Lucien Freud estate to give selection of his favourite pieces to the nation to pay off late artist's 10million tax bill
Executors offer works by Edgar Egas abd Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Government panel understood to have accepted applicationMinisters will have to ratify decision and decide which museums will benefit



23:25 GMT, 22 December 2012

With his intensely personal portraits, Lucian Freud often defied convention.

And now the late artist’s estate has found an equally unorthodox way to settle his 10 million

inheritance tax bill – by trading in parts of his art collection.

In April, The Mail on Sunday revealed that Freud left 96 million in his will, the largest sum ever by a British artist. But rather than hand a large slice of it to the taxman, executors of the estate have offered to give a selection of artworks to museums in lieu of payment.

Executors are understood to have offered some of Lucien Freud's (pictured) favourite artworks to settle his 10m tax bill

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot's painting L'Italienne, ou La Femme a la Manche Jaune is said to be one of the works Freud's estate will use to settle his tax bill

Executors are understood to have offered some of Lucien Freud (left) 's favourite works including Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot's painting L'Italienne, Ou La Femme A La Manche Jaune to settle his tax bill

Works offered are understood to include examples by French sculptor Edgar Degas, and French artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s painting L’Italienne, Ou La Femme A La Manche Jaune.

Freud, whose sitters included the Queen, Kate Moss and a naked Jobcentre supervisor nicknamed ‘Big Sue’, died in July last year.

Last month, the Government’s Acceptance in Lieu panel (AIL), which works in conditions of utter secrecy, is said to have approved the application to use artworks to settle the tax bill, deciding the items offered were of enough significance.

Its decision will have to be ratified by Ministers, who will then decide which museums and galleries receive the items.

One source in the art world said: ‘It was not a long list of items but it included the Corot painting and the sculptures. There may have been one or two other things.

‘The amount to be covered is just under 10 million.’

A spokesman for the Arts Council, which runs the AIL panel, last night declined to confirm or deny whether Freud’s estate had even made an approach to the panel.

The National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery both declined to comment.

The Tate Gallery said: ‘We can’t comment on works of art that are not part of the Tate collection.’

Another source last night said that it was almost certain that the Corot painting would end up in the National Gallery.

In a rare interview in 2002, Freud, who fathered at least 14 children, named Corot as one of the all-time greats of the art world alongside Constable, Rembrandt and Gericault.

His collection contains several works by his friend, the German-born artist Frank Auerbach.

The Corot painting offered to the nation was once owned by Hollywood star Edward G. Robinson, best known for his gangster roles in films such as Key Largo and Double Indemnity.

Freud’s will revealed that he left David Dawson, his assistant of more than 20 years, 2.5 million as well as his West London home.

Dawson was unavailable for comment. Lawyer Diana Rawstron, an executor of the estate, who is believed to have handled negotiations with the panel, was also unavailable.