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Gifts of Art

The National Gallery of Art houses a collection of masterpieces—American and European paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and photographs—dating from the late Middle Ages to the present day. Seeking to complement and enhance the collection in these areas, the Gallery looks to donors to help in its mission to present works of the highest quality.

All gifts of art must be formally accepted by the Board of Trustees for accession into the collection. Gifts of art that become part of the permanent collection continue to reaffirm the Gallery’s distinction.

Outright Gifts

The Gallery welcomes outright gifts of art that are in accord with the collection and adhere to the Gallery’s standards. Depending on the donor’s circumstances, an outright gift of art, if accepted, may entitle that donor to a current income tax deduction. The Gallery urges any donor considering a gift of art to consult with his or her tax adviser before making such a gift.

Promised Gifts

A donor who would like to give a work of art, but is not yet ready to part with it, may promise to give the work of art to the Gallery at a future date. While the Board of Trustees’ acceptance of a promised gift does not entitle the donor to a current income tax deduction, it provides the assurance that the Gallery will include the work in its collection whenever the donor chooses to give it. If the gift is made by bequest, this assurance enables the donor to develop an estate plan knowing that the value of the work will not be included in the taxable estate.

Partial Gifts

In making partial gifts of art, the donor transfers a fraction of his or her entire interest in a work of art to the Gallery with the promise to transfer the remaining fraction at a future date. Recent changes in the federal tax law impose numerous conditions on partial gifts made after August 17, 2006, creating certain restrictions in making such gifts. The Gallery urges any donor considering a gift of partial interest in a work of art to consult with his or her tax adviser before making such a gift.

The Gallery appreciates the generosity of donors who wish to make gifts of art. Because the Gallery does not deaccession works of art once they are accepted into the permanent collection, every donation must undergo a formal review process. To begin that process, a high-quality photograph of the work must be submitted for a curator’s review. In addition, biographical information about the artist, provenance documentation, and information on where the work has been exhibited must also be submitted. If you wish to learn more about donating a work of art, please contact the Development Office for assistance.

Thomas Moran, Green River Cliffs, Wyoming (detail), 1881, oil on canvas, Gift of the Milligan and Thomson Families, 2011.2.1