US Seller Rejects £30 Million Bid From National Gallery To Buy Pontormo Portrait? Find Out More Here

By Kumar Rahul (KR) on Feb 13, 2017 03:33 AM EST

The National Gallery has failed in its bid to buy back a portrait from a US seller. The portrait was painted by renowned artist Jacopo Carrucci, also known as Pontormo in 1530.

According to The Guardian, the Pontormo portrait was bought in an auction by a US hedge fund manager Tom Hill two years ago. It was in the family collection of the Earl of Caledon since 1825 and is of great historical importance, hence the £30 Million bid by the National Gallery.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey has put up a "temporary export bar" on the Pontormo portrait to enable the galleries and museums of the country to raise funds to match the sale price and also enable safety for the national treasure. A total of $38.5 million was raised by the National Gallery owing to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and a big grant from the Treasury.

Since the value of sterling has taken a nosedive after the Brexit, the price offered by the National Gallery for the Pontormo portrait is now summing up to a loss of $10 million for Tom Hill, who wants compensation by the gallery. As per the existing state rule, if Hill doesn't take the matching offer prescribed for turning over the artwork for the national collection, he will not be permitted to have an export license, which will see the Pontormo portrait stay back in Britain.

A spokeswoman on Hill's behalf stated that he is willing to lend the Pontormo portrait for exhibition in Europe, UK and the US. However, a National Gallery spokesman said they have no plans to borrow the Pontormo portrait.

The Pontormo portrait is believed to be one of the greatest portraits in British history. It depicts Carlo Neroni, a young aristocrat wearing a red cap and standing in a twisted yet stylish pose from a low viewpoint. It is one of the fifteen surviving portraits by the Italian maestro. The Pontormo portrait got lost in the 18th century and was not found for 200 years. It was again seen in a private art collection in 2008.

According to the Art Newspaper, Tom Hill is much acquainted with New York's Metropolitan Museum and is planning to set up his own museum as well by the end of this year. But in that case, at least a temporary export license will be required to get the Porntormo portrait out of the UK, which seems far from possible under the current circumstances.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey expressed his concerns over the issue. Between 2011 and 2016, 41 national treasures valued at $349 million have been given export licenses including a $62.8 million worth "Child With a Dove" painting by Picasso. Both National Gallery and Tom hill must come to a common ground and settle the issue of the Pontormo Portrait.

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TagsNational Gallery, Painting, Jacopo Carrucci, Pontormo, Tom Hill

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