Rubens out of museum for money?


This video is called Peter Paul Rubens.

Not just dinosaur fossils; also art is under threat of being driven out of public museums by millionaires.

From British daily The Guardian:

Save our Rubens, historian urges

Charlotte Higgins, arts correspondent

Friday June 6, 2008

The Tate has until the end of July to raise £6m to save an exquisite Peter Paul Rubens sketch. And, according to historian David Starkey, the possibility that the work might leave the country is “absolutely unthinkable”.

The sketch is not simply evidence of a great artist’s first, questing thoughts, but an integral part of Britain’s history, argued Starkey yesterday.

It is the original plan for the magnificent ceiling of the Banqueting House, London, the only remaining part of Whitehall Palace, most of which burned down in 1698. The subject is the apotheosis of James I, commissioned by his son, Charles I. The final work was installed in 1635-6.

“Mostly it doesn’t matter where a Rubens is, or where a Turner is. But when you have a concatenation of history, place and biography like this then yes, it really does matter,” said Starkey.

The sketch is valued at £11m. But with tax concessions the Tate can purchase it for £6m, of which £1.56m has already been raised. The museum, which is appealing for public donations, has arranged a deadline of the end of July before the work goes on the open market. It is being sold by the family of Viscount Hampden, which has owned it for more than 200 years. It had been on loan to the National Gallery since 1981.

The painting was a representation of the Stuart political agenda, demonstrating the divine right of kings. The over-assertion of that doctrine was one of the factors that brought about the monarchy’s demise in the English Revolution. Charles I walked through the Banqueting House, beneath Rubens’ vision of his father, on his way to the scaffold on January 30 1649, having been found guilty of high treason.

The restoration of a painting by Rubens from London’s Courtauld Gallery has revealed that the work was probably not a commission, but created for the speculative market. Cain Slaying Abel, around 1608-09—one of the most significant works by the artist in the Courtauld’s collection—is due to go back on display next month, following an 11-month project to clean the work and address structural issues: here.

From The Art Newspaper:

Pre-Raphaelite collection saved for public display

Hammersmith & Fulham was considering selling the works

See also here.

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