Collectors' gift of Hockney and Freud to the Tate honours its director

Mercedes and Ian Stoutzker have conferred an exceedingly generous donation on the gallery


David Hockney’s painting, Savings and Loan Building, 1966, and Lucian Freud’s Girl in a Striped Nightdress, 1983-85, recently included in the National Portrait Gallery’s Freud show (9 February-27 May), have been donated to the Tate by the philanthropists Mercedes and Ian Stoutzker, along with paintings by R.B. Kitaj, Peter Doig and George Shaw. A bust of the young Lucian Freud by Jacob Epstein and maquettes for work by Rachel Whiteread and Conrad Shawcross are included in the gift, which has been valued at around £12m. The nine works were chosen by the Salzburg-based Stoutzkers from their collection in consultation with the director of the Tate, Nicholas Serota. “The Stoutzkers have added exemplary individual paintings by two generations of British artists and have greatly enriched the national collection of art after 1960,” Serota says.

Mercedes Stoutzker started collecting art in the 1960s when she moved to London after her marriage. Her husband is a musician turned merchant banker. She says that the gift is in part a tribute to Serota’s achievements as director of the Tate. The Stoutzkers also hope that their donation might encourage more gifts to the Tate and other museums. Mercedes Stoutzker says her first purchases were made at auctions and on the secondary market “because I could not find the quality I wanted on the primary market as the best works in exhibitions were often pre-sold”. She has collected mainly figurative works. “I bought on impulse very often, and only if I was really in love with a work.” Last year, Ian Stoutzker, who founded the charity Live Music Now in 1977 with the late violinist Yehudi Menuhin, donated money to a concert hall in Cardiff named after his mother, a music teacher.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Gift to the Tate honours its director'