The Art Fund gives £1million to d'Offay's ARTIST ROOMS

  • 27 February 2008

The Art Fund, has helped secure the acquisition of Anthony d'Offay's collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland with an exceptional grant from reserves of £1million - the second largest in its history.

The 725 works of art assembled over a 28 year period have been valued at around £125million and represent one of the most important holdings of modern and contemporary international art in private hands. The works are being secured in a part gift, part sale-at-cost agreement, under which Anthony d’Offay will recover only the original purchase cost of the works, which is £26.5million. By giving up the accumulated value he is making an extraordinary philanthropic gesture.

The Art Fund hopes that Anthony d’Offay’s generous act of philanthropy will inspire further lifetime gifts by other collectors. The charity is delighted that the two governments have recognised the extraordinary potential of this acquisition and have responded imaginatively to it so that Anthony d’Offay can transfer the works into our public collections during his lifetime.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: “Anthony d’Offay's exceptional generosity has given us a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the nation’s collections of the very best international modern art. The Art Fund, the only private sector contributor to the funding package, has given the second largest grant in its history to ensure that this extraordinary collection can be a source of inspiration to everyone throughout the UK, now and always.”

As well as showing artists’ work in depth, the unique intention behind this acquisition is that the rooms will tour the UK, as well as being shown in NGS and Tate. The Art Fund has long observed that Britain’s museums have often failed in the past to collect international contemporary art, particularly outside London and Edinburgh, and last year launched a new initiative, Art Fund International, to enable five regional museums to build new collections; the touring of ARTIST ROOMS will complement this activity.

The acquisition has been made with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, The Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments. The total cost of the acquisition is £28million, which includes set-up and accessioning costs. All taxes have been met in full.

The funding package is:
- The Art Fund, £1million
- National Heritage Memorial Fund, £7million
- Scottish Executive, £10million
- Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), £10million

ARTIST ROOMS, which consists of fifty rooms by 25 artists and an additional 10 works by seven artists, will be jointly owned and managed by National Galleries of Scotland and Tate, who have asked Anthony d’Offay to service as an unpaid ex officio curator for a period of five years. The museums have undertaken to set up an endowment of £5million to enable the collection to add further rooms and have each contributed an initial £500,000 of their own funds to this as part of this agreement.

The collection is compiled as follows: Diane Arbus (3 rooms), Joseph Beuys (5), Vija Celmins (1), Ian Hamilton Finlay (1), Gilbert & George (2), Johann Grimonprez (1), Damien Hirst (1), Jenny Holzer (1), Alex Katz (1), Anselm Kiefer (3), Jeff Koons (2), Jannis Kounellis (4), Sol LeWitt (1), Richard Long (2), Robert Mapplethorpe (3), Agnes Martin (1), Ron Mueck (1), Bruce Nauman (2), Gerhard Richter (3), Ed Ruscha (1), Robert Therrien (2), Bill Viola (1), Andy Warhol (6), Lawrence Weiner (1), and Francesca Woodman (1). In addition, there are ten works by a further seven artists: Georg Baselitz, Ellen Gallagher, Richard Hamilton, Mario Merz, Charles Ray, Robert Ryman and Cy Twombly.