herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Monet painting restored as man faces dual trial

A MAN will face simultaneous trials next November on charges of damaging a €10m Monet painting in the National Gallery and for damaging two paintings in the Shelbourne Hotel two years later.

Andrew Shannon (49), of Willans Way, Ongar, Dublin 15, is alleged to have damaged the 1874 Claude Monet painting, Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat, in the Gallery on June 29, 2012, by putting his fist through it.

He is also alleged to have damaged two paintings, worth €14,000 each, in the Shelbourne Hotel on St Stephen's Green on January 8, 2014.

Yesterday at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions asked that both trials run simultaneously next November.

painstakingly

Judge Mary Ellen Ring set a trial date for November 24 and put the case in for a pre-trial hearing on October 24. The case is expected to last between two and three weeks.

Meanwhile, the Monet painting alleged to have been damaged by Shannon has been painstakingly restored and went back on display at the National Gallery yesterday.

Sean Rainbird, director of the National Gallery of Ireland, likened the meticulous repair to microscopic needlework.

"This project to restore and conserve one of the gallery's most popular impressionist works of art is testament to the outstanding expertise and dedication of our professional team of conservators," he said.

The oil painting - the only Monet in Ireland's national collection - is relatively small at 55cm by 65cm, but regarded as a classic.

It was painted at a time when Monet was using a boat as a floating studio on the Seine to paint scenes of the river and its banks.

It is now being housed behind protective glass - a low reflective, ultraviolet-filtered climate box with a humidity buffer.

The painting was bequeathed to the Irish state by dramatist and politician Edward Martyn who bought it on the advice of his cousin, the writer George Moore, who lived in Paris and knew the Impressionists.

The restoration was supported by BNP Paribas.

The bank's funding allowed for the hiring of a Monet Paintings Conservation Fellow, Pearl O'Sullivan, specialist tools and materials, research and the publication of an online education resource on the gallery's French 19th Century collection.

The return of the painting and the story of its repair will be a further boon for the National Gallery of Ireland, which is already top of the list of free visitor attractions in the country, with 641,572 people enjoying the collections last year.

hnews@herald.ie

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