Lucien Freud's gift: Corot and Degas

Lucien Freud, one of the foremost portrait painters of his generation, has gifted the nation with works of art from his own private collection, under the acceptance in lieu system.
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s L’Italienne ou La Femme á la Manche Jaune (The Italian Woman or Woman with Yellow Sleeve) is now proudly on display at the National Gallery, while three sculpture by the impressionist Edgar Degas will temporarily take up residency at the Courtauld Gallery.
“The acceptance in lieu scheme allows those who have a bill for inheritance tax to pay the tax by transferring important cultural, scientific or historic objects to the nation,” explains the Arts Council.”Material accepted under the scheme is allocated to public collections and is available for all.”
It has therefore been established that these donations have satisfied the £2.34 million of inheritance tax that would have been expected otherwise. This is a tax that is usually paid on an estate when a person dies.
Freud, who passed away in 2001 at the age of 88, arranged for this as a way of saying thank you to the country for welcoming his Jewish family when they arrived. They had fled to London in 1933, anticipating that Hitler’s rise to power would bring with it unspeakable crimes.
Nicholas Penny, the director of the National Gallery described the acquisition of L’Italienne ou La Femme á la Manche Jaune as a splendid acquisition. The painting, which was executed in 1870, will complement other works by the nineteenth century artist. Its distinction is that it is a late painting (Corot passed away in 1875).
“Its rough-hewn monumentality and abrupt transitions anticipate Picasso’s exercises in the classical manner and make it one of the most modern looking paintings in the collection,” commented Dr Penny. “Freud was a frequent visitor to the gallery and had an exact idea of the impact that this bequest would make.”
The acceptance in lieu scheme was described by the chief executive of the Arts Council as a “great success story” for the UK’s cultural heritage. Alan Davey said that the scheme, which was established in 1909 by the then chancellor David Lloyd George, had seen thousands of important works of art made available to the public.
“The acceptance in lieu scheme has, over the years, seen a vast array of stunning items enter our national collections, and I am delighted that these magnificent works by Corot and Degas will now be on permanent public display, where they can be enjoyed by all,” commented culture secretary Maria Miller.
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