The family of painter Lucian Freud donated a 19th-century masterpiece to the National Gallery – to thank Britain for offering him refuge from the Nazis in 1933.
L'Italienne ou La Femme à la Manche Jaune, by Jean-Baptiste Carot, was bought by Freud in 2001. It was acccepted in lieu of inheritance tax following the painter's death in 2011.
It has not been shown in public for more than 60 years and for many years was in the collection of Hollywood actor Edward G Robinson.
National Gallery director Dr Nicholas Penny said: "This painting is a great addition to the National Gallery where, although we have a very strong collection of Corot's works, we have no example of a late figure painting of this kind.
"It's rough-hewn monumentality and abrupt transitions anticipate Picasso's exercises in the classical manner and make it one of the most modern looking paintings in the Collection. Freud was a frequent visitor to the Gallery and had an exact idea of the impact that this bequest would make."
Freud, grandson of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and the brother of the late television personality Sir Clement Freud, was born in Berlin in 1922.
His Jewish family had to flee the city in 1933 and he become a British citizen in 1939.
He was noticed for his talent early on in his life and, after a spell in the Merchant Navy in 1942, had his first one-man show in 1944, when he was 21.
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