Bradford Council have come under pressure to auction some of their artworks amid sharp budget cuts.
Opposition Liberal Democrat and
Conservative councillors have urged the ruling Labour authority to
sell. They argue much of the collection (a reported 4000-plus
pieces) is kept in storage rather than on display and say current
insurance cover of £20m is inadequate.
However, challenging some of the
statistics, the ruling Labour group have rejected the calls for a
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford
Council's executive member for employment, skills and culture,
said: "Contrary to press reports, Bradford does not have £600m of
art. The insurance value for the art plus objects in our entire
collection is approximately £90m."
She added that there had been no
discussion at official level about selling works from the
collection, nor were there plans to do so.
"Bradford Council does not own all of
this collection," she said. "Some of it is on different types of
loan from 123 individual lenders and 21 institutions. Council
taxpayers have paid for very little of the collection as 97% of the
items have been donated or loaned."
Asked why there was a recent
assessment by an auction house, a spokesperson said: "The
highest-value items [195 in total worth about £30m] were valued as
part of the council's internal audit process to assess finances
across all departments and analyse insurance cover for museum
collections. The remainder of the items are of a much lower
Bradford's collection includes Le
Plongeur (Paper Pool 18), 1978, by David Hockney, who was born
in the city, which is currently on loan to the Walker Art Gallery
in Liverpool. Hockney says he is strongly against any
Many local authorities face a similar
dilemma at a time of budget cuts. As reported previously, Croydon
council controversially offered 24 items from the Riesco
collection of Chinese ceramics on November 27 at Christie's
Only 17 of them sold for a
premium-inclusive total of £8.2m total, below hopes of £9m-13m, but
Christie's said there was post-sale interest in the
On December 5 Croydon Museum's
Accreditation status was removed for five years by Arts Council
England's Accreditation panel. This could affect funding and loans
Also reported in ATG was the decision by
Tower Hamlets council in East London to auction off a
Henry Moore sculpture known as 'Old Flo', valued at up to £17m.
They are determined to sell despite an ownership dispute over the
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