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Johan Zoffany

Zoffany at Tate cancelled

The 2010 exhibition may instead be shown at the Royal Academy

Tate Britain is expected to cancel a Johan Zoffany retrospective that was scheduled for 2010 because there is pressure to mount shows that pull in more than the 80,000 visitors expected for the German-born artist, particularly at a time of economic recession. Zoffany, born near Frankfurt in 1733, moved to England in 1760 (initially painting clock faces), made an extended visit to India in 1783-89 and died in London in 1810. The Tate owns 11 of his pictures, including Colonel Blair with His Family and an Indian Ayah, 1786, bequeathed last year by Simon Sainsbury. Some of Tate’s works have been specially conserved for the exhibition, such as Charles Macklin as Shylock, 1787. The show would have included 70 paintings, with masterpieces from the Royal Collection. The Art Newspaper can report that preliminary discussions are underway about the retrospective being taken over by the Royal Academy. The Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut, will be the North American venue. The last major Zoffany exhibition was at London’s National Portrait Gallery in 1977.