Will Export Ban Devalue Picasso’s £50m “Child with a Dove”? – artmarketblog.com
The decision to slap a temporary export ban on Picasso’s Child with a Dove following the announcement that Christie’s had been asked to find a buyer for the painting by the Aberconway family in Wales, who are the current owners of the painting, raises serious questions about the effect that the ban will have on the value of the painting in the future.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey enacted the export ban to allow sufficient time for money to be raised by any British cultural institutions interested in purchasing the painting so that the it can remain in the UK.
Commenting of the significance of the work to the UK, Aidan Weston-Lewis, Reviewing Committee member, said “Child with a Dove is a much-loved painting whose iconic status; together with its long history in British collections – latterly on loan to public galleries – make it of outstanding importance to our national heritage”.
Although the value of the painting, which has been estimated at £50 million, is not really currently affected by the ban, because it is currently only a temporary ban, the fact that any future attempts to sell the painting overseas could be subject to a similar ban could act as a deterrent to potential future buyers.
If the painting is purchased by a British museum or gallery, and were to be offered for sale again in the future, any potential buyer would know that a similar situation could arise. Having to deal with the stress and trauma of an export ban would likely put off any future buyers even if the ban were only temporary. Who would want to have to deal with such an event when they have just spent tens of millions of dollars on a work of art?
Because the work is currently being sold by private treaty, the effect of the ban is not as severe as it would be if the work were being sold at auction. The private treaty process will allow time for rationalisation and negotiation whereas an auction would require snap judgements to be made which could potentially cause buyers to think twice about purchasing the painting.
Child with a Dove was acquired in 1924 by Mrs R. A. Workman, who then sold the painting several years later to Samuel Courtauld, one of the most important art collectors in Britain and co-founder of the Courtauld Institute of Art. On his death in 1947 Samuel Courtauld bequeathed the painting to Lady Aberconway.
The decision on the export licence application will be deferred until 16 December 2012. This may be extended until 16 June 2013 if a serious intention to raise funds is expressed, at the recommended price of £50 million.
**Nicholas Forrest is a Sydney/London based art market analyst, art consultant and writer. He is the founder of the Art Market Blog (artmarketblog.com) which offers independent commentaries as well as research and analysis on the current art market, and has recently been published in Fabrik magazine, Verve magazine, Visual Art Beat magazine, Australian Art Collector magazine, Art & Investment magazine and many others. Nic has made several radio appearances (both nationally and internationally) as an art market expert and has received press from the likes of the New York Times, Conde Nast Portfolio and Times of London.
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