Arts notes

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Donors give paintings valued at $2.5 million

Portland, Ore. -- The Portland Art Museum has added to its permanent collection three more paintings that had been on loan for its recent Impressionist exhibition.

The paintings, valued at $2.5 million, are "Landscape at Rouen" by Paul Gauguin, "Apples, Pears, and Grapes on a Table" by Gustave Courbet and "Carnations and Peonies" by Henri Fantin-Latour.

The Impressionist exhibition, "Paris to Portland," was one of the museum's most popular ever, drawing an average 2,402 visitors per day during its Jan. 25-March 23 run, the museum said.

The museum also received a donation of 10 lithographs known as the "Elles" series by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec that had been part of the exhibition. The value of that gift has been estimated at more than $1 million.

Benefactor helps museum buy Reynolds portrait

London -- An unidentified benefactor has come up with $20 million to keep a famous portrait by painter Joshua Reynolds in Britain.

The donation enabled the Tate Britain Museum to buy the "Portrait of Omai," which depicts the first South Sea islander to visit Britain.

The Tate first bid for the portrait when owners of the stately home Castle Howard put it on sale in 2001. But the museum's offers were rejected and the work was sold to British dealer Guy Morrison for $16.5 million, one of the highest prices ever paid for a British artwork.

Morrison later sold it to an unidentified buyer, thought to be a Swiss company, and when it came up for sale again, Arts Minister Baroness Blackstone placed a temporary ban on it being sold abroad, in hopes that a British buyer could be found.

The first president of the prestigious Royal Academy of Arts, Reynolds is regarded as one of Britain's most important artists; the "Portrait of Omai" is considered one of his finest works.