As the prices of Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s paintings rise, the question of their value returns. In his lifetime, price and value were equivalent. From his election as a Royal Academician in 1879 to his death in 1912, Alma-Tadema was well paid, popular and – despite Ruskin’s objections – usually tolerated, if not praised, by the critics. But when Victorian art fell from fashion, the value of Alma-Tadema’s works collapsed. In 1955, The Finding of Moses (1904) was bought for its frame. In 1960, Christie’s was unable to sell the painting at all.
Two years later, in one of the first re-evaluations of Victorian art, a small show in New York began the Alma-Tadema revival. In 1973, the Metropolitan Museum exhibited a collection of Alma-Tademas belonging to Allen Funt (producer of Candid Camera), which now included The Finding of Moses. The Met