Open Courtauld Hour: Rethinking Gauguin

Open Courtauld Hour – The Courtauld Institute of Art’s digital series on all things art history – is back for monthly instalments this Autumn!

Aligning with The Courtauld’s most recent acquisition — Paul Gauguin’s Avant et après —this Open Courtauld Hour aims to provoke conversation around the importance of re-situating objects under an intersectional lens. This episode will seek to explore Gauguin’s relationships with travel and fellow artists, such as Van Gogh, and unearth his selective storytelling in a manuscript that has never before been displayed to the public.

It also deals with a pervasive issue in the discipline of art history itself — the perpetuation of dominant ideologies through art historical discourses and, as a result, the ways in which galleries and those in the art world have traditionally displayed  and discussed ‘great male artists’ like Gauguin.

In this session we invite both the audience and The Courtauld to rethink, question and revisit the legacy and mythic presence of Gauguin by joining Alice Procter (Uncomfortable Art Tours and author of ‘The Whole Picture’), Ketty Gottardo (Martin Halusa Curator of Drawings at The Courtauld), Karen Serres (Curator of Paintings at The Courtauld), Linda Goddard (Head of Art History at University of St Andrews), Caroline Levitt (Lecturer and Graduate Diploma Programme Coordinator at The Courtauld) and Helen Higgens (Head of Learning (interim) & Oak Foundation Young People’s Programme Manager at The Courtauld). With the help of these experts we aim to solidify the opportunities that can arise from unpicking our new acquisition and the controversial structures which supported its genesis.

This online mini series will provide concise one hour packages of pop-up talks, performances and in detail object study sessions that explore and celebrate our collection, research in art history, curation and conservation.

The series will touch on pertinent issues — magnifying contemporary thinking in society through the field of art history. These episodes will explore how the public, artists and galleries are adapting to a digital world, showcasing art historical research in light of this global pandemic and providing a platform for creative practice in the age of social distancing.

Most importantly, as art is relevant to all, these informal sessions will give attendees the chance to access, engage and read art and art history through a different lens— revamping and rethinking art historical discussions through retelling hidden stories. These episodes will platform new perspectives, new ways into art practice, looking at art and reading its history through themes that impact us all.