This week I expressed my disappointment at the news that 22 pieces of art which are owned by a NAMA debtor will be sold in New York and London in November.
The collection includes a precious Irish piece, ironically titled Man Doing Accounts, which was painted by Jack Butler Yeats. It is disappointing that we aren’t auctioning off a piece with such importance to the Irish art industry in Ireland, or at least auctioning it here first.
Our auction houses are struggling like many other businesses, and it is disappointing that NAMA would consider it appropriate to move these pieces to London and New York without considering one of our own auctioneers – after all, these are employers like any other business. Art pieces regularly have reserve prices, and if not sold, could then be passed on to other auction houses, so the idea that they may be sold cheaply here doesn’t stand to reason either.
I would like to see a greater effort to keep our works in this country, though it seems we are content to not even be seen to make an effort. It would help our auctioneers, help employment in the nation and maybe even help keep some of the art here”.
I can only hope that – if such an event were to come to pass again – there would be greater consideration given to auctioning these pieces in Ireland first, and giving us first option, before then moving to international markets.