Manet portrait to stay in UK after export ban

LONDON Wed Aug 8, 2012 11:51am EDT

French impressionist Edouard Manet's 1868 oil on canvas painting ''Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus'' is seen in a picture released by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in Oxford August 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters

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LONDON (Reuters) - An impressionist portrait by French painter Edouard Manet will stay in Britain after an eight-month campaign raised nearly 8 million pounds ($12 million) to buy it.

The "Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus" will be on display at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, which launched the campaign to stop it going abroad.

The painting was sold to a foreign buyer last year for 28.35 million pounds. However the British government placed an export bar on the work which allowed it to be bought by a British public institution for a quarter of its market value.

"The public's response to the campaign for the Manet has been overwhelming," said Ashmolean Director Christopher Brown.

"This is one of the most important pictures of the 19th century which has been in Britain since its sale following the artist's death in 1884," he added in a statement.

The campaign saw donations from more than 1,000 members of the public, trusts and foundations, along with 5.9 million pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund and 850,000 pounds from the Art Fund charity.

Manet painted the portrait of musician Fanny Claus, his wife Suzanne Leenhoff's closest friend, in 1868.

The painting will be lent to public museums and galleries as part of a nationwide tour next year.

(Editing by Steve Addison)

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