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Impressionist masterpieces from London head to Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris

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Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces from London’s Courtauld Gallery will go on show at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris spring 2019. Works by Manet, Van Gogh and Cézanne haven’t been shown in the French capital for more than 60 years.
The Courtauld Collection: a Vision for Impressionism (20 February-17 June 2019) is the latest in a series of shows at the private museum to pay tribute to «enlightened philanthropists» who supported Modern art. It is the largest loan exhibition ever mounted by the Courtauld Gallery, which is due to close for a two-year refurbishment this September. The works are belonged to collection of English industrialist Samuel Courtauld—who helped introduce the UK to Impressionism.
An architect’s impression of the Courtauld Gallery’s new-look Great Room. The Boundary

The foundation will present around 100 paintings and works on paper from the late 19th century and early 20th century once owned by the British textiles industrialist Samuel Courtauld (1876−1947). A descendant of French Huguenots who settled in London in the late 17th century, he was ahead of his time in collecting works by artists such as Renoir, Manet, Gauguin, Cézanne and Van Gogh in 1920s Britain.

The show also looks at the life of the philanthropist and his role as one of the most important collectors of the 20th century. Courtauld was particularly influential in building the reputation of the Impressionists in Britain, and despite the hostility of art critics of the day, he persisted in growing his collection, going on to amass the largest number of Cézanne works in the UK, including one of the five versions of his famous Card Players, made around 1892−96.

Left: Photo: Samuel Courtauld. Courtauld Institute of Art

Paul Cezanne. The card players
The card players
1895, 60×73 cm
Courtauld’s collection also expanded to include works such as Gaugin’s Tahitian nude Nevermore and Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait With Bandaged Ear (1889). Courtauld founded the country’s first centre for the study×A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? read more
of art history, the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, where art history and conservation were taught at the university level for the first time in the country. He donated it his collection and his Georgian townhouse in London’s Portman Square. The Institute and the adjacent Gallery have been housed since 1989 in Somerset House.

Courtauld also established a trust fund to acquire Impressionist and post-Impressionist art for the UK’s national collections. The National Gallery in London will lend a selection of these pieces to the Vuitton exhibition, including Van Gogh's Wheat Fields with Cypresses (1889), the painter’s first work to enter a UK museum.
Vincent van Gogh. Wheat field with cypress
Wheat field with cypress
September 1889, 51.5×65 cm
The show at Fondation Louis Vuitton encompasses mostly paintings, such as Manet’s last major work, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, which was exhibited in Paris in the Salon of 1882, and Renoir’s 1874 La Loge, but will also include some works on paper. Watercolors by William Turner that belonged to Courtauld’s brother Stephen will also make an appearance.
Most of the work included in the show will be traveling from the Courtauld Gallery in London, which is slated for a temporary closure in September so that it can undergo renovation. London’s National Gallery has also lent some works, including Van Gogh’s Wheatfield, while other works formerly in Courtauld’s collection were borrowed from collections around the world.
«The Courtauld Collection. A Vision for Impressionism» runs February 20 through June 17, 2019, at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.
Based on materials from Artnet, Artnewspaper

Title illustration: Edouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882)
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