The painting is Feliks Topolski’s (1907-1989) Germany Defeated which was exhibited for the first time since it was completed at last year’s 20/21 British Art Fair.
“We are extremely pleased to extend Feliks Topolski’s representation in the collection,” said Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate. He added that it would be included in future displays at Tate sites.
The expressionist oil depicts Berlin in 1945 in the last days of Hitler’s regime.
Topolski was a cartoonist and illustrator. He was born in Warsaw and moved to England in 1935 and became a British subject in 1947.
Andrew Sim of Sim Fine Art described the piece as most significant war painting to have passed through his hands in six years of cataloguing war art.
"It's only fitting that it shoudl end up in a major national collection," Sim said. "When i first unpacked it in my living room, the image was so overwhelming that I almost couldn't bear to look at it. With that kind of power to disturb I knew it had to go to a major museum."
Sim Fine Art is a London-based specialist in British pictures. Their seventh annual war art show, Holding the Line, will run from November 14-20.