After I’d been to see the Becoming Picasso exhibition, I took the opportunity to go round the gallery and look round the Courtauld’s own collection. I had visited the gallery before, but that was over twenty years ago so it was a real treat to be able to look around.
The trouble with the big galleries in London is that they have so many paintings it is difficult to know where to start and looking round can be exhausting. But the Courtauld has a a relatively small collection – much more manageable and I felt I could stand and look at the pictures without feeling the need to rush on to something else like I often do when I have the rare opportunity to visit Tate Modern, The National Gallery etc..
Their collection includes works from the early Renaissance up to the 20th century, but is best known for it’s Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. It includes works by good range of artists – Manet, Degas, Renoir, Pissarro, Morisot, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Cézanne. They don’t have many pictures by each of them but the ones they do of are of very high quality.
Where do I start? Well some of the ones I particularly liked were a Modigliani portrait of a woman – very typical of his work,
a couple of Matisse Fauvists paintings and paintings by other Fauvists, a Patrick Heron abstract, an absolutely beautiful, simple, wooden Single Form by Barbara (similar to one displayed in Leeds City Art Gallery),
Single form 1937 by Barbara Hepworth
a room full of Degas’, three beautiful Gauguin’s,
Te Rerioa (The dream) 1897 Gauguin
a Van Gogh self-portrait (minus ear),
Jane Avril by Lautrec, a Morisot, Manet’s Folies-Bergère
A Bar at the Folies-Bergère 1888 Édouard Manet
and a room full of outstanding Cezannes.
The card players Paul Cézanne
Montagne Sainte-Victoire (c. 1887) Paul Cézanne
I was breathless by the time I’d finished and went round again, at least once more! I don’t think I’ll be leaving it another 20 years before I pay another visit .