Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Bankable Artworks...

Investors snap up 'bankable' artworks...

WORKS from famous landscape artists are being snapped up by investors as 'bankable' options for their nest eggs.

Antiques, furniture, art, gold, stamps and coins are once again being purchased as long-term investments, according to people in the auction industry.

It comes as property values continue to fall and confidence in the stock markets -- and particularly in bank shares -- remains fragile.

Now those with money to invest towards their retirement are looking to the art world.

"They think they (paintings) are bankable and they are probably right," said Ian Whyte, managing director of Dublin auction house Whyte's.

"I remember particularly in the late '70s, when inflation was running at 18pc to 20pc a year, people were purchasing tangible art collections, antiques, furniture, stamps and coins.

"People are uncertain about banks and they want to buy into something tangible. Property is not even proving attractive and it is interesting to sit and look at a painting hanging on a wall."

A traditional Paul Henry landscape last seen in public almost a quarter of a century ago is expected to cause a flurry of bids when it goes under the hammer later this month.

Mr Whyte said the sought-after work -- which dates from 1925-1935 and has an estimated price tag of between €60,000 and €80,000 -- had all the essential hallmarks of a Paul Henry work, including the cottages, turf stacks, looming mountain and domineering sky.


Fine art expert Dr SB Kennedy, who penned a biography on Henry, who died in 1958, pinpointed the view as that of Achill Head, with the Croaghaun mountain in Co Mayo in the background.

A work by Henry, 'Fisherman in a Currach', fetched the highest price for an artwork at auction in Ireland last year when it was sold for €145,000.

Mr Whyte said Paul Henry's paintings, watercolours by Jack B Yeats and works by eccentric figurative Belfast artist Markey Robinson were still viewed as long-term investments.

A number of early works from Robinson have been estimated at €5,000 to €7,000 for the 200-lot Irish art auction at Whyte's off Molesworth Street in Dublin on May 30.

However, Mr Whyte added: "I would have been getting €15,000 to €20,000 a few years ago in the boom time."

Report by Louise Hogan - Irish Independent

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