The National Portrait Gallery – one of London’s biggest, most important art institutions – has been closed for a couple of years now as it undergoes a major revamp. And now, it has announced that as well as tarting up its existing space, it will be building an entire new wing to house even more portraits.
The whole thing is thanks to a £10 million gift from industrialist Sir Leonard Blavatnik, whose name you may recognise from Tate Modern’s new(ish) building, the Switch House, most of which he also paid for. Blavatnik is also funding new galleries at the Imperial War Museum, due to open in 2023. This is a guy who just can’t stop paying for museums.
The new wing will house more than a hundred years of British portraits, from 1840-1945, with depictions of major figures like Charles Darwin, Oscar Wilde and the Brontë sisters by artists including John Singer Sargent, Laura Knight, Gwen John and Lucian Freud.
The Blavatnik Wing, and the refurbed National Portrait Gallery along with it, will open to the public in 2023. More details here.
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