It is the first cast in the series of four sculptures - which Quinn has pledged to produce every five years to catalogue the ageing process - that has been bought by a museum collection in Britain. The other three sculptures are in New York, Dallas and Korea, both in private hands and public galleries. Quinn, who said the work was inspired by Rembrandt's self portraits, refused to confirm whether the original had to be remade after the reported accident by Lawson, but said it was now fully in tact with its owner, the hedge fund billionaire, Steve Cohen, in New York.
Quinn’s second 'Self', made in 1996, was bought by Texan collectors Cindy and Howard Rachofsky. It is now partly owned with the Dallas Museum of Art, where it will ultimately remain as a full gift. The 2001 sculpture belongs to the Korean collector, Kim Chang-il (known as C.I. Kim), who has a private museum in a shopping complex he owns in Cheonan, outside Seoul.
As the three earlier blood heads are all in collections overseas, the National Portrait Gallery will display the latest in the sequence in London, as a key work in its contemporary collection and as a way of engaging with issues of representation of the human figure in contemporary culture.
Founded in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery, London is ‘to promote through the medium of portraits the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture, and to promote the appreciation and understanding of portraiture in all media. The Gallery has an extensive collection of artists' self-portraits made over the past 450 years.
'Self' is now on display in room 38 at The National Portrait Gallery in London.
Entry to the gallery is free.