EUGENE, Ore. — The Jordan Schnitzer Museum on the University of Oregon campus may not be one of the biggest, but it’s definitely gotten a hold of some big names in the art world thanks to its Masterworks on Loan Program.
Dozens of important works have come through it in recent years and while museum officials couldn’t say for sure, they say a tax break may be a big draw. Collectors who buy art in one state but live in another can owe thousands or more dollars in “use taxes”. These are taxes often incurred when someone ships an out-of-state purchase home. But, if they lend the recently purchased work first to museums like the Schnitzer, located in a handful of tax-friendly states, the transaction is often tax-free. The museum say it’s often a transaction both sides benefit from.
Executive Director Jill Hartz says, “It would be impossible for museums of our size to acquire them or to even be able to borrow them from other museums sometimes because of the restrictions on loans and when these works can be on view.”
One of the most recent acquirements is a Vincent van Gogh piece called “The Man is at Sea”.
Museum officials say another great benefit is the art really helps their educational mission. They say seeing a work of art in person is very different from looking at its picture in a book.