They are Paul Cézanne’s (1839-1906) painting Farm in Normandy, Summer (Hattenville) and View of Verona with the Ponte delle Navi by Bernardo Bellotto (1722-80).
The current owner of the 1882 Cézanne picture applied for an export licence but it was blocked by the Department for Digital, Media Culture and Sport (DCMS) on the advice of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest.
The committee made its recommendation on the grounds that the painting met all three of the Waverley criteria (the basis used to determine whether works should be blocked from export) being “closely connected with our history and national life; of outstanding aesthetic importance; and of outstanding significance for the study of the development of Cézanne’s artistic style, as well as impressionist collections in the UK”.
The decision on the export licence application will be deferred until July 31 for an offer at the recommended price of £10m. This date can be extended if a firm offer is made.
The picture is one of four depictions of a site in Normandy which was particularly important to Cézanne due to its acquisition by his first major patron Victor Chocquet. It was later bought by Samuel Courtauld, in 1937, and once formed part of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Samuel Courtauld Collection.
Committee member Christopher Baker said: “Paul Cézanne’s status as a bridge between the traditions of 19th-century painting and modernism is unrivalled. The picture is also significant in the context of the artist’s career, as the farm depicted was acquired in the year Cézanne painted it by Victor Chocquet (1821-91), his first important patron and a key champion of impressionism.
“Because of its beauty, significance in the artist’s career, and role in the wider appreciation of such artistic achievements, it would be a profound misfortune if this beguiling work could not be retained in this country.”
Separately, the owner of View of Verona with the Ponte delle Navi by Bernardo Bellotto has also been blocked from securing an export licence in the hope £11.24m can be raised by a buyer to keep it in the UK.
Dating from the mid-18th century and measuring over 2m wide, the picture marks an important turning point in the young Bellotto’s career as he began a series of journeys around Italy and received his first royal commission for Charles Emmanuel III (1701-73), King of Sardinia and Duke of Savoy in 1745.
This is the first of Bellotto’s paintings to be recorded in Britain and its pair is now at Powis Castle. The committee said: “None of his works currently in this country represent the artist’s career so dramatically and beautifully, and the importance of the work to British art cannot be overstated.”
The committee made its recommendation on the grounds that the departure of the painting from the UK would be a “misfortune given its outstanding aesthetic importance and outstanding significance for the study of view painting in this country”.
Committee member Christopher Baker said: “Painted for an as yet unidentified British patron, View of Verona with the Ponte delle Navi is first recorded in London in 1771 when it was consigned to auction. It was conceived as one of a pair of pictures (pendants); its companion explores a complementary view of the river Adige, looking in the opposite direction, and hangs in the collection of Powis Castle (National Trust). Because of the aesthetic pre-eminence of Bellotto’s work and its fascination in terms of future research around such paintings and their patronage, it would be highly desirable if this wonderful picture could find a permanent home in a British public collection.”
The painting was sold at auction in July 2021 at Christie’s for a hammer price of £9m (£10.5m with fees) which was an artist’s record.
It had previously sold for £300,000 at Christie’s back in 1971, before then being acquired by member of the vendor’s family from dealer Cyril Humphris.
Humphris arranged the work to be loaned to the National Gallery of Scotland where it was hung from 1973 until last year (as reported in ATG No 2504).
An offer to pay £11.24m (including VAT) is needed by August 3.