The Courtauld Gallery and Impressionist Masterpieces with Francesca Herrick

The Courtauld Gallery and Impressionist Masterpieces with Francesca Herrick


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The Courtauld Gallery, based in the grand Neoclassical setting of Somerset House in central London, is one of the world’s finest small museums. It is best known for its exceptional collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artworks. The gallery is currently closed for a major refurbishment, but participants of this seminar will be introduced to its masterpieces and beautiful interiors via a high-definition virtual tour.

The collection was compiled by textile industrialist Samuel Courtauld, originally for his London townhouse. He founded the Courtauld Institute of Art for the study of art history in 1932, along with two other donors. He was not an art expert by any means but was confident enough in his own judgment to go against the prevailing fashions and opinions of the art world if a special painting caught his eye. His taste for Monet put him in competition with other leading collectors of his era, but his passion for Cézanne was more unusual for the time.

Samuel Courtauld did not set out to tell the story of Impressionism, yet his collection conveniently allows us to trace key developments and events associated with this famous art movement. Early works such as Renoir’s 'La Loge' will help us to understand how Impressionism was first received by the Parisian public in 1874, while later works such as Van Gogh’s 'Self-Portrait with a Bandaged Ear' will allow us to discuss a more personal and emotive turn in the following decade, developing into what we now call Post-Impressionism.

The seminar is led by art historian Francesca Herrick who first came to the Courtauld as a student back in 2004 and never left! She regularly works with the Public Programmes Department to introduce the collection to wider audiences in a variety of forms, with a recent focus on producing online learning resources. You can hear her speak about her favorite Courtauld painting here.

Francesca Herrick is a London based lecturer who has expanded her teaching practice beyond her Art History degrees to encompass the history of interior design. This specialized subject is still an emergent area of scholarly study. In her academic role at KLC School of Design, Chelsea, she has found a rare opportunity to develop curriculums for graduate courses that combine historical and critical studies with more practical engagement with past design. She is also an educator for the Courtauld Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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