The Guardian asks the haunting question: What happens if the rich need to realize the value of their art on loan to Britain’s national collections. They come up with 2% as the figure for how much of the art is privately owned:
Conservative estimates suggest that one in 50 of all works in the national art collections is a loan – and as even the super-rich face a tough 2009, private owners may be moved to sell.
If all the art on private loan were assembled under one roof, its value would run into billions. As well as the Titians, the loans include the rest of the Bridgewater collection – wonderful paintings by Poussin, Rubens, Raphael, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Monet, Manet, and Gauguin, bronzes and jades, tapestries and marble sculptures. No museum in the land, no possible combination of lottery funds, charity awards and government grants could pay for them all.
The National Gallery in London alone has almost 250 loans, the oldest dating to 1927. Most are from other museums or institutions, or collectors who will never sell, like the Queen’s loan to the V&A of seven enormous tapestry designs by Raphael.