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The Getty gets £24.5m Parmigianino after no UK museum tries to match price

Export bar lifted on Italian Mannerist painting that has been in Britain for 250 years

by Martin Bailey  |  12 June 2017
The Getty gets £24.5m Parmigianino after no UK museum tries to match price
Parmigianino's The Virgin and Child with Saint Mary Magdalen and the Infant Saint John the Baptist was sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles for £24.5m  
The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has successfully acquired Parmigianino’s £24.5m painting of The Virgin and Child with Saint Mary Magdalen and the Infant St John the Baptist. Dating from around 1535-40, it is one of the finest works by Parmigianino (Francesco Mazzola) in private hands. The painting was sold by the Dent-Brocklehurst family of Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, and has been in the UK for nearly 250 years. Sotheby’s handled the private sale.

A UK export licence was deferred last February, to enable a British buyer to match the price. Although London’s National Gallery had shown the painting on loan, it decided against trying to raise the funds, partly because it has recently been considering other acquisitions. No other UK museums attempted to make a bid.

The export deferral deadline passed on 9 June and today (12 June) Arts Council England, which administers the export scheme, told The Art Newspaper that an export licence will now be issued. This means that the Getty is free to take the Parmigianino to the US. Timothy Potts, the museum’s director, has described the acquisition as “a rare opportunity to enrich our collection with a masterpiece from one of the most accomplished Italian artists of the 16th century”. 

A Getty spokeswoman said today that the museum is still awaiting the official news, but hopes to put this “spectacular painting” on view with its other great 16th-century Italian works.

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