British and Irish Institutions Reach Agreement on Disputed Collection of French Art

Art institutions in England and Ireland have come to a new agreement regarding the collection of Hugh Lane, who died in 1915 when the Lusitania was sunk. According to a report by the Guardian, the National Gallery in London and the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin have established a 10-year partnership that will involve two groups of five paintings rotating between the two institutions for five years at a time.

Through the new agreement, two works will remain permanently in London: The Duc d’Orléans, which is attributed to Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s studio, and Puvis de Chavannes’s The Beheading of John the Baptist. Staying on long term-loan in Dublin are pieces by Corot, Courbet, and others.

Lane’s collection features works by marquee names like Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Berthe Morisot, and the National Gallery and Hugh Lane Gallery have been disputing over his will for over 100 years. One group of the paintings in the new agreement features pieces by Renoir, Morisot, and Honoré Daumier, while other has works by Manet, Degas, and Édouard Vuillard.

The two institutions said in a statement, “In moving on from previous agreements made during the past 50 years, the two galleries are now committed to working in partnership regarding the care and display of these paintings in a spirit of collegiality. In the spirit of partnership, the works will now all be labelled ‘Sir Hugh Lane bequest, 1917, the National Gallery, London. In partnership with the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin.’”

Barbara Dawson, director of Hugh Lane Gallery, told the Guardian that the agreement “underpins the collegial relationship that has developed between the two institutions. Importantly, it acknowledges the history and the role of the Hugh Lane Gallery in the provenance of these paintings and means that people in both countries can continue to enjoy Sir Hugh’s celebrated bequest.”

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