Alfred and Clementine Beit loved Ireland. They loved Ireland so much that they left us their treasure, Russborough House and one of the most priceless art collections in the world. It was their dying wish that the collection be ‘preserved for the future enjoyment of the Irish people’. An incredibly generous and visionary gesture from An English Business man and his Irish wife. Can we honestly consider selling it? Are we destined forever to ‘fumble in the greasy till’?
Irish Art needs patronage, our national galleries have had no acquisition funds since 2010. As the Irish Government and the Irish people successfully re-build our economy, it might be wise to cast an eye to the Irish soul. The Beit collection is ours. It was gifted to us. It is staggering in its beauty and its brilliance. It belongs to our children.
The National Campaign for the Arts believes that the Irish people are more than an economy. The Irish people are far deeper and have far deeper needs. The Irish people won’t throw tuppence on the grave of Alfred and Clementine Beit because the Irish people know and value beauty.
That National Compaign for the Arts believe it is time to rebuild. To lift our heads and let in the light. Art brings light. Art is a gift and it is not for sale.