UK Delays Getty Wright of Derby Purchase

Britain has placed a temporary export bar on Joseph Wright of Derby's Two Boys With a Bladder (about 1769-70), a painting the Getty Museum hopes to acquire. The move gives British institutions three months (until Jan. 16, 2020) to match the Getty's price, said to be £3.5 million ($4.51 million) plus value-added tax. Should a UK buyer show serious interest, the bar may be extended four months, to May 16, 2020.

The delay is routine in purchases of big-ticket older artworks from Britain. UK institutions hold such a large share of Wright's output, including An Experiment in an Air Pump (National Gallery, London) and An Iron Forge (Tate Britain), that the Getty probably stands a good chance of prevailing.

More on the painting here.


Anonymous said…
It's interesting the way a country long known for grabbing artifacts - including artworks (such as the Elgin Marbles, which are still within the rights of the UK to keep) - from throughout Europe and the world are now spoilsports about other places doing the same thing.

Good for me, but not for thee.
Anonymous said…
@anonymous True ...although the Getty is known for the same thing lol However, in this case, the Getty is going through the proper channels to acquire the painting. Is the UK the only country that screens exports? Imagine if the US did this??
Anonymous said…
@2nd anonymous Other European countries have similar procedures for art that will be leaving their borders after a sale or are on the market. France passed on putting any export restrictions on the rediscovered Caravaggio Judith, which seems to have ended up in a US private collection. The rumored buyer is J. Tomlison Hill, who also owns the Pontormo portrait of a man that was in the Getty's Miraculous Encounters exhibition earlier this year. That particular painting was in British collection and he bought it in 2015. The British put an export ban on it to allow time for the National Gallery to raise money to buy it. The British raised the 30 million pounds, but due to Brexit and the decline in value of the pound, Hill would not agree to sell it back to the National Gallery. When Hill bought it in 2015, he paid ~$42 million for it. In 2018, with the decline in the value of a pound compared to dollars, that amount was $36 million. Hill had to get a special export license for the painting to come to the US for the exhibition in New York and LA, and the painting had to be back in the UK after the Getty site closed. Hill can't apply for another permit for it to permanently leave the UK until 2027.

There's a Botticelli portrait from a Spanish private collection that was at Frieze Masters earlier this month with an asking price of $30 million. The sellers had to get a special temporary exit license for it to go to London. If it's sold, the new owner if they don't live in Spain will have to apply for a separate export license.