The Fries Museum in Leeuwarden has won a Global Fine Art Award at the annual ceremony in New York for its exhibition of work by Lawrence Alma-Tadema.
The museum won the award for the Best Impressionist and Modern (1838-WWII) – Solo Artist, seeing off opposition from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Pulitzer Art Foundation, as well as the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague.
The exhibition of 80 works featuring classical scenes by the Frisian artist (1936-1912) drew a record 158,000 visitors to the museum last winter.
‘We are super proud to get a little more global recognition and to win this prize,’ director Kris Callens told local broadcaster Omroep Friesland. ‘They did not know about us or Alma-Tadema.
Alma-Tadema was born in the Frisian village of Donryp and lived in Belgium before moving to London at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War.
Three years later Queen Victoria made him and his wife British citizens. He befriended, and was influenced by, the Pre-Raphaelite movement and became one of the most successful and highest earning artists of his day, but his works fell out of favour after his death until the late 20th century.
In 2010 one of his largest pictures, The Finding of Moses, was sold at Sotheby’s in New York for $36 million, a record amount for a Victorian painting.