Martin Colnaghi (1821–1908) was a picture dealer and collector with a keen interest in old master paintings, especially Dutch and Flemish pictures. He is portrayed in his outdoor clothes, sitting on a buttoned red leather seat in front of a large gilt-framed landscape oil painting; he has removed his top hat and one glove but not his coat, suggesting that he is not at home. Perhaps he is visiting the National Gallery.
Colnaghi was a considerable benefactor to the Gallery, leaving it five paintings and the sum of £75,000 in his will. The funds were used to buy 13 paintings, including works by Cézanne and Delacroix.
One of four known portraits of Colnaghi, this picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1889. It was donated to the Gallery by Colnaghi’s widow, Amy, after his death in 1908.
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