Monday, 5 August 2019

"Export ban to stop £10m JMW Turner painting leaving UK"

From the BBC:

A temporary export bar has been placed on a £10m painting by one of the UK's most celebrated artists, JMW Turner. The masterpiece, The Dark Rigi, the Lake of Lucerne, depicts a scene in the Swiss mountains - but there are fears it could be exported for sale abroad.

Arts minister Rebecca Pow said it would be a "terrible loss to the whole country" if the painting went overseas. The export ban runs until 1 December, in the hope the money can be raised to buy it and keep it in the UK.

Why? Why is this any of the government's business? Why is this considered A Good Thing?

While Turner is indisputably one of the greats, I'd never heard of this particular painting, and I guess most people hadn't, ergo it would be no loss to most of us whatsoever. As long as somebody, somewhere is enjoying it, so be it.

The logical conclusion of this would be that British galleries would send back all paintings by French artists to France, by German artists to Germany etc and only display paintings by British artists. Which I think would make visiting galleries anywhere a lot less interesting. Ergo, this would be A Bad Thing. Is it not vastly preferable for each of the main galleries in every country to show paintings by artists from around the world?


Bayard said...

Probably these sorts of shenanigans mean that the owner ends up getting a better price for their painting.

Rich Tee said...

I don't like the idea of works of art going into the private collections of filthy rich people who just hang it on their living room wall.

Having said that, rich people do seem to loan them out or exhibit them themselves eg. Getty Collection, or they get donated to museums after their death.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, maybe, maybe not if not allowed to export.

RT, that would be a sensible condition, can go abroad but only to a public gallery for all to see, including British tourists abroad.

benj said...

If I owned it, and was rich enough not to care, I'd publicly burn it just as a big fuck you.

It's just a painting. Capital with provence (I assume). The owner should be allowed to do what they want with it. If the state thinks otherwise, it should buy it at market price.

As a related point

The Stigler said...

Quite. It's not one of the great ones in the National Gallery that really are national treasures and great works of art. I particularly like his train painting.

It's been in private hands for presumably decades and no one missed it, so why care now?

I'm not against notable heritage being preserved but there's far too much of it in the UK. Museums that are mostly empty, listed buildings no one cares about. There's tons of government owned painting in storage.

Mark Wadsworth said...

BJ, you are a Philistine!

TS: "It's been in private hands for presumably decades and no one missed it, so why care now?"

Excellent question.