Friday, 8 July 2016

Painters' Paintings - National Gallery

Edgar Degas, Combing the Hair (La Coiffure), c1896 - owned by Henri Matisse
What a pleasure this exhibition is. Inspired by Lucian Freud’s bequest to the National Gallery of a fabulous painting by Corot – he left it to the nation in gratitude for Britain giving refuge to his family from the Nazis in 1933 (see below) – this exhibition brings together a selection of great works collected by great artists, notably Lucian Freud, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas and Sir Anthony Van Dyck; the exhibition also includes the not quite so great painters Lord Leighton, Sir Thomas Lawrence and Sir Joshua Reynolds. Examples of each artist-collector’s work is exhibited alongside works they had owned.
The premise of the exhibition does make for a fascinating set of stories and insight into the ’conversations’ artists have with the works both of their contemporaries and across time with their forebears. But more than that it simply brings together a concentrated selection of terrific paintings.
The highlights of the exhibition are the rooms devoted to Matisse and Degas and their respective collections. Matisse’s Degas (Combing the Hair, above) is, I think, a sensational painting; Degas himself was, evidently, an obsessive collector, acquiring more than 1,000 works in his lifetime.
The show, dips a little with the rooms devoted to Leighton, Lawrence and Reynolds but concludes on a high note with Van Dyck’s own great work alongside a couple of Titians.
Below is my selection of favourites from the exhibition. Click on images to enlarge.
Read reviews by Laura Cumming, Mark Hudson, Ben Luke and Jonathan Jones,
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Italian Woman, c1870 - owned by Lucian Freud
Henri Matissse,  The Inattentive Reader (La liseuse distraite), 1919
Paul Cezanne, Three Bathers, 1879-82 - owned by Henri Matisse
Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Dora Maar, 1942 - owned by Henri Matisse
Jacques-Emile Blanche, Francis Poictevin, 1887 - owned by Egar Degas
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Angelica saved by Ruggiero, 1818-39 - owned by Edgar Degas
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Oedipus and the Sphinx, c1826 0 owned by Edgar Degas
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Monsieur de Norvins, 1811-12 - owned by Edgar Degas
Raphael, An Allegory ('Vision of a Knight'), c1504 - owned by Sir Thomas Lawrence
Sir Anthony van Dyck, Thomas Killigrew and William, Lord Crofts (?), 1638
Titian,  Portrait of Gerolamo (?) Barbarigo, c1510 - owned by Sir Anthony van Dyck

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