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We can only save the arts if we stop sneering at big business

We can only save the arts if we stop sneering at big business


Let’s hear it for Leonard Blavatnik — again. The Odesa-born British-American billionaire, 65, has just donated £10 million towards the National Portrait Gallery’s renovation. That’s his second big donation to a London arts institution this year. Another multimillion-pound gift will enable the Imperial War Museum to open a gallery of war photography, film and art. And prior to that? Beneficiaries of Blavatnik’s philanthropy in the capital now include the Courtauld Gallery (£10 million), Tate Modern (£50 million) and the V&A (£5 million). He also bought the Theatre Royal Haymarket for a reputed £45 million. Outside London there’s also the small matter of his £75 million donation to Oxford University and the £7.7 million he chipped in this year to stop the Honresfield Library of literary manuscripts being sold abroad.

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