Carrolls Art Collection

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    • #708133

      you guys seem pretty knowledgable so I was wondering if you would be able to help me.
      I’m trying to get some information on the Carrolls Collection of Contempary Art which was housed in the company’s Dundalk factory, It was built up under the supevision of Ronald Tallon and according to the company’s website includes 140 works. Now that the company is pulling out of Dundalk, there is a question mark as to what will happen to the collection.
      Anyone know what exactly is in the collection or indeed, whether it’s owned by the company or the Carrolls family?,
      any help will be greatly appreciated

    • #761607
      Paul Clerkin

      From today’s Irish Independent

      Museum is winner as cigarette plant shuts

      CIGARETTE manufacturer PJ Carroll is to donate almost half of one of the most important privately owned art collections in the country to the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

      Carrolls began to support Irish artists in the 1960s by purchasing individual pieces of Irish art for its Dundalk plant.

      Its collection, spanning three decades, now numbers 140 pieces including works by Robert Ballagh, Louis le Brocquy, Patrick Scott and Felim Egan.

      With the company currently in talks with trade union officials over the closure of the Dundalk factory, the future of the art collection has now been raised.

      However, last night a company spokesperson confirmed that PJ Carroll had now agreed to donate 52 pieces of its collection to the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The value of the gift is €1.7m and is being made under the Heritage scheme.

      The remainder of the collection remains at the Dundalk plant but no decisions have yet been made about its future, the spokesperson added.

    • #761608

      “and is being made under the Heritage scheme.”

      That means that the taxpayer gives them credit, so we really donate it to IMMA but that never gets into the kudos.

    • #761609

      yes but we end up owning the pictures. this is another example of how useful the heritage scheme is.

    • #761610

      If we wanted the pictures why did we not buy them originally, or when sold off eventually?
      This way we buy a job lot. It is probably not a planned purchase, just an accidental addition to the collection.

      Not as if Ballagh’s, le Brocquey etc are hard to find in Irish public collections anyhow.
      And it would be fairly hard to argue that this is or perhaps ever the cutting edge of modern art either.

    • #761611

      at the moment there is no permanent encyclopedic exhibition of post ww2 irish art anywhere.

    • #761612

      A large company such as Carroll’s buying art at a time when few public institutions or individuals were in a position to do so was an enlightened (no pun intended) thing to do, not only the act of collecting but also the act of supporting artists financially. And selling them on as ‘a job lot’ keeps the collection together as a representative collection of art from the period, rather than splitting it up into its constituent parts. Sure, there are Ballaghs, Le Brocquys, Scotts (Egans? Jellets? Lennons? Who knows whats…) in other collections, but not always in the same place. Whether or not they are or were cutting edge, they stand as examples of what was being produced in Ireland at the time, and as evidence of one of the few substantial private collections of Irish modern art in the country. And as an addition to a national collection such as at IMMA I think they are to be welcomed, good, bad and indifferent.

      There might be a slight question about which 52 of the 140 are to be included in the lot, but only time will tell.

      Could be a good opportunity for a touring show? If IMMA has been under-appointed with representative works of Irish modern art (debatable), then how must regional galleries feel?

      EDIT: I notice that the collections is 1960s to 1980s, so the likelihood of Jellets in there is slim. 🙂

    • #761613

      It is ironic in a way that one of the best places or contexts in which to view the collection is the very location they are being removed from – the Carroll’s factory, notably the Táin tapestry which is located if I recall in the cavernous entrance hall, suspended on a striking ‘holed’ blockwork wall similar to parts of the side elevation of the Wax Museum (!).

      There were other pieces in the hall too, and presumably elsewhere in management quarters. It’s likely some of it was moved from Grand Parade out to Sandyford Industrial Estate when HQ moved out there.
      Somehow, I doubt the setting had quite the same impact.

    • #761614

      Interesting point, Graham. There’s case law in the UK that says art created for a particular building becomes part of that building (i.e. ‘property’ of the building rather than property of the occupiers)- usually sculptures in the grounds, that sort of thing. Though these works weren’t created for the Carroll’s factory, it could well be the case that Ronnie Tallon selected them for their appropriateness to their setting.
      And the website says that the outdoor sculpture was commissioned for that particular site.
      Maybe IMMA will build a replica of the factory in the grounds of Kilmainham? :rolleyes: Now that would get us up in arms. 🙂

    • #761615

      dc3 is absolutely correct when he says that the taxpayer is actually bearing the cost of this and if you follow this to its logical conclusion, it’s a very shrewd move by Carrolls. They probably bought this stuff for a song and now get a tax write-off of at least €1 million. However, it’s still a terrific scheme to get important works into state hands and something that should be commended. It would be very difficult for IMMA or the State to justify spending €1.7 million to buy a 50 paintings in the present political climate. However, if you do it this way – you can just pretend to yourself that no money has changed hands.

    • #761616

      Is it a direct write-off against profits or is it more ‘subtle’ than that? Either way, yes the tax payer is paying for this

      Regarding the collection itself, one would wonder if DKIT (now owners of the building) have offered to purchase the tapestry in particular, given its prominence in the building over the years and the contribution it makes to the space; it has become part of the insititution that is the Carroll’s complex.
      I was wondering the very point you make ctesiphon about protection being offered to art in certain circumstances; whilst I doubt the more ‘important’ or prominent pieces in the building are protected as part of the structure’s overall PS status, the iconic sculpture to the front probably is.

      Saying that, there is no specific mention of it in the RPS.

    • #761617

      I don’t know whether we have similar legislative provisions in this country. I’ll try to find out.

      Though it’s not mentioned specifically in the RPS, PS designation covers all features within the curtilage of a building, so the sculpture should be automatically included even if not mentioned by name (or as a separate record). A problem could be if it is perceived as movable rather than fixed- not clear cut in my head.

    • #761618

      re the tain tapastry; the imma already has a set in its collection, so i wonder if that’s included.

    • #761619

      Could the IMMA one be the Carroll’s one? I note from the Carroll’s site that some of the art has been on loan to IMMA in the past few years. Doubtful, as you’d hardly loan the feature piece from your foyer, but maybe?

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