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hugh lane

This Dublin gallery wants its paintings back from London

The National Gallery in London has for decades claimed ownership of paintings left to Dublin in a codicil to Sir Hugh Lane’s will.

THE HUGH LANE Gallery in Dublin has said that a collection of impressionist paintings bequeathed to it by Sir Hugh Lane should be permanently returned to Dublin.

The National Gallery in London has claimed ownership of the collection’s most valuable paintings since Lane died in 1915.

The art collector, who established the Hugh Lane as the world’s first public modern art gallery in 1908, had originally left the priceless works of art to London in his will.

But in an addition to the document, which was unwitnessed, he made it clear that they should instead reside in Dublin, leading to decades of dispute over their ownership.

The paintings are currently shared between the two galleries as part of an agreement, due to end in 2019, in which half of the paintings are shown in Dublin for six years at a time.

Barbara Dawson, Director of the Hugh Lane, told that it has a “moral right” to the paintings, as Lane intended them to reside in Dublin.

We would welcome further negotiations once the [sharing agreement] comes up for renewal.

She made the remarks after Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery, admitted that Dublin has “some moral claim” to the pictures.

Speaking at an event to mark the centenary of Lane’s death, he said that galleries should acknowledge when other institutions or countries have such a claim to the works of art in their possession.

Listen to what he said here

Matthew Weaver / SoundCloud

Roy Foster, Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford, told that “the moral right of ownership is clearly Dublin’s and the Hugh Lane Gallery’s.”

He added:

At this point, a century after Lane’s death, when all sorts of gestures of reconciliation have been made between Ireland and Britain, this is one of those rare incidents where historical injustice could be righted simply by transferring the paintings to Dublin.

Among the collection’s paintings still owned by the National Gallery are works by Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Morisot, Vuillard and Degas.

This Dublin gallery wants its paintings back from London
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  • 'Portrait of Eva Gonzales' by Edouard Manet

  • 'View of Louveciennes' by Camille Pissarro

  • 'Les Parapluies' by Auguste Renoir

  • 'Jour d'Ete' by Berthe Morisot

Images: Hugh Lane Gallery/Dublin City Council

READ: Renoir, Manet, Morisot and Pissarro paintings arrive back in Dublin >

READ: Stolen masterpiece recovered after 22 years and returned to Dublin Gallery >

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