Art Market

Nova Scotia may pay $2.3 million to Annie Leibovitz to allow an exhibition of her work to move forward.

Isaac Kaplan
May 24, 2018 2:25PM, via CBC

The exhibition of some 2,000 works by Leibovitz at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia stalled when the photographer, who holds the copyright to the images, refused to allow them to be shown. The trove was purchased from Leibovitz for a promised sum of $4.75 million in 2013 by the Mintz family, who then donated the works to the museum. However, the plan to exhibit them hit a snare. Half the promised $4.75 million asking price was slated to come when the donation received a certification of cultural significance—and thus garner a major tax break for the Mintz family—from the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board. But the board has repeatedly rebuffed the efforts, declaring over and over that the collection fails to meet the criteria needed to be culturally outstanding. Without the tax break, the Mintz family has yet to pay the final $2.3 million of the purchase price.

On Wednesday, Nova Scotia culture minister Leo Glavine told the CBC that the province may be able to pay to fill the gap, if it means the exhibition can move forward. As CBC reported:

[Glavine] said mounting a Leibovitz exhibit would put Nova Scotia on the map internationally.
"Nothing has been put on the table for us at this stage," he said. "I think again there is great opportunity (and) immense potential, to have her works displayed here at the Art Gallery and that would not be out of the question if that became the bottom line to get Annie available, not just to Nova Scotians," he said.
"We know there would be interest well beyond the borders of our province for her work."
Isaac Kaplan
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