Wanted: L2 million -- fast.
"We appeal to everyone in this country with an interest in the arts to contribute a sum, however small," read Manchester, England's, City Art Gallery's impassioned appeal to save two national art treasures from exportation. "If we do not buy them, they will both go permanently to America."
The artworks are 17th-century painter Nicolas Poussin's masterpiece "The Holy Family" and sculptor Alessandro Algardi's 17th-century marble bust of Monsignor Cerri, both of which are up for sale. The Poussin, which has been owned for 200 years by the Dukes of Devonshire, is being sold to fund the preservation of the Chatsworth estate for 1.8 million -- about $3.4 million. New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has offered 265,000 -- about $500,000 -- for the Algardi bust.
The Manchester gallery claims it is the nearest major public gallery to Chatsworth, making it a "most appropriate home" for the Poussin. "Secondly," reads the plea, "there are no paintings by Poussin in public collections in the North of England . . . Yet there are 17 in London. The imbalance is startling."
Donations to save the artwork are coming in slowly, but the English are mad as hell and they're not going to let us take it. "We believe the Poussin and the Algardi must be saved, and will fight for every farthing."