Published on 03/27/2019
Entitled "The Courtauld Collection. A vision for Impressionism ", the exhibition presents masterpieces by key artists from the turn of the last century, including Manet, Renoir, Monet, Seurat, Boudin, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Modigliani, to name only a few.... Gathered mainly between 1923 and 1929, it is one of the most remarkable impressionist and post-impressionist collections of that time. The works presented in this exhibition reflect an era, life, modernity, and the collection seems feminine as it emanates from poetry and sweetness.
Among the notable works, or that have marked us, let us quote first of all the last major work of Edouard Manet (1832-1884) "Un bar aux folies bergeres" (1882) in which poses Suzon, one of the waitresses. She looks at us frankly, but also speaks with a customer. All in mystery, between the goods, in front of a customer or the spectator? She is facing the room, but we see it behind her back ... Beautiful and complex work that we must take the time to look to read the story told to us ...
There is also one of the preparatory sketches for the controversial "Déjeuner sur l'herbe" (1863), whose main work is in the Musée d'Orsay.
Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) is very present with the famous "La loge" (1874), which inspired a very beautiful poem to Samuel Courtauld, and which presents two characters in a theater box, unusual subject to the time, with its beautiful treatment of fabrics and textures all in black and white, and this humorous tone with the male character who looks "elsewhere". But our preference went to "Woman lacing her shoe" (1918), sensual, intimate, warmly colored, round, feminine.
The collection can not be complete without one of Claude Monet's "Gare Saint-Lazare" (1877), a testimony to modernity, an urban poetic landscape of glass and smoke. Monet also, "Antibes" (1888) and its wonderful light, the wind blowing gently into the tree, and this beautiful palette of diamond colors.
Eugène Boudin (1824-1898) gives him the reply with a Norman light, sand and clouds in "Deauville" (1893).
This collection is one of those with the most beautiful George Seurat (1851-1891) including a study for "Le Chahut" (1889) glowing red, green and blue, and "La jeune femme se poudrant" (1888) / 89), very beautiful portrait of his companion while plays of light, points of different sizes, curves and femininity.
Henri de Toulouse Lautrec (1864-1901) seduced us with "En cabinet particulier" (1899), and especially with a very nice lithography from the collection "Elles", "Femme couchée - réveil" (1896) full of poetry and sweetness , and whose head is sought in the heart of these sheets, which one feels maliciously spied on ...
We can not stop there as there are beautiful works. Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) is well represented with "L'homme à la Pipe" (1892/96), one of the five paintings of the "Les joueurs de cartes" (1892/96) well known, or "Le lac d'Annecy "(1896) whose cold, alpine palette of blues and greens, formal and colorful structures, perfectly serve this particular light and these mountain reflections in the water of the lake.
Perhaps our biggest favorite, Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) and these two subtle paintings that are "Pêchers en fleurs" (1889), luminous ode in spring, and "Champs de blé, avec Cyprès" (1889) . The latter shivers under the perfect palette of blues, yellows, and greens. Wind and heat flood the picture.
The exhibition is very pleasant to visit. The works, grouped by artist, are highlighted, and the documentation, as much on the acquisition, the presentation of the time, as on the staging of the collection, is very abundant.
Samuel Courtauld was keen to promote French impressionist artists in Britain. He regretted that few works were in London's museums, and he wanted the study of art to be accessible to all. It is in this logic that the Courtauld Institute, one of the world's leading centers for art education at the University of London, was founded.
It's no secret, we loved this collection. We look forward to going to London to visit the foundation ...
The Courtauld collection. A vision for impressionism. From February 20th to June 17th, 2019.
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