Smithsonian Finds Donor for Washington Portrait

Reuters reports that the Smithsonian Institution has received $20 million from a donor to buy a portrait of George Washington from a British aristocrat who had threatened to sell it if the museum couldn't come up with the money.

Painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1796, the portrait has been on loan to the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery from Lord Dalmeny since 1968. Smithsonian officials were informed by Dalmeny several months ago that he wished to sell the painting and that they had until April 1 to raise the $20 million reserve price. While Dalmeny expressed his hope that the portrait would remain in its current home, he also indicated that he would sell it to a private buyer or at auction if the museum did not come up with a suitable offer.

The painting has been in Dalmeny's family since the 19th century.

"Smithsonian Has Donor for George Washington Portrait" Reuters 03/13/2001.