The National Gallery has bought a Robert Seldon Duncanson still life making a prominent African American painter of the 19th Century who is now represented in the collection. The work comes through an interesting route, according to Carol Vogel:
It was auctioned in 2000 at what was then Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg (now Phillips de Pury & Company), selling for $222,500. The buyer was the Babcock Galleries in New York, which sold it to an unidentified private collector. That collector took it back to Babcock to sell for an undisclosed price. John Driscoll, the Babcock’s owner, offered it to the National Gallery.
Franklin Kelly, the National Gallery’s deputy director, said he did not remember seeing the still life when Phillips had it for sale.
“We’ve been looking for a painting by Robert Seldon Duncanson for a long time,” Mr. Kelly said . . .
Inside Art: Still Life for the National (New York Times)