Louvre in €1m plea to art lovers

Art lovers have been asked to find €1m so the Louvre can stop the 16th-century painting the Three Graces leaving France

16 November 2010

THE LOUVRE has launched an appeal to save a Renaissance masterpiece after it fell €1 million short of the €4m asking price for the Three Graces by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

It is the first time the Paris museum has called on art lovers to fund an acquisition, but it says that the “national treasure” should not be allowed to leave France.

Les Trois Grâces, painted in 1531, has never been shown in public. Its present owners have had it since 1932 and Louvre president Henri Loyrette called for “one last effort” to save the painting for the nation.

Measuring just 24cm by 37cm, the painting was described by Mr Loyrette as “a work that is at the same time amusing, troubling, mysterious and, yet, with a great sensuality”.

The appeal is on the internet at www.troisgraces.fr but has been attacked in some quarters because the Louvre is already heavily funded by public money.

Sponsors have until January to send in their donations and the museum needs to have the whole sum by January 31 if the painting is to be saved.

A similar appeal in 1994 saved Canova’s Three Graces for its joint owners, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Galleries of Scotland, after donations from sponsors including the late John Paul Getty II raised the £7.6m needed.

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