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Maynard Keynes Portrait Returned to Charleston
Duncan Grant Portrait of John Maynard Keynes. © The Charleston Trust.

LONDON, ENGLAND.-The Art Fund has given a grant of £30,000 to help The Charleston Trust acquire a portrait of John Maynard Keynes. Portrait of John Maynard Keynes was painted by the acclaimed artist Duncan Grant at Charleston in the summer of 1917.

Maynard Keynes was one of the 20th century’s greatest economists who also championed the Modernist vision of a new generation of artists. These two sides of his complex personality are beautifully realised in Grant's portrait of his sometime lover and lifelong friend.

With the support from the Art Fund, The National Heritage Memorial Fund and the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, and the assistance of Christie's and the owner, The Charleston Trust succeeded in 6 weeks to negotiate the return of this important work to Charleston. The portrait had been kept by Duncan Grant at Charleston until it was sold to a European collector in 1956, and has never before been seen by the public.

Painted in the garden at the Bloomsbury group’s rural retreat at Charleston the portrait is purported to show Keynes drafting the letter which would secure the crucial loan from America to safeguard Britain's wartime survival. Thus this portrait brings together the worlds of art and international politics, and bears testament, both as a great painting and as an historical document, that it is the small, quiet acts that so often have lasting impact on the world.

Charleston was Keynes sanctuary from the pressures of the Treasury until his marriage to the Russian Ballerina Lydia Lopokova in 1925, and it was here that he developed his controversial and influential economic theories and wrote The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Treaties on Probability and A Revision of the Treaty.

David Barrie, Director, National Art Collections Fund commented: 'Created at a turning point in British history, this is an iconic image by a great artist of one of the 20th century’s greatest economists. Charleston was instrumental in the life and work of both Keynes and Grant and we were delighted to assist in its return'.

The painting will go on show in April 2006 when Charleston re-opens. Alastair Upton, Director of the Charleston Trust, said: 'Portrait of John Maynard Keynes is quite simply a wonderful painting by an artist at the height of his powers that also tells an extremely powerful story. I am so pleased to be able to confirm that, thanks to the hard work of my staff and the generosity of our supporters, we will be able to hang it at Charleston for everyone to experience'.

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