ONE of the most valuable collections ever put on display in the Hunt Museum was opened by arts minister Jimmy Deenihan this week.
The Chester Beatty collection of paintings from the National Gallery of Ireland has been loaned to the Hunt for a two month period to mark City of Culture.
The 29-strong collection includes works by 19th century French artists such as Breton and Couture, which Beatty gifted to the country in 1950.
The Hunt has undergone an upgrade in order to host the collection, with the department of arts providing funding of €52,410.54 to improve security cameras, lighting and air handling.
Opening the exhibition this Monday, Minister Deenihan said the Hunt Museum was one of the jewels in the country’s offering of museums and galleries”.
Hunt director Hugh Maguire said the paintings made up a “fantastic collection”.
“Beatty was a major, world class collector. He was a very keen collector, perhaps not known maybe in Ireland for his European art as much as the Islamic and Chinese collection,” he explained.
Mr Maguire said the exhibition was in keeping with the spirit of the museum’s original benefactors, John and Gertrude Hunt, who loved to explore the culture of collections, collectors and collecting.
“I had this idea I that I could never really realise, given the times we are in and the resources. I would love that the Hunt would be looking at the idea of collectors and collecting and over the years exploring exhibitions on how people collect and why.
“This fits well, he was a collector and the idea is that here is the Hunt collection alongside it.”
The exhibition runs until March 30.