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Artwork from Lucien Freud estate left to UK galleries

We occasionally come across stories in the news relating to high profile artworks and artefacts that have been left to public bodies in high-profile wills, but the latest news relates to artwork owned by the late Lucian Freud that has been left to various UK galleries in lieu of inheritance tax (IHT), The Art Newspaper reports.

The artwork in question consists of 15 oil paintings and 29 pieces on paper from the artist Frank Auerbach, all of which were owned by Lucien Freud and have been gifted to avoid around £16 million of IHT after Freud died in 2011.

The Tate in London is due to launch a retrospective of Auerbach's work this coming October, so gaining the piece known as 'Mornington Crescent – Summer Morning' from 2004 is a huge bonus. One of the most famous Auerbach pieces is 'Rebuilding The Empire Cinema, Leicester Square' from 1962, which has been granted to the Courtauld Institute in London. The piece had previously been shown at this institute in 2009-2010 as part of its Frank Auerbach: London Building Sites exhibition. The Courtauld Institute also won 'Summer, Tretire' from 1975.

As well as a number of paintings and pieces of art, some of Auerbach's sketches from birthday cards and some of his personal notes to Freud were also part of the collection auctioned off; these little pieces were awarded to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

This collection of artwork is part of the biggest ever single acceptance by The Arts Council in lieu of IHT. Other pieces included are an early piece from Picasso and a 1985 painting from John Lessore.

Do you think it makes sense for estates with valuable assets to award such pieces to public bodies instead of paying hefty IHT?