Collector leaves 18 masterpieces to British galleries

A LEADING British art collector has left 18 paintings by artists including Claude Monet, Francis Bacon and Paul Gauguin to two of London’s top galleries, they said on Monday.


Simon Sainsbury, who died last year, bequeathed

works including one of Monet’s “Water Lillies” to the Tate Gallery and the National Gallery.


The paintings are thought to be worth up to US$200 million overall, a spokeswoman for the National Gallery said.


In a joint statement, the galleries described the gift as “one of the most significant bequests of paintings ever to the nation”.


The National Gallery will receive five paintings including Monet’s “Water Lillies, Setting Sun” and “Snow Scene at Argenteuil”, Gauguin’s “Bowl Of Fruit And Tankard Before A Window” and Henri Rousseau’s “Portrait Of Joseph Brummer”.


The 13 works which Sainsbury left to the Tate include “Study For A Portrait” by Bacon, three pieces by Lucian Freud and “Mr And Mrs Carter” by Thomas Gainsborough.


The works donated to both galleries will go on show at Tate Britain on June 9, 2008.


Sainsbury, whose family owns a stake in Britain’s third-largest supermarket chain which still bears its name, died last September aged 76.


He gave money to scores of arts projects during his life — he and two brothers funded a major new wing for the National Gallery which opened in 1991 — as well as other causes including HIV/Aids research.


Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate, described Sainsbury as “one of the UK’s most private but generous individuals” while Martin Wyld, acting director of the National Gallery, said the works were “outstanding”. — AP.

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