The Alfred Beit Foundation is to donate two paintings to Ireland, as it seeks to achieve its goal in setting up an endowment fund for an estate in Co. Wicklow.
It hopes that the donation of Rubens’ Head of Bearded Man and David Teniers II’s A Village Kermesse will go some way to securing financial stability for Russborough Estate in Blessington, the property once owned by the Beit and Milltown families.
These families made regular art donations to Ireland, providing the National Gallery of Ireland with significant gifts of paintings and decorative art in 1987 and 1902 respectively.
But Russborough now requires an endowment fund to provide the essential support for the operations and preservation of the house and estate.
The foundation has consistently tried to gain this sponsorship, which is necessary for the estate’s survival.
Despite acquiring some 5,000- plus signatures on a petition lending its support to Russborough, it has had limited success with various bodies including the Irish government, various political parties, the Heritage Council and the County Council. As a result, it has been forced to sell four works at auction in London, with the sales scheduled to take place in July.
They are The Piazzetta Venice and The Piazza San Marco by Francesco Guardi, Venus Supplicating Jupiter by Rubens and Aurore and Cephalus by Francois Boucher.
The foundation said the building of the endowment remains an “urgent priority” but it is hopeful that this latest donation, made possible through external philanthropic efforts, will aid its cause.