Degas sculpture to enrich national art collection as galleries continue to attract record visitors

Welsh Government, Culture & Sport,
05 June 2013, Wales

A beautiful bronze sculpture by the famous 19th century French Impressionist, Edgar Degas, has found a permanent home alongside other works at the National Museum of Art in Cardiff.

The work, which is expected to become a star-attraction, has been accepted in lieu of inheritance tax from the estate of the world-famous artist, Lucian Freud, who died in 2011, and allocated permanently to Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum of Wales.

The sculpture, depicting a galloping horse, will be a stunning addition to the national art collections, which last year helped Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales achieve its highest-ever visitor figures of 1.75 million.

Speaking before the unveiling of the sculpture Welsh Government Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths, said:

“Our world class art collections are a major asset to Wales and the National Museum Cardiff is really going from strength to strength.

“Increasing the number of visitors to our museums is a Welsh Government commitment and I’m delighted that we have delivered on this commitment.

“I’m confident that this beautiful work will prove to be a popular draw with visitors and give people yet another reason to come and visit our world class art galleries.”

Amgueddfa Cymru’s seven museums collectively welcomed over 50,000 more visitors in 2012-13 than in 2011-12. National Museum Cardiff, which has developed its collection with a new National Museum of Art, has welcomed a record 477,399 visitors. The number of visitors to the city-centre museum has grown significantly with a 29% increase since 2010-11.

The increase has been attributed to a sustained period of investment – with the Welsh Government contributing over £3 million to the £6 million National Museum of Art project - as well as strong exhibitions and an exciting events programme appealing to all ages.

The work by Degas has been considered to be the largest and perhaps greatest of the fifteen horse figures that were found in Degas’ studio after his death. The sculpture appears to be based on contemporary stop-action photography and reflects the artist’s love of horses and the race course. This sculpture is now secured for present and future generations - and represents a significant addition to Wales’ national art collections.