Ben Dunne wants to make millions by selling part of his personal art collection

Former supermarket tycoon Ben Dunne and his wife Mary are selling part of their personal art collection in a display set for millions in sales.

The Mary and Ben Dunne Collection of 39 paintings will be on display at Gormleys in Dublin from 8th to 22nd September before moving to Belfast for two weeks.

The collection includes John Lavery’s Sketch for Pro-Cathedral, Dublin 1922 – the painting of the funeral of Michael Collins.

Mr Dunne, 73, who runs a chain of six gyms in Dublin, Meath and Laois, said: “We are in a phase of downsizing and we don’t have the space to display the entire collection, so we are happy to bring part of it to the exhibition and for sale.”

The collection includes works by Irish artists such as Jack B. Yeats, John Lavery, Roderic O’Conor, Mary Swanzy and Walter Osborne, some worth up to €1 million.

Two works that experts believe will generate enormous interest from collectors were inspired by momentous events in 20th-century Ireland – the Bloody Sunday massacre at Croke Park in 1920 and the funeral of Michael Collins in 1922.

Art expert Mark Adams said: “A great collection is more than an assemblage of images, it is a work of art in its own right, in which the works of art that compose it and the conversation between them become more than the sum of their parts.”

“Bringing their own brilliant eye to painting and taking the advice of the late Alan Hobart, Ben and Mary Dunne have assembled a collection that captures Ireland in all its infinite facets.”

Yeats’ Singing The Dark Rosaleen (1921) is on sale for around €1 million and features an impromptu performance of the patriotic poem My dark Rosaleen by two men and a fiddler in the middle of a crowd in Croke Park.

The painting is a moving response to events at GAA headquarters a year earlier, when 13 spectators and Tipperary’s right-back and captain Michael Hogan were shot and killed at the stadium by RIC Auxiliaries.

In Sketch for Pro-Cathedral, Dublin 1922, the Belfast-born Lavery captured the view he had of Collins’ memorial service from his vantage point on the Pro-Cathedral’s organ balcony.

Widely regarded as an authentic snapshot of the funeral, his epic work – one of three in the Dunnes’ collection – was painted during the service. Ben Dunne wants to make millions by selling part of his personal art collection

Fry Electronics Team

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