The Art Of Keynes

Ep 1/1

Saturday 3 May



Writer and broadcaster Nicholas Wapshott tells the extraordinary and largely unknown story of how the famous economist John Maynard Keynes persuaded the British government to buy French paintings in lieu of war debt in 1918.

March 1918 and sticking out from a hedge in rural Sussex is a brown-paper package containing a painting of six apples, Cézanne's famous 'Pommes'. It's been left there by Keynes, who's been dropped at the end of the lane leading to his friends' - the artists Clive and Vanessa Bell's - home, as he can only manage to carry his suitcases.

Nicholas tells the story of as shells rained down on Paris, Keynes was buying priceless works by Manet, Delacroix, Degas, Gaugin and many more, which now hang in the National Gallery and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. The National Gallery didn't rate Cézanne so Keynes kept 'Pommes' for himself and later hung it over his bed.

Contributors include: Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery, Stephen Keynes (the economist's great nephew) and Keynes expert Victoria Chick.

Presenter/ Nicholas Wapshott, Producer/ Trevor Dann for A Trevor Dann production

BBC Radio 4 Publicity