&#91EDITORIALS&#93A look at art's real value

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93A look at art's real value

It is heartening to hear that private art collectors are donating their collections to public art galleries. It is surprising to find that the works of Korea's top-ranking painters in the last century, such as Park Soo-keun and Lee Jung-seop, are donated to public galleries: The price of these paintings ranges from several hundred million to billions of won.

Since local autonomy has been introduced, local administrations have concentrated their efforts on creating pride. Riding on the boom, local governments opened art galleries commemorating native artists. But many such galleries fail to collect enough art works to put on display.

In the case of famous painters who are deceased, the price of paintings is so expensive that purchasing them with the budget of a local government is unimaginable. The only way to fill the local galleries is relying on the "sharing spirit" of private collectors. It is not easy, however, to persuade collectors, who invested fortunes in the art they love, by saying, "Let's enjoy art work together instead of enjoying it privately." Conditions must be created to persuade people to donate their art for everyone to see.

The galleries can put name tags of donators beside the paintings they donated and provide a special exhibition for a donator, introducing him and exhibiting the works donated by him. At the same time, the gallery should honor donators and their family members, affording them special treatment.

More active inducement would be providing practical return to the donators. Under current law, those who donate art works to public institutes are entitled to a tax reduction. Business concerns can get an exemption within 5 percent of their annual turnover and individuals an exemption within 10 percent of his annual income. But there is no institute to evaluates the value of art work objectively. So private donors have lost their chance to get tax deductions.

In recent donations, donors did not want any benefits in return. But we should not let this stand as is. It is urgent to establish a government-recognized public institute that can evaluate the value of art works.
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