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Manet painting saved for the nation after temporary export bar

  • Date: 10 August 2012
  • Area: National
woma, girl and older man stand either side of large painting of woman in white dress

Ms Vicky Hirsch, a freelance art teach from West Oxford Primary School, and her 11 year old daughter Mara Talbot - the last donors to the public appeal. Credit: David Fisher Photography

Edouard Manet's Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus has been bought by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford after an eight month fundraising campaign to save the painting for the nation.

Export bar

The painting had been bought by a foreign buyer in 2011 for £28.4 million. However it was then placed under a temporary export bar by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey after the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, administered by the Arts Council, recommended the painting was of outstanding cultural importance.

The painting was then made available to British public institutions for sale at 27 per cent of its market value.

Fundraising campaign

The Ashmolean Museum had donations from hundreds of members of the public to reach the £7.83 million required to buy the painting. It also received £5.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and a grant of £850,000 from The Art Fund.

The final £1,080,000 was contributed via grants and donations from trusts, foundations and private individuals. It was the most significant acquisition in the museum's history.

Cultural significance

Manet was one of the greatest painters of the 19th century. During his lifetime he was controversial, but his work was hugely admired by artists and his reputation grew rapidly in the 20th century.

The portrait is a first version of Le Balcon (1868-9) now in the Musée d'Orsay - one of the key images of the Impressionist movement. The work was inspired by the sight of people on a balcony during a summer spent in Boulogne-sur-Mer with his family in 1868, and Le Balcon famously draws on Goya's Majas on a Balcony painted around 1810.

This acquisition by the Ashmolean adds to the museum's permanent collections and the Pissarro Family Collection to make it a world-class centre for the study of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist work.

Ed Vaizey, Culture Minister, commented:

'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 19th 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.'

Further information

Find out about other items currently under temporary export deferral on our Cultural Property pages.

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