Pontormo Painting Problems Persist 

An impressive campaign by London’s National Gallery to raise funds to keep a prominent Pontormo portrait in England seems for naught as it appears the American purchaser of the painting will not accept their matched payment.

The London institution initiated a fundraising campaign last year in hopes of securing adequate funds to keep the painting, Pontormo’s Portrait of Young Man in a Red Cap (1530), in the country following its purchase by New York hedge-fund manager J. Tomlinson Hill.  The export of the work was delayed with a ban blocking its shipment until late October 2016; this block was subsequently deferred in hopes that The National Gallery would be able to raise the necessary funds and that Hill would accept the terms of their final offer.

This week, several news outlets report that, although the London institution was able to raise more than the £30 million original purchase price, Hill has refused to accept. In his refusal he cited the drop in value of the British pound post-Brexit that would result in too great a loss on his part in the transaction. With the painting yet suspended in limbo, this turn of events had led to several prominent English institutions to call for stricter regulations for future art sales of such significant works.  

Further Reading: 
Martin Bailey, “UK export licence denied for Pontormo portrait” (The Art Newspaper, 16 February 2017). 

Henri Neuendorf,” Pontormo Failure Prompts Calls for Tighter UK Heritage Protection Rules” (ArtNet News, 17 February 2017). 

Pontormo, Portrait of a Young Man in a Red Cap, 1530. Image courtesy of the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport/Artnet News).

Posted by Alexis Culotta 

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