British collectors were much slower than their French, Russian and American counterparts to perceive the beauty and greatness of Impressionism. Textile magnate Samuel Courtauld was an exception: his enthusiasm for Manet, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro and Sisley, as well as Degas, Gaugin and Cézanne, led to the formation of one of the greatest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world.
He also founded, in 1930, the Courtauld Institute of Art, to which he bequeathed most of his paintings – now on show in the grand eighteenth-century surroundings of Somerset House – and left a bequest to the National Gallery to assist with the purchase of Impressionists. So here in Trafalgar Square, at the other end of Strand, there is now an excellent group of Impressionists, the result of private bequests, long-term loans and occasional purchase.
The Franco-Prussian war and its aftermath drove many French artists across the Channel. The Tate’s EY exhibition: Impressionists in London explores the network of connections between the Impressionists and the British art world forged during this period. The exhibition includes works by Monet, Tissot and Pissarro.
Dr Diane Silverthorne
Art historian specialising in late-19th and 20th-century art, design and architecture. She studied at Birkbeck University of London, where she also now lectures, and took an MA in Cultural Memory and Museum Studies at the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, before completing her PhD at the Royal College of Art. She recently contributed chapters to two anthologies, Music & Modernism c.1849–1950, and The Oxford Critical & Cultural History of Modernist Magazines V3, Europe 1880–1940.
10.15am at the Courtauld Gallery.
C. 5.45pm at Tate Britain.
Entry to the Courtauld and the exhibition, lunch, mid-morning and mid-afternoon refreshments at the National Dining Rooms and travel by taxi between the venues.
Maximum 14 participants.
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