Six of the UK's best Impressionism collections
From Monets in London to Sargents in Manchester, here are six of the greatest Impressionism collections in the UK.
Whether you're in Glasgow or Liverpool, you're never far from one of Britain's world-famous collections of Impressionist art. A movement that developed in the mid-19th century with a small group of Paris based artists including Monet, Degas and Cezanne grew to have much influence overseas, the techniques, subjects and style inspiring British artists such as Walter Sicker and Wilson Steer. We highlight six galleries that have collections well worth a visit for fans of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism.
Newly reopened in 2021 after an extensive transformation project, the Courtauld Gallery in Somerset House is home to some of the most recognisable images in Impressionism. Manet's barmaid; Degas's dancers; Van Gogh's self-portrait with his face wrapped in bandages have all found their place in the newly restored LVMH Great Room, London's oldest purpose built exhibition space. Cézanne is especially well represented in the collection, which features one of the greatest works in his Card Players sequence.
While the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square is perhaps better known for its Old Master paintings, its holdings of 19th-century paintings are equally impressive. Monet's Water-Lily Pond, Renoir's Skiff, Pissarro's Boulevard Montmartre at Night, Renoir's Umbrellas and Cezanne's Hillside in Provence, to name a few, keep company with Renaissance portraiture and Medieval altarpieces at this huge gallery that house pieces from the 13th to the 20th century.
Sir William Burrell, a Scottish shipping merchant, spent much of his fortune assembling a formidable art collection, which he gave to the city of Glasgow in 1944, along with £250,000 to build it a home. The result was the Burrell Collection, a purpose-built gallery displaying the masterpieces he had acquired. Reopening in early 2022 after refurbishment and expansion, the Impressionist works in the gallery are of international significance, including a new acquisition, L’Implorante by Cammille Claudel, a contemporary of Rodin, will be the first sculpture by a female artist to feature in the collection.
Nicknamed the 'National Gallery of the north' with its vast collection spanning from the 13th century to present day, the Walker's collection of Impressionist paintings is relatively small, however it includes captivating paintings by European artists ranging from Monet's Break-up of the Ice on the Seine to Woman Ironing by Edgar Degas, and also masterpieces by British painter Walter Sickert who recorded London's raucous nightlife.
Thanks to the generous bequest of French 19th-century paintings by the sisters Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, Wales's National Museum of Art has an excellent collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Among the Monets are Venetian scenes and examples from his Rouen Cathedral and Waterlilies series. These sit alongside La Parisienne by Renoir, a coastal scene by Sisley and canvases by Cézanne and Van Gogh.
Impressionism wasn't only a Gallic phenomenon, and Manchester Art Gallery is home to an impressive collection of Impressionist works by artists from both sides of the channel. Works by major French painters including Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Pierre-Auguste Renoir are shown alongside pieces by British artists such as George Clausen, John Singer Sargent and Philip Wilson Steer, who all embraced French art.
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