Louvre blocks sale of Chardin’s record-breaking strawberries

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Jean-Baptiste Chardin’s sale of a record € 24.3 million of still life to a New York dealer has been put on hold as the Louvre wants to buy it.

Lawrence de Karl, director of the Louvre, Le Figaro What she requested Wild strawberry basket It should be classified as a “national treasure” and we are looking for sponsors to buy it. Under French law, which is much stricter than English law on such issues, this means that the work can be held for two and a half years.

The painting was sold last week at the Paris auction house Artcurial to dealer Adam Williams, who was bidding in a room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Artcurial states that it was not possible to grant an export certificate because it requested an export certificate just 10 days before the sale and just before the auction. The auction house says that there is no contact before the sale, but everyone needs to be aware that in France a masterpiece may be subject to such a procedure (called a pre-exemption).

Williams did not respond Of the art newspaper I asked for comment, but according to a statement from the auction house, he and his clients “are aware of the importance of work, so it’s okay to wait for results.”

The Advisory Board will meet in mid-April. We rarely reject requests from the Louvre. However, some experts and curators are personal about buying such expensive pieces when the museum’s budget collapses, especially given that the collection already contains 41 Chardins. Has expressed concern.

The Louvre is also on the verge of buying a panel rediscovered by Cimabue. The mockery of Christ.. In 2019, it was sold to Alvarosaie, Chilean billionaire owner of the New York-based Alana collection, at the Acteon Auction for € 19.5 million, the world record for pre-500 paintings. .. After that, it was stolen as a national treasure. With Chardin. At the same time, the Musée d’Orsay plans to purchase the landscape of Gustave Caillebotte for € 42 million.

Chardin’s Strawberries set an auction record for 18th century French painting, and the Louvre has no cash to pay for it. The museum allocates 20% of its tickets to acquisitions, typically raising between € 5 million and € 8 million annually. However, its attendance has declined by 70% over the past two years, and with the increase in young European visitors, about half are free to enter.

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