C.E.M.A. (Committee for Encouragement of Music and the Arts) was a precursor to the Arts Council, established by Royal Charter in 1940. From 1941 until his death, John Maynard Keynes was the chair, with Kennth Clark acting as chair of the art panel in the same period. In addition to funding arts organisations, C.E.M.A also organised exhibtions covering a wide variety of themes related to the arts.
One such exhibition, entitled, 'An exhibition of British landscapes in oils: from George II to Queen Victoria', curated by Ralph Edwards of the V&A, where it was also hosted, was held between 1942-3. Feautured in the exhibition was an oil painting attributed to John Robert Cozens. Oppé expressed doubt over this attribution in his review of the exhibition in the Burlington which prompted a minor dispute with Edwards over the matter.
Another C.E.M.A. exhibition held the following year which toured various locations outside London, entitled, 'Paintings of the French School from a private collection' (that of H.J.P. Bomford), caused an even greater controvesy. The argument was about a work which Bomford himself had attributed to Édouard Manet (1832-1883). This attribution was disputed by Thomas Bodkin of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in a letter to the Times. A public dispute followed with further letters in the Times, and involved - amongst others - Kenneth Clark, Samuel Courtauld, Robert Witt and Oppé.