SINGAPORE - A trove of 45 sculptures by the late Brother Joseph McNally will be sold to raise funds for the HopeHouse, a halfway house run by the La Salle Brothers of Singapore.
This is the first time such a large collection of works by the founder of the Lasalle College of the Arts has gone on sale.
All the proceeds will go towards funding a five-storey building located on the grounds of St Patrick's School. Brother Nicholas Seet, 62, says the construction budget has gone from $5 million to $9.5 million because of pandemic delays.
This collection represents the last of Brother McNally's artistic legacy - the La Salle Brothers have no more works.
Brother Seet thinks the arts educator would have approved of the reason for selling. "Knowing Brother Joseph and his concern for the marginalised, he wouldn't disagree with the sale. It's in line with our mission."
Ms Diana Lim, 62, an art collector who is helping the Brothers organise the auction, says the collection is in very good condition. "They were stored in two rooms with no windows, just one door."
The pieces have been mostly untouched since Brother McNally's death in 2002 from a heart attack while in Ireland. Brother Seet admits that the works stayed in storage because the Brothers did not know what to do with them. "We have no aesthetic knowledge."
The sale, organised by 33 Auction, is scheduled for late September or early October, depending on when the renovations for the auctioneer's new space at Tanjong Pagar Distripark can be completed.
33 Auction handled the sale of two McNally works in 2018, the last time his works came on the market. The company's director David Fu, 38, says: "One of the works estimated at $20,000 sold for $30,000."
The organisers are hoping to raise at least $600,000. Brother Seet says he was very surprised by the valuation but Ms Lim thinks this figure is fairly conservative and hopes more can be raised for the House, which caters to boys aged 14 and above. She adds: "There are small works suitable for collectors to display at home."
Prices start from $4,800 for small works, of which there are 29. The pieces span Brother McNally's entire practice, from the 1970s to the 2000s, and showcase his versatility with mediums, including bog wood, metal and multimedia works incorporating glass and epoxy.
Mr Fu says: "We will definitely be approaching institutions, but I wouldn't be surprised if the bigger works went to private collectors. A lot of people are very excited about this coming to the market."
Details of the auction will be available on 33 Auction's website soon.