He was not an artist but he loved art. The English industrialist and patron Samuel Courtauld has brought together in less than a decade an incredible number of masterpieces. For the first time in sixty years, part of this collection is presented in Paris, in the beautiful setting of the Louis-Vuitton Foundation. The exhibition will remain visible from February 20 to June 17, 2019.
Far from being the descendant of an Oleron family who emigrated to London in the 17th century, Samuel Courtauld (1876-1947) loved France. And the French painters. Cézanne and Seurat especially gathered his favours. Their paintings are the heart of the collection. A resolutely impressionist collection built up in record time, between 1923 and 1929, with the help of art historian and merchant Percy Moore Turner.
Manet, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Renoir, Picasso, Modigliani… and of course Cézanne and Seurat signed part of the sixty or so paintings exhibited until June at the Louis-Vuitton Foundation. In addition, there are graphic works acquired by Samuel Courtauld and ten watercolours by Turner that belonged to the industrialist’s brother.
Unavoidable because of its extraordinary richness, this exhibition is a unique opportunity to discover some of the greatest French paintings of the late 19th century and the very beginning of the 20th century. The chronological itinerary largely explores the impressionist and postimpressionist period. Among the jewels that you will be able to admire are: Bar aux Folies-Bergère by Manet (1882) and L’Autoportrait à l’oreille bandée by Van Gogh (1889).
Most of these masterpieces are usually kept at the Courtauld Gallery, created in London in 1932 by the patron himself, who very early on wanted to open his collection to the public.
An undeniable added value, the Louis-Vuitton Foundation building offers an unparalleled setting to enhance these treasures. Inaugurated in 2014, it is itself a work of art by Frank Gehry.