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Exhibition Review – Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cezanne at the National Gallery from 17th September 2018 to 20th January 2019


For the first time in London for 70 years, the National Gallery displays major Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterworks from the Courtauld Gallery, purchased in the 1920s by Samuel Courtauld. These paintings alongside paintings from the National Gallery’s own collection are shown in a new exhibition entitled Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne.

The exhibition tells the story of how two exhibitions of French Impressionist paintings in London in the late 1910s and 1920s had a profound impact on Courtauld who began to build up a two collections, one for himself and his wife and one for the nation. The collections of mainly French modern art were made at a time when the appetite for this kind of art in the UK was low, but Courtauld was a great supporter of Cézanne’s work in particular.

This exhibition of over forty works is centred around the loan of 26 masterpieces from the Courtauld Gallery, which is closing temporarily in September 2018 as part of a major transformation project. The exhibition traces the development of modern French painting from the 1860s to the turn of the 20th century and is arranged chronologically in 12 sections – each devoted to a different artist – includes the works of such key figures as Daumier, Manet, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, and Bonnard.

Highlights from Courtauld’s private collection, now part of the Courtauld Gallery, include Renoir’s La Loge (Theatre Box) (1874), Cézanne’s The Card Players (about 1892–6) and Lac d’Annecy (1896), Toulouse-Lautrec’s Jane Avril in the Entrance to the Moulin Rouge (about 1892), Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882), and Seurat’s Young Woman Powdering Herself (about 1888–90).

These pictures hang alongside major works acquired for the national collection through the Courtauld Fund. This was set up in 1923 by Courtauld himself for the acquisition of modern French paintings and the works that were purchased now form the core of the National Gallery’s post-1800 collection. They include Renoir’s At the Theatre (La Première Sortie) (1876–7); as well as Seurat’s Bathers at Asnières (1884), Cézanne’s Self Portrait (about 1880–1) and Van Gogh’s A Wheatfield with Cypresses (1889) which were the first paintings by these three artists to enter a British public collection.

Walking around the relatively small and intimate exhibition, the visitor attention is drawn to many of the iconic Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings on view, Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882) has been favourite in the Courtauld Gallery for decades and the same can be said for Seurat’s Bathers at Asnières (1884) at the National Gallery. Perhaps the most interesting part about the exhibition is to consider the different styles of the artists, although considered Impressionist and Post-Impressionist, each artist developed their own particular style which became instantly recognisable.

There are a couple of artists that perhaps not so recognisable like  Daumier and Bonnard but the main part of the exhibition is given over to the ‘greats of the period which include Manet, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, Pissarro and Gauguin.

This remarkable exhibition is a testament to the taste and generosity of Samuel Courtauld  who went against critical and public opinion when he began to start his collection. He saw something in the then new French modern art that was new and exciting and he was determined that it would find its place in his private collection and public collection. Even he would probably have been surprised by the way that Impressionist and Post-Impressionist has gained favour amongst the art establishment and the general public over the last century. Whilst many of these picture have been on public view in London, the unique nature of this exhibition is likely to make it extremely popular with critics and the public.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and book tickets, visit the National Gallery website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
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Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cezanne at the National Gallery – 17th September 2018 to 20th January 2019

For the first time since 1948 the National Gallery will display major Impressionist paintings from the Courtauld Gallery alongside works from its own collections.

This exciting exhibition is made possible thanks to a major loan of works from the Courtauld Gallery, which is closing in September 2018 for a redevelopment. 

Opening at the National Gallery this autumn, Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne will trace the development of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings through a wide ranging survey of over 40 masterpieces from Daumier to Bonnard.

As well as providing the perfect introduction to this art movement, the exhibition will focus on the vision of the Courtauld’s founder Samuel Courtauld. It will focus on his role in shaping national collections and paving the way for the acceptance of modern art in the United Kingdom.

Having purchased works from the first Impressionist exhibition, Samuel Courtauld went on to build one of the world’s most important art collections but stopped acquiring paintings after the death of his wife, revealing a strong emotional connection to the works. 

Highlights from the Courtauld’s collection will include Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergére, Cézanne’s The Card Players and Man with a Pipe, Toulouse-Lautrec’s Jane Avril in the Entrance to the Moulin Rouge, putting on her Gloves, Renoir’s La Loge and Seurat’s Young Woman Powdering Herself.

The exhibition unites these works with those the National Gallery acquired in the 1920s through Samuel Courtauld’s fund, such as Cézanne’s Self Portrait, Pissarro’s The Boulevard Montmartre at Night, Renoir’s At the Theatre (La Première Sortie) and Seurat’s Bathers at Asnières. This exhibition is a collaboration between the Courtauld Gallery and National Gallery.

For more information, visit the National Gallery website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

A Short Guide to Somerset House

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Somerset House is one of the most interesting buildings in London, the present building dates from 1775 but was not completed until the early 19th century. This building replaced the old Tudor Palace on the site which had been built by Edward Seymour, Lord Protector and Duke of Somerset.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This particular area alongside the river side and Strand frontage were popular locations for the London residences of the aristocracy and many fine houses were built here. By 1551 Somerset House was virtually complete, but the Duke had little opportunity to enjoy luxurious surroundings of Somerset House. He was accused of treason and executed on Tower Hill in 1552.

After Somerset’s execution the building passed into the hands of the Crown. The house was occupied by Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth I, until her accession to the throne in 1558. Following the death of Elizabeth in 1603, James I of England and VI of Scotland married Anne of Denmark and Norway, Anne was given Somerset House for her own use and renamed the place ‘Denmark House’.

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Somerset House 1722

Charles the First’s wife, Henrietta Maria of France then began to use Denmark House with reconstruction overseen by Inigo Jones. However she fled to France during the Civil War, just before her husband’s execution. During the Civil War Denmark House was used as quarters for General Fairfax who commanded the Parliamentary Army. When Cromwell died in 1658, his body lay in state at Somerset House.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

After Charles II’s restoration in 1660, Henrietta Maria, Charles I’s widow and now Queen Dowager, returned to Denmark House. The house managed to survive the plague and the great fire of London 1666 but was not able to survive the ravages of time and in the 18th century was virtually a ruin.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The grand new building of 1775 was created to bring together various government departments and learned in one building. One of the first occupants were the Royal Academy of Arts who were joined by The Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries . Government offices included the Navy Board, the Sick and Hurt Office, Victualling Office. General Register Office , Principal Probate Registry and The Board of Inland Revenue who occupied the east and west wings of Somerset House until 2011.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

In the last 20 years, there has been a comprehensive restoration programme which has seen galleries and other cultural spaces introduced. The Embankment Terrace has been reopened and the great Courtyard has been transformed to produce one of the most vibrant public spaces in the capital. It is the location for a variety of concerts and other outdoor performances in the summer and the scene of  the popular Somerset House Ice Rink during the winter period. The North Wing is occupied by the popular Courtauld gallery and the whole site has a large range of events throughout the year.

For more information, visit the Somerset House website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Exhibition Review : Egon Schiele, The Radical Nude at the Courtauld Gallery – 23 Oct 2014 to 18 Jan 2015

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The Courtauld Gallery is holding the first major museum exhibition in over 20 years of Egon Schiele’s work . A central figure of Viennese art at the start of the 20th century until the end of the First World War. Schiele was influenced by contemporaries Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka, but quickly developed his own particular style especially his radical depictions of the human figure. The exhibition concentrates on Schiele’s obsession with the human figure by displaying a number of drawings and watercolours of male and female nudes.

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Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude brings together a selection of thirty-eight works drawn from both international museums and private collections, with many works being shown in the United Kingdom for the first time.

Schiele arrived in Vienna in 1906, aged  sixteen, to train as an artist. His precocious talent was recognised by Klimt,  who became something of a mentor to the young artist. Schiele’s early work shows the influence of Klimt and Kokoschka, however in 1910, he began to develop his drawings of the nude in his own particular style.

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The first room in the exhibition presents  a series of  nudes from that particular year, these include a number of Schiele’s self-portraits and some portraits of his sister. Perhaps more bizarrely is a number of  works  featuring pregnant women and babies observed in a medical clinic.

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The main section  explores his  main output of the next nine years when he challenged artistic conventions about the nude in art.  Schiele does not turn away from the unpleasant side of  human experience, often reflecting the sordid underworld of pre-war Vienna.

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Schiele depicting his  models in unfamiliar poses and in many ways subverts the often blatant eroticism of conventional painting. Often short of money, he resorted to  an unusual variety of people for models including himself, his sister, male friends, his lovers and wife, female prostitutes  and a number of young female models.

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However Schiele’s bohemian lifestyle and art often affronted many elements of the Viennese public and in 1912 , Schiele was  imprisoned for two months for contravening public decency.  After this incident, Schiele’s  was probably slightly less extreme  and when the First World War began he had to combine his war duties with his art work.

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The last part of the exhibition  shows the  works from Schiele’s final years before his early death in 1918 from Spanish influenza, aged just 28.

Walking around the exhibition, Schiele’s work still the power to shock and unsettle, therefore the effect on conservative  Viennese society can only be imagined. However over the last one hundred years, his legacy has grown as other artists have explored similar themes. It is not just artists but modern advertising use aspects of the provocative model to indicate assertion rather than passivity.

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This exhibition will appeal to those who are interested  in how a young Austrian artist defied convention with considerable success  until  his untimely death. The themes in the exhibition may often be unsettling but Schiele confronts us  with human bodies literally in the raw, stripped  of classical pretensions.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like more information about the exhibition or to book tickets, visit the Courtauld Gallery website here

A ticket to the Egon Schiele exhibition gives you access to other parts of the Courtauld Gallery.

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.

We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here