The Tate, on the north bank of the Thames at Millbank, now houses the British collection and the collection of international modern art but can present only a small selection of either.
The plan envisages moving the international modern collection into a purpose-built Tate Gallery of Modern Art, which could cost up to pounds 100m, by 2000. Indeed, it is intended to set up a temporary Tate Gallery of Modern Art by 1995 while that is being built.
Dennis Stevenson, chairman of the Tate's trustees, firmly ruled out either the temporary or permanent museum being in the regions. 'Putting it outside London would be a political decision to limit its audience.'
The decision to split the Tate, predicted in the Independent in August, will have international repercussions in the art world. It will also make the Tate director, Nicholas Serota, a powerful figure.
Should he remain at the Tate he will be in overall control of The Tate Gallery of British Art, the new Tate Gallery of Modern Art, the Tate Gallery in Liverpool, and the nearly completed Tate Gallery in St Ives.
The new permanent gallery will be financed from a mixture of public and private money. A number of wealthy art lovers had already privately pledged support, Mr Stevenson said.
A sign of that confidence came in a separate announcement yesterday that an anonymous American benefactor had given dollars 10m ( pounds 6.6m) to redevelop part of the Millbank site.
Mr Stevenson said the trustees had spent two years looking at sites for the temporary Tate Museum of Modern Art. It would need about 50,000sq ft and an empty office block, of which there were many in London, might do. He was open to suggestions and offers.
Mr Serota said yesterday: 'The Tate Gallery of British Art is not in any sense a parochial venture. We will be tracing inter-relationships between British art and European art.' He added that the new modern art gallery would be the biggest project of its kind since the creation of the Tate in 1897.
PARIS (Reuter) - France's Louvre museum opened 39 new rooms yesterday, putting hundreds of 17th to 19th century French masters back on display and adding 150 works previously confined to the vaults.
The Galerie Sully, occupying a renovated section of the museum's main courtyard, was unveiled by President Francois Mitterrand. The gallery, which opens on Friday, will show works by Poussin, Lorrain, Delacroix and Corot.
The Richelieu wing, old home of the finance ministry, is due to be integrated into the museum from next November.Reuse content