The Duke of Rutland’s Ordination by Poussin to be auctioned on 7th December at Christie’s

Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)
Huile sur toile - 95.5 x 121 cm
Duke of Rutland’s collection
In sale at Christie’s the 7 december 2010
Photo : Christie’s

19/9/10 – Art market – London – The first series of the Sacraments commissioned by Cassiano del Pozzo from Nicolas Poussin today resides in the Duke of Rutland’s collection, except for Penance which was lost in a fire in 1816, and Baptism purchased in 1939 by the National Gallery in Washington. In 2007, the Duke had stated that he wished to sell them all together (see our news item of 12/7/07) but had then changed his mind.

Christ’s has now announced that on 7th December, Ordination will come up for auction in London at an estimated price of 15 to 20 million pounds. We fear that the ensemble will thus continue to be dispersed. In a feeble hearted attempt to save national honour, the painting will perhaps be temporarily banned for export after the sale although there seems to be little hope that that the National Gallery of London, where it was on deposit along with the four others for the last several years – or even more so any other British museum – will be able to raise the needed funds, especially given the most recent drastic cuts of the cultural budget in the United Kingdom.
Our only hope now is that the National Gallery in Washington will manage to find the means to acquire this work, therefore providing us with the consolation of seeing Ordination reunited at least with Baptism.

Didier Rykner, dimanche 19 septembre 2010

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