Exclusive - the next mega acquisition?
March 2 2012
Hot on the heels of the £45m Titian purchase, a reader has alerted me to this, which has quietly appeared on the Arts Council's website, under 'Notices of Intention of Sale':
Arts Council England has received notifications of sale for the following items which have previously been exempted from capital taxation. Please note that the price given is intended as a rough guide only, and does not constitute an offer to sell at this price. The practice of the auction houses is usually to pitch this at their high auction estimate or, sometimes*, even higher.
Pablo Ruiz Picasso (1881-1973)
Child with a Dove, 1901, oil on canvas, 73cm by 54cm
Guide price: £50,000,000
It would be helpful to know if the £50m includes the tax liability, and the extent of it (in the event of a UK museum purchase, the tax due would be written off by the Treasury). No UK museum could afford the full £50m (unless the Heritage Lottery Fund has a miraculous change of heart on acquisitions). The picture used to belong to Samuel Courtauld, and has passed down from him by descent. It has been on long-term loan to the Courtauld Institute, and is now on display at Tate Britain as part of the Picasso and Modern British Art exhibition. (Normally, the Tate has strict rules about this sort of thing - but I suppose these days it's enough to know they won't chuck it out by mistake).
If you're interested in the picture, but haven't got £50m, you can buy a poster of it for £25 at the Tate shop.
* for which read 'invariably'.