The Courtauld Gallery, London Reopens November, 2021

Thursday, September 9, 2021
The Courtauld Gallery, London Reopens November, 2021

The Courtauld Gallery in London will open its doors in November 2021 following the most significant modernisation project in its history, providing a transformed home for one of the UK’s greatest art collections.

The Courtauld Gallery in London will open its doors in November 2021 following the most significant modernisation project in its history, providing a transformed home for one of the UK’s greatest art collections.

The Courtauld’s much-loved collection, which belongs to the Samuel Courtauld Trust and ranges from the Middle Ages to the 20th century – will be completely redisplayed and reinterpreted. These enhanced spaces will allow The Courtauld to give visitors greater insight into its collections, teaching and research and enable inspiring encounters with its great works of art. In addition, two brand new galleries will provide a beautiful new home for The Courtauld’s acclaimed programme of temporary exhibitions.

Masterpieces from The Courtauld’s world-famous collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art by Cézanne, Manet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Renoir, and Monet will be reunited in the spectacularly restored LVMH Great Room – London’s oldest purpose-built exhibition space and the largest space in Somerset House.

The new displays will reveal the quality and range of the collection like never before. The Blavatnik Fine Rooms, spanning the Piano Nobile across the whole of the second floor, will provide the stunning setting for a series of new displays of works from the Renaissance to the 18th century. A new space will be dedicated to The Courtauld’s important collection of Medieval and Early Renaissance paintings and decorative arts.

Rooms devoted to 20th century art and the Bloomsbury Group will showcase lesser-known areas of the collection through rotating displays. A new Project Space on the second floor will provide a flexible platform for spotlighting smaller temporary projects that give visitors special insights into The Courtauld’s collection, conservation and research. Displays in this space will play an important role in better connecting the public with the institution’s work as an internationally-renowned centre for the study of art history and conservation.

The largest work in The Courtauld’s collection – Austrian Expressionist Oskar Kokoschka’s epic triptych The Myth of Prometheus (1950) – will be back on public display for the first time in over a decade in the Katja and Nicolai Tangen 20th Century Gallery.

A new large-scale painting by acclaimed artist Cecily Brown, specially commissioned for the curved wall of The Courtauld’s historic 18th century staircase, will be unveiled when the Gallery reopens.

The Lord Browne of Madingley, Chairman of The Courtauld, said: “The opening of The Courtauld Gallery will be one of the biggest cultural highlights of 2021 and a significant first step in the transformation of The Courtauld. We are thrilled to be welcoming the public back to enjoy one of the country’s greatest art collections in a beautifully restored setting. This transformation would not have been possible without the generosity of our donors, to whom we are immensely grateful. The redevelopment allows us to showcase the range and richness of the collection as never before, and to enable a greater number of people to enjoy close personal encounters with some of the finest works of art from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. This will be complemented by an exciting opening programme of exhibitions, which focus on new or little-known areas of The Courtauld’s collection.”

As well as the redisplayed permanent collection, The Courtauld Gallery will open with three temporary exhibitions included in the ticket price:

Modern Drawings: The Karshan Gift (Nov 21 – Jan 22) will showcase an outstanding group of modern drawings by European and American masters including Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Gerhard Richter, Louis Soutter and Cy Twombly, assembled by the late collector Howard Karshan and generously given to The Courtauld by his wife, the artist Linda Karshan.

Pen to Brush: British Drawings and Watercolours (Nov 21 – Jan 22) will show a wide range of works from The Courtauld’s remarkable collection of British drawings – from one of the earliest and smallest works in the collection, a pen and ink drawing by Isaac Oliver measuring 47 x 59 mm, to watercolours by J.M.W. Turner and John Constable, to modern works, including a shelter drawing by Henry Moore and the radical, near abstract Vorticist Composition with Figures by Helen Saunders.

Kurdistan in the 1940s (Nov 21 – May 22) will unearth some of the treasures of the Conway photographic Library including sites damaged or destroyed in recent conflict through the works of 20th century British photographer Anthony Kersting, one of the most prolific and widely travelled architectural photographers of his generation.

Designed by Stirling Prize-winning architects Witherford Watson Mann, the redevelopment revitalises and opens up the building in Somerset House conceived by Sir William Chambers in the 1770s, restoring it to its former grandeur and creating state-of-the-art facilities. The project has been supported by £11 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and generous donations from foundations, individuals and other supporters.


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