The barometer figure shows the amount of money secured through online donations and brushstroke purchases.
The Blue Rigi has been saved!
By David Barrie, Director, The Art Fund
We're delighted to announce that, thanks to the extraordinary response from the public to our appeal, the National Heritage Memorial Fund (the government's fund of last resort) has agreed to underwrite the remaining money needed to a maximum of £1.95m, so Turner's Blue Rigi is guaranteed to be saved for Tate.
The response to the public appeal we launched just over six weeks ago has been quite overwhelming. More than 11,000 people have helped to raise an astonishing £552,000, demonstrating a shared conviction that this masterpiece must not be lost to an overseas collector. This includes over £73,000 from people 'buying brushstrokes' on this website. Our thanks go to each and everyone of you.
This was a campaign that truly captured the popular imagination. Our target when we launched the public appeal was £300,000 - but your support, and the generosity of exisiting Art Fund members, was far more generous than we had dared to hope and a hugely decisive factor in the success of the campaign. There is a powerful message here from the public too - a demonstration of enthusiasm for great works of art and a desire to see them acquired by our public collections.
The watercolour was sold in the summer to a private collector abroad for a record £5.8m, but its export was delayed by the government to allow a gallery in this country time to raise the money to buy it. Tate needed to find £4.95m (taking account of tax remission), and allocated a record £2 million of its own funds towards the price. On 17 January, The Art Fund added £500,000 - one of our largest ever grants - and announced we would run a public appeal.
JMW Turner (1775-1851) is perhaps the greatest painter this country has ever produced, and The Blue Rigi is one of the finest watercolours from an extraordinary period of creativity towards the end of the artist’s life. Despite holding the Turner bequest, the national collection at Tate contains none of the finished Swiss watercolours from this period, of which the three Rigis are outstanding examples.
Turner’s Blue Rigi is another truly remarkable work. It is not a piece of art you will walk past without noticing. It is a work which represents the very highest achievement in watercolour by an artist who made the medium his own. As Turner’s great champion, John Ruskin, put it: ‘(These works) will be recognised, in a few more years, as the noblest landscapes ever yet conceived by human intellect.’ It will now be in Britain’s national collection for future generations to enjoy, and you can help us put it there.
Director, The Art Fund
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- The Art Fund
We are an independent charity committed to saving art for everyone to enjoy. Since 1903, we have helped to save over 850,000 works of art for public collections in the UK. Today, some 80,000 members fund our work.
In return, Art Fund members receive free or reduced-price admission to many museums and galleries in the UK. This is not the only reason they join: they support us because they love art.