ESB sells surplus art for €160,000

‘Core collection’ not part of sale as ESB says it remains ‘committed to supporting the arts in Ireland’

Paintings deemed "surplus to requirements" from the corporate art collection of Ireland's State-owned electricity company, the ESB went under the hammer at Adam's auctioneers in Dublin on Tuesday evening. In the final Dublin art auction of 2014, of the 148 lots on offer, 84 per cent sold. Most of the paintings were in the "affordable" category and the total raised was €160,000.

The auctioneers said many of the paintings had been in storage and were being sold “due to the reduction in the number of buildings occupied by the ESB and the move to open-plan office space”.

The top lot was Spring Planting by Norah McGuinness, which made €16,000 – more than double its highest estimate (€5,000-€7,000). Other notable sales were Hidden Landscape by Sligo-born artist Patrick Collins, which was formerly in the collection of the late Sir Basil Goulding, €14,000 (€7,000-€10,000); Claddagh Quay, Galway by Cecil Maguire, €9,000 (€3,000-€5,000) and Road to the Beach by Patrick Hennessy, €4,200 (€3,000-€5,000).

The Village of Kilmallock, Co Limerick (pictured) – a photo-realist painting by Mark Kelly, estimated at just €1,000-€2,000, failed to sell so would make a wonderful last-minute Christmas gift for anyone linked to the area.


The ESB did not sell its “core collection”, which includes paintings by Seán Keating of the hydro-electric facilities at Ardnacrusha on the river Shannon in the 1920s and Poulaphouca on the river Liffey in the 1940s.

Despite the sale, the ESB says the company “remains committed to supporting the arts in Ireland” and will “continue with a policy of commissioning new works, conserving and displaying its art collection and making parts of the collection available for exhibitions and public display” . see