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National Portrait Gallery Buys Slashed Painting
A self-portrait defaced by the artist Craigie Aitchison after it was described as "flattering" is going on display at the National Portrait Gallery complete with slash marks.
The gallery bought the work with financial help from fashion designer Sir Paul Smith and others for a reported £36,500, and plans to display it immediately.
Aitchison, who was known for his aversion to self-promotion, cut the portrait after a visitor to his studio around 50 years ago said the painting made him look good.
But the National Gallery's head of conservation, Martin Wyld, later persuaded Aitchison to let him restore it, complete with the visible cuts.
The painting remained in the artist's possession until he died on December 21, 2009, and was eventually sold to the London-based gallery.
Paul Moorhouse, the gallery's curator of 20th century portraits, said: "Craigie Aitchison was a highly distinctive artist whose singular vision was rooted in an acute sensitivity to colour and subtle implications of meaning.
"We are delighted that this fascinating self-portrait survived the artist's momentary destructive doubts and can now be seen by future generations."
The son of a judge, Aitchison, who was born in Kincardine-on-Forth in 1926, was known for his many paintings of the Crucifixion, one of which hangs in Liverpool Cathedral.
He was also fond of painting Italian landscapes, and portraits, often of dogs, especially his favourite Bedlington Terrier.
A member of the Royal Academy of Arts since 1978, he was made a CBE in 1999.