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The Ashmolean Museum wants to ‘save’ Manet’s Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus for Britain. But why do institutions feel obliged to present their own ambitions as a public service?
'this rhetoric about “saving” art has to stop. Unless the potential foreign owner is a wealthy maniac who bought it with the express intention of shredding the canvas and feeding it to the hounds, or a thriller writer who wants to do CSI on it to find out if Manet was Jacques le Ripper, or an agent for the Chapman brothers, the painting is not in any need of being “saved”.'