A collection of paintings and drawings by Frank Auerbach belonging to the artist Lucian Freud is looking for a permanent home in public museums and galleries across the UK. The collection was bequeathed to the nation when the painter died in 2011, in Lieu of taxes under the AIL scheme.
The £16.2m gift is the largest ever donation in lieu to be made in the scheme’s 100-year history and the arts council plan to divide the paintings between a range of institutions to ensure they are seen by as wide an audience as possible.
The bequest features 15 works in oil and 29 works on paper spanning Auerbach’s career from the 1950s to the 2000s, as well as personal cards and letters sent to Freud by the artist.
Several major oil portraits are held in the collection, including Head of Gerda Boehm, 1964, and EOW’s Head on her Pillow II, 1965.
The bequest also features a number of works by other artists, including a preparatory study by Picasso and paintings by Jack Butler Yeats and John Lessore.
Gerry McQuillan, senior adviser at the arts council’s Acquisitions, Exports, Loans and Collections Unit, said: “We want to make it more widely known that these paintings are available because we’d like to see some of them going to museums and galleries that haven’t applied to the Acceptance in Lieu scheme before. “They really are top works – they were collected by Lucian Freud and reflect the regard and admiration he had for Auerbach.“The collection is too big to stay together in any one museum and it will do more good being spread out across the UK.”
Several works from the collection will be on display at Manchester City Art Gallery until 10 August. The entire collection will go on display at Tate Britain in London from 25 August to 2 November.