Three years ago we took the decision to radically rethink our exhibition programme. Instead of periodically organising large exhibitions on the scale typical of the national and major regional museums and galleries, we resolved to concentrate on highly focused single room shows, which would highlight the research undertaken in the Institute and which would relate closely to our own remarkable permanent collection. This programme has been a genuine critical success and is now a well-established and distinctive presence in the wide spectrum of exhibitions in London and beyond. Clarity of focus, the use of the permanent collection, the dissemination of new research, the range of subject matter and media, and the quality of the individual exhibits have been the hallmarks of these exhibitions, and they will once again be central to the programme in the anniversary year. The anniversary programme has the additional aim of highlighting work undertaken in those distinguished departments of the Institute which may not conventionally be very visible to the public. Professor Aileen Ribeiro of the History of Dress will be a central contributor to our exhibition examining Renoir’s La Loge, and The Courtauld Cézannes, the celebratory culmination of the anniversary year, will present the findings of a major research project undertaken in the Department of Conservation and Technology.

Ernst Vegelin van Claerbergen
Head of The Courtauld Gallery

Walter Sickert: The Camden Town Nudes
25 October 2007 – 20 January 2008

This exhibition is a provocative opening to The Courtauld Gallery’s programme for the 75th anniversary year. Walter Sickert’s (1860-1942) paintings of female nudes, set in the murky lodging houses of Edwardian Camden Town, confronted head-on artistic conventions of the period and stated most clearly Sickert’s ambitions as a modern realist artist. Today they are recognised as being among his most important contributions to 20th-century British painting and retain their power to challenge our assumptions about the artistic status of the female nude. This is the first time that the works have been brought together as the subject of an exhibition and it builds on a resurgence of recent scholarly interest in Sickert’s work. It will also be a unique opportunity to see Sickert’s four controversial ‘murder’ paintings, which he produced in response to the sensationalised murder of a prostitute in Camden Town in 1907. The works are the subject of a catalogue essay by Lisa Tickner, who joins The Courtauld as Visiting Professor this year.

The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of the late Lillian Browse (1906-2005), the distinguished Cork Street dealer who pioneered Sickert scholarship and helped to establish his posthumous reputation. She bequeathed an important part of her art collection to The Courtauld Gallery, including one of Sickert’s earliest Camden Town nudes. This painting, which was the springboard for the exhibition, has recently been cleaned and conserved at The Courtauld by Kate Stonor, Mellon Research Fellow. With major loans from both private and public collections the exhibition will trace Sickert’s reinvention of the nude, offering a significant contribution to the study of twentieth-century British art.

The exhibition is generously supported by the Friends of the Courtauld Institute of Art (lead supporter), The Estate of Lillian Browse, Nicholas and Judith Goodison, and Offer Waterman & Co.

Barnaby Wright
Acting schroder foundation Curator of Paintings

Renoir at the Theatre: Looking at La Loge
21 February – 25 May 2008

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s La Loge (The Theatre Box), 1874, is a masterpiece of Impressionist painting and one of the most famous of all the works in the collection. The exhibition unites this exceptional picture with Renoir’s other paintings of elegant Parisians on display in their loges. It also includes other depictions of the theatre box by his Impressionist contemporaries and their precursors, with important works by Mary Cassatt, Honoré Daumier and others borrowed from international collections. Their shared interest in the spectacle of modern society at the theatre is further explored through a rich array of printed material, such as contemporary fashion magazines and caricatures.

The Courtauld Cézannes
26 June – 5 October 2008

The Courtauld holds the most important group of works by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) in Britain. This exhibition presents the entire collection for the first time with major paintings such as the iconic Montagne Sainte-Victoire (1887)and Card Players (1892-5) shown alongside rarely seen drawings and watercolours. Also on display will be a previously unexhibited group of nine autograph letters to the painter Emile Bernard in which Cézanne reflects upon the principles of his artistic practice. Extensive new research by the Department of Conservation and Technology will add fresh insights into the artist’s working methods and techniques.

Ernst Vegelin van Claerbergen
Head of The Courtauld Gallery