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Two Toronto couples with a long-standing interest in contemporary art have agreed to buy a 50 per cent stake in The Clock, an acclaimed video installation by Christian Marclay, and donate the work to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

The NGC confirmed this week that Laura Rapp and Jay Smith, along with Carol and Morton Rapp, would pay for the gallery's equity in the work, thereby giving the NGC co-title with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Only six editions of the installation, which runs 24 hours and includes thousands of samples from hundreds of films, all synchronized to real time, have been made available for sale.

The NGC did not reveal how much the four Torontonians put up to buy The Clock on its behalf but according to one source it was at least $250,000.

Had the Torontonians not made the purchase/donation, for which they will get breaks on their income taxes, the NGC was prepared to dip into its $8-million acquisition fund.

The deal with the MFA marks the first time in the NGC's 131-year history that it's acquired joint ownership of one art work.

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