From the New Statesman in Britain:
Britain’s hidden art
Published 19 February 2007
Increasingly, many of the country’s finest artworks are nestling in the private collections of the super-rich, inaccessible to the public.
So what are we missing out on? Rob Sharp investigates
If you think that the finest art in Britain is on display at Tate Modern or the National Gallery, think again.
Increasingly, many of the best works are in the hands of private collectors, who do not always make their treasures accessible to the public.
The New Statesman has tracked down some of the most important artworks nestling in the private residences and offices of collectors, aristocrats and City businesses, where only the most privileged can see them.
This trend is on the rise; with public galleries increasingly priced out of the art market, more and more work will disappear from public view.
Public interest in visual art has never been greater.
Crowds flock to blockbuster shows at the major galleries: “Velázquez” drew record crowds to the National Gallery in London late last year, and the Tate galleries attract nearly two million people annually.
At the same time, however, immensely wealthy individuals and companies are pumping money into the art market and inflating prices.
In one sale earlier this month, Sotheby’s made £95m in just three hours.
And on 8 February, Christie’s recorded a landmark sale, with Francis Bacon ‘s Study for Portrait II going for £14m.
With prices like this, it is impossible for public galleries to get a look-in.
The painting fetched £5.8m at auction last June, making it the most expensive British watercolour ever sold.
By a big money collection, the public in the case of The Blue Rigi managed to prevent it from being sold overseas.
Art and money, especially in the USA: here.