A set of 12 new artworks at National Museum Wales, including four lithographs by surrealist Joan Miró and a painting by Dutch artist Karel Appel in which a naked woman and a dog roam a city of desolate skyscrapers, are thought to be worth more than £4 million. But curators in the Welsh capital say the gift has an "incalculable cultural and financial value."
One of the Miró works, made during the 1970s, acted as a poster to advertise his original prints being made available in Paris, encapsulating the colourful sense of design and abstract forms of the surrealist ringleader of five decades earlier.
© Douglas Atfield
Appel’s canvas alludes to urban decay and poverty in early 1980s new York. The collection, handed over by Eric and Jean Cass, the Surrey couple who have spent 35 years amassing an extensive set of important works, also features a Patrick Caulfield Vase, a gestural abstract canvas by British artist John Hoyland and a plate by Brigitte Deuge.
Paul Hobson, of co-ordinators the Contemporary Art Society, called the gift “tremendously generous”.
“Eric and Jean have built their collection with great passion, care and intelligence, always knowing that the works would in time enter public collections where the pleasure they have had privately would be shared with the widest audience nationally, now and in the future,” he added.
“It is typical of this enlightened couple that they would aspire to benefit audiences no matter where they live, recognising that artists and audiences seed their imaginations through experiencing these important local collections.”
The works will go on display at National Museum Cardiff from May 4 – July 21 2013.