The National Portrait Gallery raises funds for 58 million dollars. Reynolds Painting – ARTnews.com

The National Portrait Gallery in London is trying to raise millions of dollars to buy a painting by 18th century artist Joshua Reynolds, the art diary reported Wednesday.

The painting, titled Portrait of Omai (1776), was valued at £50 million ($58 million) earlier this year. It depicts Omai, a Tahitian who became the toast of British society in the 18th century.

In March, the British government temporarily banned the export of the work under a government policy that allows public institutions in the country to compete for the work if they are able to secure funding to purchase it. . Institutions were originally expected to secure funds by July, but that deadline has been extended to March 2023.

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In a statement to art diarya spokesperson said: “The name of Sir Joshua Reynolds Portrait of Omai is one of Britain’s greatest portraits and a painting of singular national and international cultural significance. The National Portrait Gallery is supporting crucial efforts to give UK institutions the opportunity to acquire this uniquely nationally significant painting to ensure it is on public display once and for all, where it belongs . The second postponement period will give us the chance to explore a number of fundraising avenues and give potential supporters the chance to come forward to help stop this key work of British culture from going away.

The National Portrait Gallery has been closed since 2020 due to the largest redevelopment project in its history. The project is expected to cost around £35.5 million (about $41.3 million). The museum is expected to reopen in 2023.

It is not yet clear if, or from where, the museum will obtain the funds for Omai.

Painting has a rich and complicated history. As ART news set up in March:

Omai was one of the first South Pacific Ambassadors to visit Britain after traveling with British Royal Navy Captain James Cook between 1774 and 1776. When he arrived in London, Omai became a courted celebrity among British nobles and government officials. Reynolds created the full-length portrait, which depicts Omai in traditional Tahitian attire, in a classical pose inspired by the Roman sculpture Apollo Belvedere.

Reynolds owned the portrait until his death in 1792. It was eventually purchased by the 5th Earl of Carlisle and passed down to the family’s descendants for over 200 years. In 2001, the last member of the royal family to own the work, the 13th Earl, sold it at Sotheby’s. It was bought there for £10.3million ($15million) by Irish horse racing tycoon John Magnier, who appeared on ART newsList of the top 200 collectors of 2021.

Since its auction, efforts to preserve the painting in the country have continued. In 2005, the Tate attempted to acquire the painting with funds from an anonymous donor, but failed to purchase it when Mangier refused to put it up for sale. The same year, Magnier applied for an export license to lend Portrait of Omai at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin for several years. The painting was later returned to the UK in 2011. It is unclear whether the painting has changed hands since then; the current owner applied for a new permanent export last year.

Julia P. Cluff