A public fundraising campaign to keep a 19th Century painting by French impressionist artist Edouard Manet in Britain has been successful.


Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus by Edouard Manet. Britons donated more than $1.68 million to keep it in the country. (British Department of Culture, Media and Sport)

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford has raised £8 million ($12.5 million Cdn) to buy Manet's Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus, painted in 1868.

The painting has been in Britain since its sale following the artist's death in 1884, but last year it was sold to a foreign collector for $44 million.

The subject of the portrait is Fanny Claus, a close friend of Manet's wife Suzanne Leenhoff.

The British government put an export ban on the picture until Aug. 7, so the museum could raise money to purchase the work.

A British law allows a hiatus in the export of works of cultural importance if there is a chance a museum could buy them and put them on public display.

The Ashmolean was given a special price of £7.83 million ($12.2 million). The museum has pledged to tour the painting around the country next year.

Museum director Christopher Brown said the fundraising campaign received an overwhelming response from the public. Organizers raised more than £1.08 million ($1.68 million) from trusts, foundations and private individuals.

The campaign also received $9.2 million from Britain’s Heritage Lottery Fund, and a grant of $1.3 million from the Art Fund.