Exports and acquisitions: tears or cheers?

FOR OVER A CENTURY lamentations over the inexorable flow of great works of art from British private collections to museums 0r private owners abroad have been a commonplace. Several of the founders of this Magazine in 1903 were also instrumental in the establishment, in the same year, of the National Art-Collections Fund (today the Art Fund), which was set up to assist mus-eums in the United Kingdom with acquisitions, not least great works of art threatened with export, such as Holbein’s Christina of Denmark, Duchess of Milan, acquired for the National Gallery in 1909 thanks to a last minute anonymous donation made through the Art Fund. 

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Post-War art. Munich

MUSEUMS HAVE BEEN struggling with how to present modern and contemporary art on a global scale ever since the landmark exhibition held in Paris in 1989, Magiciens de la Terre, brought together Western and so-called non-Western art.1 Soon thereafter the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tate London, and the Musée national d’art moderne, Paris, launched new collecting strategies embracing cultures beyond North America and Western Europe.

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