Impressionist masterpieces from London head to Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris
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
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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.
Title illustration: Edouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882)