London’s Courtauld Gallery Fills Out Modern Art Holdings with Key Gift

Significant pieces by Paul Cézanne, Wassily Kandinsky, and more are heading to London’s Courtauld Gallery as part of a transformative gift of modern drawings. The 25 works on paper were assembled by the late British collector Howard Karshan, and donated in his memory by his wife, the artist Linda Karshan.

The Courtland gallery’s renowned collection includes masterpieces like Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. Its massive holdings of works on paper count pieces by artists such as Leonardo, Rembrandt and Rubens, but until now, the museum was sorely missing masterpieces from the 20th century. Aside from Cézanne, none of the artists included in the Karshan gift were previously represented in the gallery’s holdings.

Ernst Vegelin van Claerbergen, head of Courtauld Gallery, told the Guardian that the gift was “important beyond its size.”

“[The Courtauld Gallery] is also one of the most active collections in terms of exhibitions and displays and loans,” said Vegelin. “Despite that, our representation of draughtsmanship in the 20th century is hesitant, so this gives us a fantastic new chapter in the collection and a great basis for future growth.”

The gift includes watercolors by Cézanne, as well as drawings by Cy Twombly, Georg Baselitz and Joseph Beuys. Also represented are drawings by less known artists which Vegelin called “astonishing and revelatory,” including two expressive finger drawings by Swiss artist and violinist Louis Soutter.

Soutter produced his most celebrated body of work while interned against his will in hospice in Ballaigues, a small village in Switzerland. The dancing ink and gouache figures, depicted on whatever he could find—notebook, envelops, fragments of wrapping papers—earned him a small but dedicated following that included his cousin Le Corbusier. The gallery will also receive a piece by the Abstract Expressionist artist Sam Francis and a series of abstract works by Belgian painter and writer Henri Michaux that were created while he was high on mescaline.

“It is not a collection that someone has put together from a reference book, it is a collection with real edge and bite and character that really gets under the skin of drawing as an art form,” Vegelin said.

The Karshan gift will go on display in late 2021, when the historic gallery reopens following a $70.5 million modernization project.

Share This Post:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

On Key

Related Posts

Amy Sherald’s Portrait of Breonna Taylor Has Been Jointly Acquired by the Smithsonian and the Speed Art Museum in Louisville

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, and the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, have jointly acquired Amy Sherald’s portrait of Breonna Taylor, originally created for the cover of Vanity Fair. Taylor was asleep in bed on March 13, 2020, when police officers forced their way into her apartment and fatally shot the

A Stop-Motion Animation Full of Inappropriate Office Behavior Questions the Professional Impact of Motherhood

 What poses the biggest threat to women’s careers? That’s the question behind a new animation by Swedish director Anna Mantzaris (previously) that follows a mischievous character through a series of wildly inappropriate misdeeds and poor office etiquette. Created collaboratively by Passion Pictures and Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand, the lighthearted-turned-sincere short film compares snipping

Scroll to Top