£45 Million of Art Gifted to England in 2014

Arts Council England has published a statement revealing that British public collections received a total of £44.3 million worth of gifted art in the last year. This past year’s 27 gifts include works by Van Gogh, Van Dyck, Constable, and Thomas Gainsborough and also features the personal collection of Lucian Freud.

This large sum—the second highest value in the last ten years, after the £49.4 million worth of art accepted in 2013—comes as a result of Acceptance in Lieu, a scheme that permits owners of important artworks to donate those works to the state instead of paying inheritance taxes, as well as the Cultural Gifts Scheme, which encourages these gifts to be made during the donor’s lifetime.

Benefiting the donor for obvious reasons, these schemes also “are making a great contribution to the range and richness of our cultural heritage,” said British Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. “It’s great to know that the items that have now moved into public ownership will now be available for everyone to appreciate and enjoy for generations to come.”

Specific works included among these gifts are Van Gogh’s Head of a Peasant Woman, an 1884 oil painting given to the National Gallery. In addition, Lucian Freud’s collection includes 40 works by Frank Auerbach and a Pablo Picasso sketch. This collection was offered in lieu of a £16 million inheritance tax. In terms of Freud’s collection enriching cultural heritage, “There is something of special significance in the perception that one great artist has of another,” said Arts Council England chairman Sir Peter Bazalgette.

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