The publication of the catalogue for the 7th July 2016 Christie’s Old Masters London Auction includes three Alfred Beit Foundation paintings, which were withdrawn from the 2015 London auction following a successful An Taisce legal challenge against the Export Licence obtained by Christies last year.

The three paintings up for renewed sale are:
LOT 38 GUARDI, ST MARKS SQUARE VENICE 200,000-320,000 Euro
LOT 39 GUARDI, VIEW WITH DOGES PALACE 200,000-320,000 Euro

After the withdrawal from the 2015 auction, there was widespread welcome that the Alfred Beit Foundation (ABF) sold the Teniers, Van Ostade and Rubens Bearded Man under the Section 1003 tax relief purchase scheme with the support of three private donors. These became part of the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland.

This has demonstrated the capacity of the ABF to attract major philanthropy, which now been undermined by the renewed placing of these paintings for auction. It is also damaging to the wider promotion of philanthropy in Ireland, a point raised by the Royal Irish Academy in response to the auction proposed last year.

Instead of sending art for export, An Taisce considers that the appropriate policy of the ABF should be to seek further philanthropic support within Ireland and internationally, for the endowment of Russborough, and for maintaining the Beit Collection paintings in Ireland.

An Taisce is requesting that the paintings be withdrawn from auction as the export licence obtained by Christies in 2015 has been declared ultra vires, and that alternative options to secure both Russborough and the Beit Collection be pursued.


Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 241 1995
email: [email protected]
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland

Notes: Link to Christies catalogue as follows: