News story

Manet portrait saved for the nation

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Oxford museum acquires nineteenth century work.

Nearly £8 million has been raised by the Ashmolean Museum to buy Edouard Manet’s Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus and keep it in the UK.

The work had been purchased by a foreign buyer, but was placed under a temporary export bar last year by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey to give British museums and galleries the opportunity to raise funds to keep it in the country.

The Ashmolean’s campaign received support of £5.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a grant of £850,000 from the Art Fund. More than a million was raised via grants and donations from trusts, foundations and members of the public.

“Overwhelming response”

Dr Christopher Brown CBE, Director of the Ashmolean, said: “The public’s response to the campaign for the Manet has been overwhelming. The museum is enormously grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund, other foundations and many individuals who contributed so generously and helped us save Manet for the public.

“To have succeeded in acquiring the portrait this year, when the UK is in the international spotlight, is something of which the museum and the entire country can be proud.”

Mr Vaizey said: “I am delighted that the temporary export bar I placed on the painting has resulted in the Ashmolean being able to acquire this fantastic work by one of the greatest painters of the nineteenth century. I congratulate the Ashmolean on their campaign and it’s wonderful that Manet’s painting will now be on public display where it can be enjoyed and appreciated by all.”

The painting is a first version of Le Balcon, one of the key images of the Impressionist movement which is now in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.

The Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus will be lent to public museums and galleries in a nationwide tour in 2013.

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