British arts minister steps in to save Sargent's First World War landscape from export
CGTN

An export ban was placed Friday to prevent a painting by Britain's official World War I artist from leaving the country.

Arts Minister Michael Ellis stepped in in a bid to keep the First World War painting by John Singer Sargent in the country. It will need a British buyer to match a price tag of more than 7.6 million U.S. dollars to save the famous work for the country.

The painting, called "In the Austrian Tyrol", was painted in 1914 while Sargent was trapped in foreign territory after the outbreak of the First World War and was unable to return to England.

"In the Austrian Tyrol" by John Singer Sargent. /Photo via Gov.uk

"In the Austrian Tyrol" by John Singer Sargent. /Photo via Gov.uk

Experts believe the landscape depicts Sargent and his guide, resting by a watermill at the foot of the dramatic Sella mountain range in Kolfuschg, Austria, known today as Colfosco and part of Italy.

The Sargent family visited the Alps almost every year. However, the artist did not begin to paint the region until the early 1900s.

Experts have described the painting as a complex piece, representing one of Sargent's Alpine scenes which are rare in British collections. It was selected for a memorial exhibition in London in 1926 as one of the best examples of his work.

Until recently the landscape was on a long term loan from to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.

File of a visitor watches "The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit" by John Singer Sargent, when it was on display at the National Gallery in London, UK. /VCG Photo

File of a visitor watches "The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit" by John Singer Sargent, when it was on display at the National Gallery in London, UK. /VCG Photo

"John Singer Sargent spent much of his life in the UK and is highly admired and greatly studied by art lovers across the UK. It would be a great shame if this outstanding work is taken away from the great artist's spiritual home," said the minister.

"As a nation we have just concluded our commemorations for the First World War centenary and it is a fitting tribute to the artists embedded in the conflict that we keep this work in the country for public display."

Born to American parents in Tuscany, Sargent was commissioned as a war artist by the British Ministry of Information and went on to depict many aspects of the First World War. Sargent died in London in 1925 at the age of 69.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency