The Nova Scotia government says it won’t ante up to help the provincial art gallery exhibit pictures by famed American photographer Annie Leibovitz.
Culture Minister Leo Glavine had said in May it “wouldn’t be out of the question” the province could consider helping the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia pay the exhibition fee to showcase the iconic collection, though he said no request had been made to the province.
But Glavine now says the government isn’t prepared to negotiate a monetary settlement to get the works on display.
A wealthy Toronto family donated the multi-million-dollar collection of Leibovitz photographs in June 2013, but they have been stuck in storage at the Halifax gallery as a tax battle waged with Ottawa.
The Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board ultimately turned down a series of requests to grant the collection a stamp of cultural significance, thus withholding lucrative tax incentives to the art donor and the final payment to Leibovitz, which is more than $2 million.
WATCH: Halifax snags Liebovitz exhibit
Glavine says art gallery CEO Nancy Noble has been trying to negotiate a resolution for the last year, although he says there is nothing to report in terms of how soon a potential agreement can be reached.
The influential works include an introspective image of the Queen and a portrait of a pregnant Demi Moore.
Other works include Whoopi Goldberg bathing in milk, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as the Blues Brothers, and a striking photo of a naked John Lennon and Yoko Ono hours before the musician was gunned down in front of his New York apartment.