The Courtauld Gallery
The Courtauld Gallery has one of the most important and best-loved collections of European paintings and drawings in Britain, displayed in the elegant 18th century setting of Somerset House in Central London. The Courtauld’s collection ranges from the Renaissance to the 20th century and include a world-famous group of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings with masterpieces by Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin, amongst others. The Courtauld also offers an exciting and critically-acclaimed programme of temporary exhibitions on subjects reflecting the scope and range of the permanent collection.
Manet to Van Gogh: The Impressionists and Post-Impressionists
The Courtauld Gallery is best known for its outstanding collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, drawings and prints. Manet’s iconic A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1881-82, draws visitors from around the world and forms the centrepiece of a dazzling array of masterpieces by every major artist of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements. Renoir’s celebrated La Loge is displayed alongside great works by Monet, Degas and other members of the Impressionist circle. The innovations of the Post-Impressionists are powerfully expressed in major canvases by Gauguin, Seurat and Van Gogh, including the latter’s famous Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889. The Courtauld also holds the largest collection of Cézanne’s paintings, watercolours and drawings in Britain, spanning the artist’s career and including a number of his most important works such as Montagne Sainte-Victoire, c.1887, and The Card Players, c.1892-95.
Medieval and Renaissance Treasures
The Courtauld’s earliest collections include a fine group of exquisitely carved medieval ivories and a glittering array of Italian 14th-century gold-ground paintings. Outstanding amongst these treasures is the Crucifixion with Saints, 1348, a multi-panelled altarpiece by Bernardo Daddi; a series of delicate panels by Fra Angelico and the Master of Flémalle’s Entombment Triptych, c.1420, one of the outstanding works of early Netherlandish painting. Among the many important later works are Botticelli’s large altarpiece depicting the Trinity, c.1491-94; the only complete surviving pair of Renaissance wedding chests (cassoni); Lucas Cranach’s much-loved Adam and Eve, 1526; and two rare paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
Rubens and the Baroque
The Courtauld has one of the most important collections of paintings and drawings by Peter Paul Rubens, ranging from his portrait of The Family of Jan Brueghel the Elder, c.1613-15, to the magisterial late Landscape by Moonlight, c.1635-40. Among the 18th-century holdings are a superb group of oil sketches by Tiepolo, one of the greatest and most inventive painters of the period, as well as Goya’s portrait of the Spanish statesman Francisco de Saavedra and Gainsborough’s tender image of his wife, probably painted on her fiftieth birthday.
Into the 20th Century
The Courtauld has an important collection of French Fauve and German Expressionist paintings, which are on long-term loan to the Gallery. Works by Matisse, Derain and Vlaminck offer a powerful account of the radical breakthrough made by these artists in the early 20th century, characterised by their fearless use of simplified forms and intense colours which earned them the name Fauves, or ‘wild beasts’. The displays of German painting include a rich group of works by Kandinsky as well as boldly expressive paintings by Jawlensky, Kirchner, Heckel and Pechstein.
Changing displays highlight The Courtauld’s collection of 20th century British art which includes one of the most important holdings of work by the Bloomsbury Group with paintings and drawings by Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. The British collections extend throughout the 20th century, from Walter Sickert to Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland and on to Anthony Caro and Richard Long.
Drawings and Prints
The Courtauld Gallery houses an internationally renowned collection of 7,000 drawings and 20,000 prints. The drawings and watercolours cover all the major schools of Western art and include outstanding works by Dürer, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Turner, Cézanne and many others. In addition to being available to view by appointment in The Courtauld’s Drawings and Prints Study Room, a rotating selection of works is displayed in a dedicated room in The Courtauld Gallery. These displays are often themed to complement the Gallery’s exhibition programme.
A variety of Gallery events, including regular talks and tours, late night openings, workshops, art history courses, study days, summer school and study trips, explore the wealth of The Courtauld Gallery’s collection and offer many ways to enagage with works of art by some of the most important artists in the world. In addition, The Courtauld runs an exciting programme of arts education for schools, colleges and community groups.
The Courtauld Gallery is an integral part of The Courtauld Institute of Art, one of the world’s leading centres for the study of the history of art and conservation. Information about the Gallery's collection, including a virtual tour, films and podcasts, can be viewed on The Courtauld’s website. The publication, The Courtauld Masterpieces, illustrates a selection of over 60 major works from the collection and provides an excellent introduction to the history of the Gallery.