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RTÉ is selling four paintings at an auction in London today

The struggling broadcaster is selling a fifth artwork in a private sale.

Image: PA

FOUR PAINTINGS OWNED by RTÉ are going up for auction at Sotheby’s in London today as the cash strapped national broadcaster seeks to raise funds.

Two of the artworks up for sale are ‘Táin’ and ‘The Massing of the Armies’ by Louis Le Brocquy which were commissioned by RTÉ in 1966 and 2000.

The other artworks going under the hammer are ‘Abstract Painting’ by William Scott and ‘Inscape ‘Mozaga” by Tony O’Malley.

Sotheby’s price guide estimates that Le Brocquy’s ‘Táin’ will fetch between €82,000-€117,000, while his larger ‘The Massing of the Armies’ work has an estimate selling price of between €140,600 and €211,000.

William Scott’s ‘Abstract Painting’ is estimated to sell for €175,000-€293,000, while the guide price for O’Malley’s ‘Inscape ‘Mozaga” ranges from €17,500 to €29,300.

Another painting, George Campbell’s ‘Symphony Orchestra’, was also listed with an estimated price of between €26,950 and €41,000, however the lot has been withdrawn and the sale will be handled privately.

If all of the paintings, including ‘Symphony Orchestra’, sell for the higher price they would raise €691,300, however RTÉ would have to pay Sotheby’s commission on the sales. 

The broadcaster was moved to release a statement about the rate of commission last month after prominent Irish auctioneer Ian Whyte said that Sotheby’s traditionally charges 25% of the sale, which exceeds what is permitted by public procurement guidelines. 

The statement said that it could not disclose the details of the agreement but the commission rate being charged is “considerably below the EU tender level”.

RTÉ’s takings from the sales will be further reduced because it has to split the proceeds from ‘Táin’ and ‘Abstract Painting’ with the Arts Council because it helped fund the original purchases.

RTÉ financial situation has been under considerably pressure in recent years, recording losses of €20 million in 2016 and €13 million in 2018. Director General Dee Forbes has called for changes to the TV licence structure to offset losses.

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Ceimin Burke

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