Two Newcastle art galleries have had a boost to their collections from an unexpected source.
The Laing and the Hatton, both managed by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, are to share two paintings by Frank Auerbach, a distinguished British artist whose work is in major collections around the world.
They are among 40 paintings and drawings by Auerbach which belonged to his friend Lucian Freud, another celebrated painter who died in 2011.
Last year they were offered to the Government in lieu of inheritance tax in a scheme called acceptance in lieu (AIL).
Reportedly worth £16m in lieu of tax, the Auerbach collection constitutes the largest ever single acceptance under the scheme.
The 40 artworks have now been allocated by Arts Council England’s to museums and galleries around the country which had to apply for them.
Bound for Newcastle are a pair of canvases in Auerbach’s distinctive, paint-heavy style. One is a landscape, Mornington Place II, done in 1965, and the other a portrait, EOW’s Head on her Pillow, painted in 1994.
They join a painting and a drawing by Auerbach which are already held in the galleries’ collection, although this is the first time the Hatton Gallery, at Newcastle University, has benefited from the scheme.
Julie Milne, chief curator of art galleries at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said: “We are thrilled to receive artworks from one of Britain’s greatest contemporary artists through the Arts Council scheme.
“It is commendable that work from such important collections can find permanent homes where the public can gain enjoyment from them.”
The two paintings will go on show in summer 2016 with complementary paintings by Francis Bacon, David Bomberg and others.
Hartlepool is also to receive one of the Auerbach works, a preparatory sketch for the painting Shell Building Site which was done in 1959 and is already in the town’s art collection.
Frank Auerbach, who is 83, was born in Berlin but was sent to Britain in 1939 by his parents who later died in a Nazi concentration camp.
A British citizen since 1947, he studied at the Royal College of Art in the early 1950s and went on to develop a style using very thickly layered paint.
Many of his paintings are of scenes in London where has lived for most of his life.
Lucian Freud, whose family also fled Berlin for London in the 1930s, was a friend of Auerbach and admired his work.