Vue sur L’Estaque et le Château d’If by Paul Cézanne. Image provided by Arts Council England.

Export ban placed on Cézanne painting

Barney Weston, 25.06.2015
Painting was on long-term loan to Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge
UK culture minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export ban on a painting by Paul Cézanne.

The landscape painting, Vue sur L’Estaque et le Château d’If, will have to remain in the UK until 21 December, although the ban may be extended to 21 June 2016 if it looks likely that a UK buyer will come up with the asking price of £13.5m.

Having been passed down through Samuel Courtald’s family, the painting was sold in February. Beofre this it was on long-term loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge from 1985 until 2014.   

Tim Knox, director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, said: “We have been very grateful for the chance to display this beautiful picture for so many years alongside our fine collection of impressionists, but at £13.5m it is unlikely that the Fitzwilliam Museum would be able to match this sum to prevent its export.”

Vaizey made his decision following a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), which is administered by Arts Council England.

Aidan Weston-Lewis, a member of RCEWA, said: “Cézanne was a painter whose art was forged out of prolonged meditation on familiar motifs. Like Mont Sainte-Victoire, the village of L’Estaque and the Bay of Marseilles beyond was a view he returned to repeatedly during the 1870s and 1880s, and it inspired some of his most ground-breaking pictures of these decades. This is a rare opportunity to fill a significant gap in the UK’s otherwise impressive holdings of Cézanne’s work.”

The painting itself focuses on one of Cézanne’s favourite subjects, the Bay of L’Estaque on the Mediterranean at Marseilles, and is considered instrumental in bringing the impressionist and post-impressionist movements to the wider attention of the British public.


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Martin Stallion
MA Member
Team Leader, Archives Volunteers, Essex Police Museum
01.07.2015, 17:16
Of course, if it hadn't been exported from France at some time, it would never have been in the UK in the first place