The National Gallery in Sofia received a donation of BGN 1,771,261.35 pursuant to the will of our fellow countrywoman, Ms Margarita Zaneff, Bulgarian-born, who died in 2016 in Australia.
Information about Ms Zaneff is scanty. She emigrated to Australia in 1960. Her husband, Tsanko, and their son Anton, died before her. From the Australian press, we understand that Ms Margarita Zaneff was an art collector. There had been no contact between her and the National Gallery in Sofia over the years.
In accordance with the will, Ms Zaneff donated to the New South Wales Art Gallery in Sydney half the amount after the sale of her real estate, and the other half to the National Gallery in Sofia. In the words of attorney Warwick Dunn of Biddulph & Salenger, the firm that prepared the will in 2008 and performed the disposition of inheritance, Ms Zaneff was an extremely erudite person and a great admirer of art, aware of its significance to society. The donation is a patriotic gesture to the country in which she was born, and an expression of gratitude to the state that had accepted her and where she spent much of her life.
According to the will, certified by the Supreme Court of New South Wales following the death of Ms Margarita Zaneff in 2016, the law firm Biddulph & Salenger was commissioned to sell the property and transfer the money to the New South Wales Art Gallery in Sydney and the National Gallery in Sofia. One of her two properties in Waverton was mentioned in the Australian press. It had been in the possession of the family since 1963. In its garden, the son Anton had planted a white azalea for his mother.
Upon completion of the proceedings, attorney Warwick Dunn sent an official letter to the management of the National Gallery in Sofia informing them that Ms Margarita Zaneff’s properties had been sold and the National Gallery was to receive half of their value.
Following confirmation by the Bulgarian Embassy in Canberra, the National Gallery’s management sent all the information required to attorney Warwick Dunn, and the amount was transferred only days ago to the bank account of the National Gallery in Sofia.