Collecting Gauguin: Samuel Courtauld in the '20s
20 June – 8 September 2013
Samuel Courtauld was a prolific collector of Post-Impressionist paintings, and in particular the artist Paul Gauguin. This exhibition reveals the contribution Courtauld made to developing Gauguin’s reputation in the UK.
Radical and complex, the life of the French impressionist painter Paul Gauguin is as fascinating as his art. A banker turned artist who fled the constraints of a bourgeois existence for a Polynesian paradise, he became one of the leading painters of the Post-Impressionist movement.
The collector and founder of the Courtauld Institute of Art, Samuel Courtauld, found out about the work of Gauguin in Roger Fry’s ground breaking show ‘Manet and the Post-Impressionists’ in 1910. By the 1920s Courtauld was amassing a sizeable collection of important works by Gauguin, including several made in Tahiti.
This exhibition brings together Courtauld’s paintings by Gauguin again for the first time, celebrating the singular vision of the artist and the passion for his work by the collector.
The exhibition will feature, among others, three exquisite paintings made by Gauguin during his time in the Caribbean. These include Martinique Landscape, Bather’s in Tahiti, and Te Rerioa (The Dream), which was bought in 1929 at the suggestion of Roger Fry, who described it as the artist's masterpiece. Also on show is a rare marble bust of Mette, Gauguin’s first wife, made in 1879.