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Lucian Freud Donates a Masterpiece to Britain in Thanks for Asylum

  • 1 min read

Last week saw the opening of Schwitters in Britain at Tate Britain, an exhibition celebrating the work produced by Kurt Schwitters whilst in exile from Nazi Germany. Now the family of Lucian Freud have made a major art donation to the country to thank Britain for offering the artist refuge from the Nazis in 1933. Lucian Freud, the grandson of Sigmund Freud, was 11 when he and his Jewish family fled Berlin and arrived in Britain. He became a British citizen in 1939.

Three Edgar Degas sculptures have been donated and temporarily allocated to the Courtauld Gallery in London, as well as a beautiful portrait by John-Baptiste-Camille Corot, unveiled yesterday at the National Gallery. Nicholas Penny, the gallery’s director, said "This painting is a great addition to the National Gallery where, although we have a very strong collection of Corot's works, we have no example of a late figure painting of this kind.”

The Corot portrait has not been shown in public for more than 60 years. It was bought by Lucian Freud at auction in 2001 and was previously owned for 20 years by leading Hollywood gangster actor Edward G Robinson, and the shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos.

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