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A legal challenge by An Taisce has been brought alleging export licences were not lawfully issued for 10 paintings, some of which are scheduled for sale in London today and others on July 9th.
The works, part of the collection of Sir Alfred Beit, include two oil sketches by Peter Paul Rubens, one entitled Head of a Bearded Man. In an affidavit, John Loughman, senior lecturer in UCD’s School of Art, History and Cultural Policy, said the works are “part of Ireland’s rich cultural patrimony” and their loss to Ireland’s cultural heritage would be “enormous”.
It is alleged a licence of March 16th 2015 granted by the National Gallery of Ireland to the Irish branch of London-based fine art auction house Christie’s, acting as agent of the Alfred Beit Foundation, Russborough House, Co Wicklow, for export of the paintings to the UK was made in excess of the powers of the Gallery.