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Two rarely-seen royal paintings by Van Dyck from the Prime Minister’s country house Chequers are to be displayed alongside the artist’s last self-portrait in a new display at the National Portrait Gallery.

The portraits of King Charles I and Henrietta Maria are expected to be star attractions at the Van Dyck: Transforming British Art exhibition, which has been curated to mark the temporary return of the artist’s recently acquired self-portrait part-way through its nationwide tour.

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Christie’s auction on Tuesday 2nd December 2014 will be 'Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale', in London; will feature a remarkable portrait by Sir Anthony van Dyck of the musician Hendrick Liberti. The work was in the collection of King Charles I at Whitehall by 1639; the piece has not been seen for almost a century, since its sale at Christie’s by the 8th Duke of Grafton in 1923.

The auction at Christie's will present a selection of 36 high quality works that have been curated with the aim of being new to the market and attractively priced.

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Britain’s Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, has placed a temporary export bar on one of Sir Anthony Van Dyck’s finest works dating from his time in the UK. The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest suggested that a hold be placed on the self-portrait, giving potential buyers time to raise the £12,500,000 needed to keep the work in the UK.

Van Dyck played a pivotal role in the development of portraiture in Britain during the time he spent there (1620-21, 1632-35, 1635-41) and the artist was highly regarded by King Charles I who awarded him knighthood, a home and an annuity in 1632. Although Van Dyck produced a number of self-portraits during his career, the work in question is widely regarded as one of his best and acknowledged as being a source of inspiration to other artists.

Vaizey said, “We have recently had a number of successes in preventing national treasures from being permanently exported from the UK thanks to the generosity of donors and the fundraising efforts of our museums and galleries. I hope that placing a temporary export bar on this magnificent painting will allow time for a UK buyer to come forward and ensure it remains here in the UK.”

The decision on the export license application for the painting will be deferred until February 13, 2014. This period may be extended until July 13, 2014 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase the painting is made.


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Tuesday, 18 December 2012 14:20

Dallas Museum of Art Denied Da Vinci Painting

After Leonardo da Vinci’s (1452-1519) painting Salvator Mundi was rediscovered in 2011, the Dallas Museum of Art turned to their patrons and after much campaigning, managed to raise tens of millions of dollars in hopes of buying the work. Museum officials recently made a formal offer to the painting’s owners but were sadly rebuffed after weeks of negotiation.

Lost for years, Salvator Mundi spent months in the Dallas Museum’s basement before being returned to its owners. If the institution had succeeded in acquiring the oil on wood portrait of Christ, it would have become the second museum in the United States to count a da Vinci as part of its permanent collection. Currently, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is the only U.S. institution that owns a work by the Italian Renaissance master.

England’s King Charles I once owned Salvator Mundi and the painting was acquired by American art dealer Alex Parish in the mid-2000s. Parish and two other dealers currently share ownership of the work. Valued at $200 million in 2011, the owners turned down an offer of $100 million before the painting headed to the Dallas Museum of Art.

While the rejection was a disappointment for the museum, the institution witnessed an inspiring outpouring of support when they decided to launch their campaign.  

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There was a time when Anthony Van Dyck’s Isabella, Lady de La Warr was considered one of the most important paintings at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Purchased in 1930 for $121,440 by the MFA donor, Mrs. Frederick T. Bradbury, the work went on view in the Hamilton Palace period room. It wasn’t until the 1980s when the painting went into storage that Isabella’s future started to look bleak.

When Malcolm Rogers rediscovered Isabella not long after he took over as the MFA’s director in 1994, he found the painting’s surface was discolored from protective varnishes and shoddy retouching had left the work with mismatched paint. Painted by the Flemish artist in 1638 during a stay in England, Rogers knew that Isabella could be recovered. A technical examination in 2011 reinforced Rogers’ belief.

The painting underwent nearly a year of restoration by the MFA’s paintings conservator, Rhona MacBeth and has just been installed in the MFA’s newly renovated Koch Gallery. Depicting an elegant woman, the wife of Lord Henry who served as a diplomat and treasurer of one of Van Dyck’s most famous subjects, England’s King Charles I, the painting is an excellent example of aristocratic portraiture that was in high demand by American collectors during the first few decades of the 20th century.

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