United Kingdom : a Fundraiser Is Launched for Van Dyck, the One for Stubbs Meets its Goal

Anthony Van Dyck,
Self-portrait, c. 1640-1641
Oil on canvas - 59.7 x 47.3 cm

11/12/13 - Fundraiser and Acquisitions - London, National Portrait Gallery and National Maritime Museum - After remaining in the family of the Count of Jersey since the 18th century, the painting drew much attention when it came up for auction at Sotheby’s in 2009, reaching a record price for the artist : 8.3 million pounds. The English dealer Philip Mould and the Canadian collector Alfred Bader had joined forces in order to make the winning bid. Recently, the work was purchased by a foreign private collector. However, the English remain emotionally attached to this self-portrait painted by Van Dyck the year before he died while at the court of Charles I and consequently, a fundraiser was launched end of November, accompanied by a temporary export ban, thus providing time to raise the needed funds not only to keep it in England but also to make it available to the public by exhibiting it at the National Portrait Gallery. The goal is to find 12.5 million pounds. The Art Fund has already pledged 500,000 pounds, while the National Portrait Gallery has drawn 700,000 from its own budget. The idea is to collect enough to pressure the British Minister of Culture, Ed Vaizy, to extend the export ban.
The work, currently presented at the National Portrait Gallery, is one of the three self-portraits painted by Van Dyck in England. Another one can be found at the Prado ; the third belongs to the Duke of Westminster. The elaborate frame bears a sunflower, a motif associated with the artist which can also be seen in another self-portrait. We do not know if it was produced later although recent studies suggest that Van Dyck might have contributed to the design.

2. George Stubbs (1724-1806)
Kongouro from New Holland, 1772
Oil on canvas - 60.5 x 71.5 cm
London, National Maritime Museum
Photo : Art Fund

3. George Stubbs (1724-1806)
Dingo, 1772
Oil on panel - 61 x 71 cm
London, National Maritime Museum
Photo : Art Fund

Several works have recently remained on British soil thanks to successful fundraisers. We would like to point out that the one for two paintings by George Stubbs representing a kangaroo and a dingo, launched earlier this year (see news item of 16/8/13) met its goal and the two works have now joined the collections at the National Martime Museum in Greenwich. Last year, the Fitzwilliam Museum also acquired Poussin’s Extreme Unction while the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford was able to purchase Manet’s Portrait of Fanny Claus.

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Bénédicte Bonnet Saint-Georges, mercredi 11 décembre 2013

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