A COUNCIL-OWNED painting by world-renowned artist Lucian Freud is to be loaned out for a new touring exhibition in South America.
Hartlepool Borough Council has agreed to loan Head of a Woman to the British Council for an exhibition in Brazil and Venezuela next year.
But town residents will be able to see the painting when it goes on display at Hartlepool Art Gallery this November and December.
Head of a Woman is currently on display in a New York gallery and will return later this summer.
Lucian Freud, a realist painter, died last year at the age of 88.
Independent councillor Cath Hill, portfolio holder for children’s and community services, approved the loan at a recent meeting.
A report by John Mennear, the council’s assistant director of child and adult services, said the authority was approached by the British Council for the temporary loan for inclusion in their exhibition Lucian Freud: Brazil / Venezuela 2013.
The artwork, painted in 1970, is currently on loan to Blain/Southern and is just finishing its public showing at Acquavella Galleries, in New York, before returning to Hartlepool.
The painting will then be loaned to the British Council, which will cover all the costs including transport and insurance, from mid-January 2013 to January 2014.
Mr Mennear said: “This loan significantly raises the public profile of the quality of the collection of the Museum of Hartlepool.
“It gives us the opportunity to develop strong links with both the British Council, and other International arts organisations, especially those who could lend to us in return.
“We would be directly contributing to the British Council’s core mission to build cultural, educational and business links between Britain and overseas.”
He added: “Lucian Freud is widely regarded as one of the greatest British artists of all time.
“Exhibitions of his work are major events in the arts and cultural world, and it is a great privilege to be asked to contribute to this exhibition.”
A report said the artwork will be transported in a bespoke crate by highly experienced international art handlers and shippers.
Meanwhile, a professional art courier will also accompany the work.
Coun Hill said: “Everybody that sees the exhibition will see that this is from Hartlepool and I think that is amazing.
“Any fears I had have been allayed and the painting will be secure and come back to us safe.”
The painting has been owned by the council since 1971 when it was bought as part of package of other art.
The council has not disclosed its value.
Born in Berlin, Freud came to Britain in 1933 with his family when he was 10 and developed his passion for art.
He died at his London home on July 20 last year.