45 sculptures by Lasalle school founder Joseph McNally to be sold to raise funds

From left, David Fu, Brother Nicholas Seet, and Diana Lim with the sculptures by Brother McNally going on sale at 33 Auction. ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI
The sale, organised by 33 Auction, is scheduled for late September or early October. ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI
Among the 45 works up for sale are this pair of sculptures, made in wood and metal. The bog wood piece is priced between $14,000 to $18,000 while the bronze (right) is between $18,000 to $22,000. ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI
The titles for these two similar pieces are unknown. They are made of bronze (left) and bog wood (right). The bronze is priced at $7,000 to $10,000 while the wood is $5,000 to $8,000. ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI
This work by the late Brother Joseph McNally shows his facility with materials - it combines wood, metal, glass and epoxy. Titled Metal, it is from the Chinese calligraphy caozi series. It is estimated at between $16,000 and $22,000. ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI
This untitled bronze work is part of the same series as the work displayed outside the Victoria Concert Hall. This is one of the heaviest works offered for sale. The estimated price is $24,000 to $28,000. ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI

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.

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