The U.K. Has Blocked a $13 M. Cézanne Painting from Leaving the Country

The U.K. government has temporarily barred the export of a 19th-century painting by Paul Cézanne that had been on long-term loan to the Courtauld Gallery in London since 1980. That landscape painting, titled Ferme Normande, Été (Hattenville), 1882, is worth an estimated £10 million ($13 million).

The painting is one of the more valuable works of art to be designated with an export deferral in the U.K. in the last year. The government policy gives public institutions in the U.K. time to raise funds to acquire the work. One of them must secure funding by the end of July to keep the work in the nation’s borders.

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In a statement, the U.K.’s Export Reviewing Committee for Art Council England, an agency that oversees U.K. cultural property cases, said the work “marks an important moment in [Cézanne’s] career as his style and use of brushstroke developed in a new direction,” adding that the painting “forms part of the very important story of British taste.”

The oil painting is one of four works the French artist made depicting the Normandy site. It was first purchased by Victor Chocquet, a prominent impressionist collector and French government official, sometime in the late 19th century. At a later point, it passed into the hands of British industrialist and impressionist collector Samuel Courtauld in 1937. It was one of the last of a group of 12 paintings by the artist that the textile magnate, who founded the country’s Courtauld Institute of Art, ever acquired. Nearly a decade later, it sold to a private collector and passed through descent to the current owner, who remains anonymous.

The private owner of the painting has not at any point offered it as a gift to the Courtauld, where it was removed from view last year after four decades, a spokesperson for the institution told ARTnews in an email.

The university museum, which houses an art collection owned by the Samuel Courtauld Trust, “does not acquire major paintings and is not able to mount campaigns to raise funds for the purchase of significant works of art such as this,” the spokesperson added.

The U.K. agency pointed to the work’s ties to British history and its representation of “key developments in the artist’s caree,” as factors for potential buyers to consider.

“It would be a profound misfortune if this beguiling work could not be retained in this country,” said Christopher Baker, a member of the reviewing committee.


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