also represented.
Included among 80 works will be a landscape by Cezanne; a still life by Georges Braque; two drawings by Degas; a watercolour and an oil by Andre Derain; a pencil drawing by Matisse; an oil by Monet; two paintings by Picasso; a surrealist landscape by Rousseau; and a pencil drawing of Saint Remy by van Gogh, as well as The Wild Ones by Jack B Yeats (which set a world record for Irish art last summer when it was bought for £1.2m). Also featured will be Canaletto, Bassano and Francis Bacon, whose studio has been acquired by the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art.
That Ireland should be the chosen venue for such a rich sale surely consolidates the tremendous confidence in Irish spending power. For most of us it is an opportunity to view on our home ground work by these great artists.
It all started about a year ago when a young entrepreneur and art lover, Paul Tiernan, co-owner of the Ormonde Quay Hotel, came up with the idea and contacted his friend Ray Perman of the Grosvenor Gallery in London. Perman contacted prime dealers in London Simon Dickinson, David Kerr, James Roundell and Daniel Katz who all joined forces to assemble this wondrous exhibition for Irish eyes. The organisers are expecting buyers from London, Paris and New York. Many of these works have not been seen in 25 years.
Paddy Duffy, former adviser to the Taoiseach, is clearly delighted to be the publicity organiser in his first major PR coup in his new role. One of the reasons the organisers brought him on board was to get a feel for how it should be run.
It was decided that the sale would take place on the Wednesday by invitation, but that the exhibition would be open to the public from Thursday to Sunday with an admission fee of £5 to go towards the Bacon studio.
"After a series of those tentative talks that go on between professionals, the London dealers contacted other dealers all over the world and put together this unique collection of 80 masterpieces," Paddy Duffy says.
"Nothing like this has ever been assembled before and certainly not in Ireland. You won't be surprised to hear that the dealers are all staying in the K Club," he says. "There are huge risks and needless to say huge security measures in place. One of the reasons we chose the K Club is that it is guardable."
ART is close to Paddy Duffy's heart and he explains that his interest began very early. "I entered the Christian Brothers a callow youth of 12 and emerged almost a cultured man of 20 having been introduced to music, Greek and Roman civilisation and art. I have a life-long passion for art, and every year I spend a week or two visiting the great galleries of the world."
Duffy had been Bertie Ahern's right-hand man for the past 20 years. He was his speechwriter for the past 10 years and, he says, his closest friend and collaborator from the time he started.
"I resigned in June over a minor issue, but in fairness to everybody I felt that as a professional that's what I should do. Politics is a very fine art of propriety and accountability, and if you fail in any of those you do the decent thing and resign."
Now he's free of the chains of government, he plans to give young Irish artists their first exhibition, "as a labour of love", he says.
"I'm told the world of art is every bit as political as politics, but we'll see. I'm now set up as an art and business PR consultant and this is the first major exhibition I've been involved in. There is huge international interest in this and the buzz that this will bring to Ireland both here and abroad is wonderful.
"One of the most exciting aspects is that these hard-nosed business people and I would venture to suggest that art people are amongst the hardest-nosed have decided to bring it to Ireland. Those people that have been invited will probably understand it better than we do because, according to economic journals, it is quite clear that Ireland is the shining light in Europe.
"The international business community understands that Ireland is a thriving economy with many new home-made millionaires, and that it also houses many international money people. I wouldn't even be surprised if some of our former citizens might wish to come back from their tax exile for one of their 90 days to attend this sale."
Duffy says the Mona Lisa would have been a modest painting in its day, but its uniqueness is something else. Likewise, even a postage stamp-sized work of art by Picasso is bound to fetch more than a Francis Bacon.
"Something I am personally interested in is becoming involved in recreating the aura and excitement of when Hugh Lane's bequest was made. Francis Bacon lived in England and was considered by many to be a British artist, but like George Bernard Shaw he is one of ours. The recreation of Bacon's studio at the Hugh Lane will bring a whole new generation of international art people to Dublin.
"Our artistic heritage began much earlier in the form of manuscripts, treasuries of stories and songs and gold work from the monasteries. After that it was dark in Ireland while the origins of all this international art was forming with the patronage of the various princes. Now there has been a wonderful blossoming of art all around the country and that can be an important industry. What we are seeing in this exhibition is the fruit of centuries of artistic patronage in Europe."