British Airways to sell artwork to boost cash flow
In great financial difficulty since the coronavirus crisis, the airline company will auction off 17 paintings and engravings that decorate the offices of its executives, one of which, signed Bridget Riley, is estimated at $1 million.
This is one of the unexpected consequences of the health crisis.British Airways has decided to sell part of its art collection , an initiative announced in June and which is now taking shape with the announcement of the sales. In order to overcome the economic crisis, the British company is in fact selling off around ten paintings and engravings, auctioned at Sotheby’s in two stages.
Sixteen works will be on sale between 20 and 30 July at the “Modern and Post-war” online sale, including paintings by British artists Terry Frost, Patrick Heron and George Shaw, as well as prints by Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn and Julian Opie and a portfolio by Peter Doig.
In a press release, Olivier Barker, president of Sotheby’s Europe division, said the art collection celebrates “the best of British art with its greatest representatives of the second half of the 20th century”, with most of the works on sale estimated at less than $15,000 (16,500 euros), but one of them is an exception.
A table estimated at $1 million
The star of the collection, a 1982 painting by Bridget Riley entitled Cool Edge, will be on sale on July 28th at the Rembrandt à Richter auction. Known for her geometric compositions, Bridget Riley has contributed to the development of Op art around the world.Cool Edge could bring in between $800,000 and $1.2 million to the airline, and was previously exhibited in a luxury lounge in the heart of London’s Heathrow Airport.
It is part of a series by Bridget Riley dedicated to Egypt and is inspired by ancient Egyptian tomb paintings discovered during the artist’s travels. The British company also owns other pieces in this series.
In April, British Airways announced that it was prepared to cut up to 12,000 jobs, or nearly 28% of its workforce.