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Monday, 5 November, 2001, 18:05 GMT
Aer Lingus to sell artwork
By Merrion Strand
Jack B Yeats: Brother of poet William Butler Yeats
The Irish state airline, Aer Lingus, is to auction some of its art collection as part of a rescue plan for the troubled company.

As many as 25 important works of art are to be auctioned later this month and they are expected to fetch IR£500,000 (£391,088).

Aer Lingus also announced it will shed 40% of its staff in an attempt to stay solvent after a slump in bookings following the attacks on the World Trade Center.

One painting, by the celebrated Irish artist Jack B Yeats, is expected to make up more than half of the total according to auctioneer John DeVere White.

"This painting is far and away the most valuable," he told BBC News Online.

"Yeats is one of the few Irish painters with an international reputation and this is a top quality example of his work."

The Rocks at Kilkee by Nathaniel Hone
Hone's The Rocks at Kilkee is also for sale
The work is called By Merrion Strand and shows a woman standing beside a south Dublin coastline and dates from 1929.

By Merrion Strand used to hang in the offices of the chairman of Aer Lingus.

Yeats, who died in 1957, is the brother of the poet WB Yeats.

He is considered one of Ireland's finest artists, but By Merrion Strand was bought at a time when he was decidedly less famous.

In 1940 an Aer Lingus emplyee secured the painting in London for a £5 deposit.

In storage

Mr DeVere White said what was "interesting" about the work is that it is identifiably Irish.

"This is topographically accurate as Dublin and Yeats did not often paint in such a specific way" he said.

Other artists whose works are to be auctioned include Louis Le Brocquy, Patrick Collins, Norah McGuinness, Gerard Dillon and George Campbell and Nathaniel Hone.

These works are only part of the airline's collection and only two have been on display in recent years.

The other have all been in storage for some time.

See also:

29 Oct 01 | Business
Aer Lingus rescue efforts continue
10 Oct 01 | Business
Irish airline forges survival plan
27 Jun 01 | Arts
Ram raiders snatch art
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