Sponsored by Rossborough Private Clients in association with AIG Private Clients and the Isle of Man Arts Council and arranged in partnership with Manx National Heritage the exhibition has been guest curated by Christie's and marks a first for the world famous fine art auctioneers.
Secret Treasures features in excess of 40 20th century Modern British and Irish works in private collections in the island lent expressly for the exhibition, which runs until Saturday November 28.
A preview evening at the Manx Museum brought together lenders, sponsors, Manx National Heritage representatives and senior members of Christie's and Isle of Man Arts Council members, including chairman Geoff Corkish MBE MLC who spoke of the 'tremendous gallery space' in which the paintings were displayed. He praised fellow Arts Council members David Wertheim and Michael Lees for their vision which, together with the support and insight of Chrystals' chairman Shane Magee, had brought to fruition an exhibition which would, he said, 'provide much pleasure and uplift the spirits' thanks to the 'invaluable curation' by Christie's.
Mr Corkish said Secret Treasures, a legacy of Island of Culture 2014, the year-long celebration of the Island's cultural past, present and future, would enhance the Isle of Man's reputation in the international art world. In closing he thanked the lenders 'for their generosity and trust' which would give the public 'a tremendous opportunity' to view a genre of 20th art rarely seen in such volume outside of a gallery environment.
Christie's head of Modern British and Irish Art André Zlattinger said the team had been warmly welcomed to the Isle of Man where everyone had been 'genuinely excited' by the exhibition for which every owner Christie's approached had been willing to lend their paintings.
He said the selection of paintings showed 'a richness of culture' adding: 'Every picture has a hidden meaning' and singled out the 'hypnotic' work The Different Skies painted in 1939 by war artist Paul Nash by way of example.
In closing he paid tribute to his colleague Albany Bell who had curated the works and been 'the backbone' of Secret Treasures. He said realising the exhibition and collaborating with the Isle of Man Arts Council had been 'a great experience' for Christie's which he hoped might one day be repeated.
Secret Treasures: Modern British & Irish Art on the Isle of Man is on until Saturday November 28 at the Manx Museum, Kingswood Grove, Douglas. 01624 648000. (Entrance free).