George Romney (British, Beckside, Lancashire 1734–1802 Kendal, Cumbria), Self-portrait, 1784. Oil on canvas, 51 3/8 × 40 15/16 in. (130.5 × 104 cm) Framed: 59 5/8 × 49 1/2 in. (151.5 × 125.7 cm). National Portrait Gallery, London. Purchased, 1894 (NPG 959) © National Portrait Gallery, London / Art Resource, NY
This unfinished self-portrait was begun for the artist’s friend and biographer William Hayley during a trip that Romney and the artist John Flaxman made to Hayley’s villa. Romney took it back to his studio, but around 1787 it was sent to Hayley "as is," without being completed. The painting was both praised for its vivacity and questioned for its incomplete state by those who knew the story of its making. Hayley gave the portrait to John Romney, the artist’s son, around 1820, and it was later owned by Romney’s granddaughter Elizabeth.
This work is exhibited in the "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Invisible" exhibition, on view through September 4th, 2016. #MetBreuer