Thursday, May 01, 2014

Van Dyck self portrait saved for the nation by most successful fundraising campaign ever

The Save Van Dyck's Self Portrait  fundraising campaign jointly run by the National Portrait Gallery and the Art Fund has proved to be the most successful campaign run in the last 100 years. A substantial Heritage Lottery Grant supplements funds already raised and the iconic Van Dyck self portrait will now stay in Britain.

It will also be made much more accessible to people around the country through a National Tour.

(l to r) Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery,
Dame Jenny Bramsky, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund
celebrate the Van Dyck self portrait staying in the UK

About the painting

The painting is Sir Anthony Van Dyck’s last self-portrait. It's regarded as being a work of huge international importance. The painting shows his as an artist at work, apparently in the act of painting, his arm raised in the process of applying paint to a canvas just out of sight.

As Sandy Nairne said this morning at the preview, it's as if you've walked into his studio in Blackfriars in 1641 and he's just turned around to look at you.

Van Dyck's Self Portrait (1640-1)
now on display adjacent to the 17th Century Galleries
on the Second Floor of the National Portrait Gallery

The painting was completed in the year van Dyck died and the year before Civil War broke out in the UK.

Van Dyck was buried in Old St Paul's Cathedral (which burned down in 1666). His epitaph was

"Anthony van Dyck - who, while he lived, gave to many immortal life"

How the figures totted up in the end



In March, the buyer withdrew and the export bar was halted on 26 March.  A revised price was agreed and this effectively reduced the sum required to keep the portrait in the country from £12.5 million to £10 million.


The campaign has managed to raise:
  • £1.4 million from 10,000 individuals - including multiple five figure gifts from an anonymous American supporter - which makes it the most successful appeal for a painting in the last 100 years
  • a pledge of £1 million from the Monument Trust (one of the The Sainsbury Family Trusts; the Sainsbury Family have been major patrons of art in this country)
  • a six figure pledge from the Garfield Weston Foundation
  • £700,000 from the NPG's Portrait Fund and an acquisitions budget
  • £500,000 from the Art Fund
  • and finally a £6,343,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund
A £150,000 grant has also been secured from the Art Fund to contribute towards the costs of a national tour of the painting. 

A National Tour!


The Van Dyck self portrait will tour the UK starting in January 2015. The tour will take three years with the painting returning to London inbetween each loan out to a regional gallery.

The proposed venues are 
  • Turner Contemporary, Margate (January 2015)
  • Manchester Art Gallery (2015)
  • Dulwich Picture Gallery, London (2016) where it will meet up with a number of portraits by Van Dyck.
  • Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (2016)
  • Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle (2017)
  • Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh (2017)
If you're wondering about the cake - we celebrated with cake!




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