UK Government place Export Ban on de Heem

January 21 2022

Image of UK Government place Export Ban on de Heem

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The UK Government have placed a temporary export ban on a Still Life by Jan Davidsz. de Heem. The work, which sold at Christie's in 2020, has been valued at £6,109,200.

According to Committee Member Christopher Baker:

De Heem’s splendid still life combines grandeur in terms of its scale with numerous exquisitely wrought details that encourage close looking. Man-made and natural wonders, such as Chinese porcelain and exotic fruits, tumble across the canvas, conveying great wealth and the pursuit of luxury, but also perhaps implicitly that the pleasures they signify are ephemeral. It is one of a group of works by the painter created in Antwerp in the early 1640s, which through their ambition and complexity marked not only a new phase in the development of his career but also a leap forward in the evolution of still life painting and its sumptuous possibilities. 

The artist’s magnificent pictures of this type appealed to distinguished collectors: an example in the Louvre had by the 1680s been acquired by Louis XIV. In this case the original patron is yet to be identified and the painting has only recently been re-discovered by art historians; it has however been in a private UK collection since the early nineteenth century and every effort should be made to retain it so it might delight and interest and benefit British gallery visitors.

Interested parties will have until 20th April 2022 to find the funds to keep the painting in the country.

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