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    U.K. National Galleries Seek 50 Million Pounds for Titian Work

    Date: 28 Aug 2008 | | Views: 4532

    Source: Bloomberg, by Farah Nayeri

    An undated handout, provided to the media on Aug. 27, 2008, shows ''Diana and Actaeon'' by Titian (detail). Source: Bolton Quinn via Bloomberg News
    London's National Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland seek to buy a Titian painting for 50 million pounds ($92 million) as part of a plan that would allow the U.K. to continue showing the most important private collection of Old Masters on loan to the nation.

    The museums aim to acquire Titian's ``Diana & Actaeon,'' one in a pair of 16th-century works that the Renaissance artist painted for King Philip II of Spain. Both works are part of the so-called Bridgewater Loan to the NGS from the Duke of Sutherland, a press release by the museums' publicists Bolton & Quinn said. The painting would be shown on an alternating basis in London and in Edinburgh.

    If the money is raised, the Duke has given the museums the option to acquire, for a ``similar amount,'' the other Titian -- ``Diana and Callisto'' -- in four years' time, the release added. If both paintings are bought, the rest of the collection will stay on long-term loan at the NGS.

    ``For a century,'' National Gallery Director Nicholas Penny said in the release, ``the agitation to preserve great works of art in British collections from export has been animated by anxiety'' that the two Titians ``might be sold.'' He described the terms of the Duke's offer as ``remarkably advantageous'' and said the acquisition by both institutions would be historic.

    The Titians are part of a group of 27 paintings and one drawing by artists including Raphael, Poussin and Rembrandt that has been on public view in the National Galleries of Scotland since 1945.

    According to the release, the Duke of Sutherland, reacting to the ever-increasing art-market prices, has decided to review the family assets and put up two of the paintings for sale.

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