Belfast Telegraph

Van Dyck self-portrait returns to National Portrait Gallery alongside new Julian Opie work

The self-portrait dates back to 1640.

A self-portrait of painter Sir Anthony van Dyck – kept in the UK after a fundraising appeal – will be joined by new work from Julian Opie as it returns to the National Portrait Gallery after a nationwide tour.

Opie, one of Britain’s foremost contemporary artists, will present new pieces of work alongside the self-portrait, which dates back to 1640.

Faime (2016), Lucia, back 3 (2017) and Beach Head, 6 (2017) will feature in the Julian Opie After Van Dyck display which comes three years after the self-portrait was saved from leaving the country by the major fundraising drive.

Artist Julian Opie (Walters Michael Walte/PA)

The work was in a private collection for almost 400 years before it was sold in 2014 – forcing the Government to issue a temporary export bar which allowed campaigners time to try to save it.

A grant of £6.3 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund combined with donations from the public, two private trusts, the Art Fund and the gallery saved the work for the nation.

It has since enjoyed a nationwide tour including visits to the Turner Contemporary in Margate, Manchester Art Gallery and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

The Duchess of Cambridge visited the self-portrait at the Turner Contemporary in Margate (Suzanne Plunkett)

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said: “Following its hugely successful nationwide tour this is a wonderful opportunity for our visitors to see Van Dyck’s Self-portrait back in the 17th-century galleries of the National Portrait Gallery but also alongside striking works by Julian Opie.”

Catharine MacLeod, curator of the display, said: “Julian Opie’s work references historical portraiture, and has often used compositional devices employed by 17th-century artists. The portraits in this display are a testament to Van Dyck’s lasting legacy in Britain.”

Julian Opie After Van Dyck runs at the National Portrait Gallery from October 6 to January 7 2018.


From Belfast Telegraph