Another Poussin Risks Export from the UK

Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)
Moses as a Child Trampling Pharaoh’s Crown, c. 1645
Oil on canvas - 99 x 142.2 cm
Property of the Duke of Bedford, sold to a foreign buyer
Photo : Department for Culture, Media & Sport

28/1/14 - Export of art works - United Kingdom - Another painting by Nicolas Poussin belonging to the Duke of Bedford and exhibited at Woburn Abbey, will be exported from the United Kingdom if a museum - or a private individual since British law allows this option - does not find the 14 million pounds needed to acquire it before 14 April 2014, a date which can be extended to 14 October if a credible buyer comes forward first [1].

The canvas represents Moses as a child trampling Pharaoh’s crown. This is the first version of the subject, painted for Pointel probably in 1645. The second one today resides at the Louvre. Although the frieze composition of both works is similar, they nevertheless present notable variations in the figures ; the scene from the Louvre is set indoors, with a curtained background, while the (for now) British one is depicted in what looks like a courtyard, with an architectural representation of a temple with ionic columns on the left and a landscaped background on the right partly hidden by a low wall.
The provenance of the painting is a prestigious one as it was in the collection owned by the Duke d’Orleans and sold in London by Phihlippe-Egalité in 1792.

We should recall that recently the United Kingdom authorized the export of Ordination to Fort Worth from the series of the Seven Sacraments painted for Cassiano del Pozzo while the Fitzwilliam successfully purchased Extreme Unction. Although the Duke of Rutland has apparently promised to keep the remaining three works from the series for several years still, another masterpiece by Poussin now runs the risk of leaving British soil.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 28 janvier 2014


[1] This information was published for the first time on Bendor Grosvenor’s blog and was pointed out to us by Moana Weil-Curiel.

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