Lucian Freud's Corot

February 4 2013

Image of Lucian Freud's Corot

Picture: National Gallery/Getty

The National Gallery is up a Corot after the government permanently allocated to it the above portrait from Lucian Freud's collection, accepted by the nation in lieu of tax. The Courtauld has been allocated three sculptures by Degas. More here.

Update - a reader writes:

Interesting to see how the "bequest" is being reported.  It's as though the works are being seen as an outright gift when, in fact, the transfer has tax benefits for Freud's estate.

Update II - another reader writes:

I happened to see somewhere in the weekend papers that the Corot ‘had been valued at £5m.’ ?! Is it just me or does that seem an absurd amount for a (rather ugly) portrait by an artist famous for his landscapes ?! What intrigues me is who is doing these valuations on behalf of the Revenue ? 

I see from ArtInfo's Art Sales Index (which is free, and, wonderfully, means you no longer have to be fleeced by Artnet to look up prices paid at auction) that the picture sold at Christie's in New York on 9th May 2001 for $2.6m or $1.64m. With inflation at UK CPI that would be £2.16m today, which I know is a not very useful calculation, but nonetheless worth noting. Perhaps the remaining increase is accounted for by the illustrious new provenance?

Update III - clearer figures are emerging. The Guardian reports that the total tax benefit to the Freud estate of the Corot and the Degas sculptures is £2.34m. However, they still, pace our first comment, write the story up as 'Freud's donation', which it isn't. 

It's also good to see, following my comparison with Spain below, and the lack of visible high profile political support for art donations here in the UK, that the unveiling was attended by Culture Secretary Maria Miller. But then, I know they read AHN down at the Department for Culture, MEdia and Sport...

Update IV - another reader writes to defend the quality of the picture:

The late Corot figure given by the Freud estate in lieu of tax is a masterpiece and deserves its place among the other great paintings at Trafalgar Square. Its valuation is supported by a much smaller Corot figure of high quality which sold at Sotheby's New York more recently for over $4,000,000 US. Corot's figure paintings are among his most admired works, and the Freud Corot was one of the last major examples in private hands.

Update V - a reader asks:

Has anyone quoted to you the old art market adage about Corot Something like "there are 10,000 Corots in the United States of which 9,000 aren't by him".

Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.