feb. 20  to june 17, 2019

The Courtauld Collection : A vision for Impressionism

Fondation Louis Vuitton
8, avenue du Mahatma Gandhi
Bois de Boulogne - 75116 Paris

. www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr

The exhibition presents the collection of the British entrepreneur and art patron Samuel Courtauld, which hasn't been showed in Paris for the past 60 years. 


“The Courtauld Collection: A Vision for Impressionism” brings together some 110 works, including 60 paintings and graphic pieces, which are mainly conserved in the Courtauld Gallery or in different international public and private collections. It features some of the greatest French paintings from the end of the 19th century and from the very beginning of the 20th century


These works include "Un Bar aux Folies Bergère" (1882) by Manet, "La Jeune Femme se poudrant" by Seurat (1889-90), "Les Joueurs" de cartes by Cézanne (1892-96), "Autoportrait à l’oreille bandée" by Van Gogh (1889), "Nevermore" by Gauguin (1897), as well as a set of ten watercolours by  J.M.W. Turner which belonged to Samuel Courtauld’s brother, Sir Stephen Courtauld. 


The exhibition of the Courtauld Collection embodies the Fondation’s aim to showcase the role of emblematic collectors from the history of art, following on from previous exhibitions such as  “Keys to a passion” (2014-2015), "Being Modern : Moma in Paris" (2017-2018), "Icons of Modern Art. The Shchukin Collection(2016-2017) which brought together great works of Modernism, collected by prestigious institutions and visionary collectors. 

The Courtauld Gallery’s great originality is the combination of the collection with research and teaching which, alongside the history of art, includes techniques for the conservation and restoration of work. This cultural institution has achieved and sustained an international reputation. It boasts exceptional documentation resources - in architecture especially - and remarkable archives.


Exhibition organised by The Courtauld Gallery, London and La Fondation Louis Vuitton. In partnership with France Culture.


Samuel Courtauld (1876 –1947) was an English industrialist who is best remembered as an art collector. He founded the Courtauld Institute of Art and the Courtauld Gallery in London in 1932.


Samuel Courtauld played a fundamental role in the recognition of Cézanne in the United Kingdom, by building up one of the greatest collections of the painter’s work, including Montagne Sainte-Victoire au grand pin and one of the five versions of the Joueurs de cartes. Another strong point of the collection was the work of Seurat, with a significant collection of fourteen pieces, including La Jeune Femme se poudrant.

Samuel Courtauld’s links with France determined the spirit and motivations of his collection. His family, who originally came from the Île d’Oléron, emigrated to London in the late 17th century. Having been silversmiths, his ancestors created a textile business in 1794 which became one of the largest in the world at the very beginning of the 20th century following the invention of viscose, a revolutionary synthetic fibre. Samuel Courtauld became the company’s president in 1921, and would remain at its head until 1945. As a passionate Francophile, he regularly spent time in Paris, often purchasing works of art from French dealers, advised, amongst others, by the art historian and dealer Percy Moore Turner.


His collection - built up in less than ten years between 1923 and 1929 in conjunction with his wife Elizabeth - was first shown in their neoclassical residence Home House, built by the architect Robert Adam in 1773-1777, and located in Portman Square in Central London. 


In 1931, Samuel Courtauld’s desire to give the public access to the history of art and to the works led him to create the Courtauld Institute, housed in the family residence of Home House. He added seventy-four pieces, or half of his collection (paintings, drawings, prints), which were freely accessible to the students. The remainder of the collection, as well as several works which were acquired later on, was bequeathed to the Courtauld Institute upon his death.


Portrait de Samuel Courtauld © Courtauld Institute