UK Culture Minister Slaps Export Bar on $22 Million Veronese Masterpiece

Will a British institution or collector step in?

veronese feature

UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on a 400-year-old drawing by Renaissance master Paolo Veronese with an asking price of £15,400,000 plus VAT of 20 percent ($22,162,757).

Vaizey is trying to keep the drawing—a preparatory work for the painting Apotheosis of Venice (1582) commissioned by the Venetian authorities in 1577, after two fires at the Doge’s Palace prompted a commission for the palace to be redecorated entirely.

Paolo Veronese Trumphant 1582 Photo: courtesy the Department of Culture, Media & Sport

Paolo Veronese, Venice Trumphant (c. 1582). 
Photo: Courtesy the Department of Culture, Media & Sport.

The finished painting occupies the central ceiling compartment in the Sala del Maggior Consiglio, the most important room in the Doge’s Palace.

“This rare drawing provides us with a remarkable insight into how Veronese created one of his most famous works,” Vaizey said of the work in a statement. “I hope we can find a buyer to keep this beautiful artwork here in the UK.”

Ed Vaizey attends the 2016 Into Film Awards Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Ed Vaizey. 
Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images.

This preparatory drawing is considered the most important of the three drawings made in relation to the final painting, and it is thought that Veronese used it to experiment with the final composition. The decision to defer the licence comes after the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects Cultural Interest (RCEWA) made a recommendation due to the significance of the work and its status as Veronese’s most impressive modelli.

An export deferral can be applied when a private owner wants to take a work of significant value out of the country. Once the licence has been deferred, there is a period of around two months when someone can state intent to buy the work—with proof of funds—and then there is a following two month period after which the owner is approached if there is a buyer.

If the owner turns down the offer, the work will remain in the country for 10 more years. If no one comes forward, then the work simply leaves the country.

Vaizey has slapped a deferral on the work in an effort to persuade a British institution or collector to splash out on the stunning and unique masterpiece. The first deadline for potential buyers of this Veronese gem is on June this year.

“This spectacular sheet offers a fascinating insight into the working method of one of the foremost artists of the Venetian Renaissance,” said RCEWA member Aidan Weston-Lewis in a statement.

Rembrandt’s Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet (1657).Photo: Courtesy Gov.uk

Rembrandt’s Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet (1657), was too slapped with an export ban.
Photo: Courtesy Gov.uk

Vaizey has used the export ban several times recently to fight items of great value and historical significance leaving the UK. For example, his intervention helped rescue a ring owned by Jane Austen from the clutches of X-Factor US winner Kelly Clarkson. The Jane Austen’s House Museum ended up buying back the ring back after an anonymous donor came forward.

Export bans and deferrals have also been used to keep a ring owned by Joan of Arc and a $54 million Rembrandt from leaving UK.

Those interested in purchasing the drawing should telephone RCEWA on:  +44 (0) 845 300 6200.


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