The Courtauld announces exhibition with The Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris

8 Jun 2018

The Courtauld Gallery and The Fondation Louis Vuitton are pleased to announce the major exhibition “The Courtauld Collection. A Vision for Impressionism”, which will take place at the Fondation Louis Vuitton from 20 February to 17 June 2019.

This landmark exhibition will explore Samuel Courtauld’s role as one of the great collectors of the twentieth century and showcase his extraordinary collection, which will be on display in Paris for the first time in over sixty years.

It brings together around 100 works that all belonged to Samuel Courtauld. The majority of these are owned by The Courtauld Gallery and they will be reunited with other important paintings formerly in Courtauld’s collection and now held in international public and private collections. In addition, the exhibition will include watercolours by William Turner that belonged to Samuel Courtauld’s brother, Stephen. The exhibition will also shed light on Courtauld’s pioneering role in shaping public taste for Impressionism in the United Kingdom.

“The Courtauld Collection. A Vision for Impressionism” is in line with previous exhibitions held at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, such as “Keys to a Passion” (2014-2015), “Icons of Modern Art. The Shchukin Collection” (2016-2017), and “Being Modern: MoMA in Paris” (2017-2018), which all aimed to present seminal collections of modern masterpieces assembled by enlightened philanthropists.

Samuel Courtauld’s ties with France ran deep: of Huguenot origin, his family came from the Île d’Oléron on the Atlantic coast of France and emigrated to London in the late 17th century. His ancestors were silversmiths and later silk producers. In the early 20th century the development of viscose, a revolutionary synthetic fibre sometimes called ‘artificial silk’, turned the business into one of the largest textile manufacturers in the world. Samuel Courtauld had apprenticed as a young man in France and when he became chairman of the company in 1921, he often returned to Paris to purchase Impressionist works of art from French dealers. He was made Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur for services to the arts in 1933. After his death, the Orangerie staged a commemorative exhibition in 1955, which marked the last time many of his works were seen in Paris, including Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear. Several others have not been back since their purchase by Courtauld in the early 20th century.

This major exhibition is made possible by the temporary closure for renovation of The Courtauld Gallery, from September 2018. This ambitious multiyear venture, entitled Courtauld Connects, will see the transformation of The Courtauld Institute of Art and Gallery’s current home in Somerset House in central London. More information is available online