London, Courtauld Gallery reopens after three years, completely renovated

After three years of closure, London's Courtauld Gallery has reopened, completely transformed and elegantly restored with the most significant modernization project in its history.

After being closed for three years, London’s Courtauld Gallery has reopened its doors to the public: closed since 2018, the Somerset House gallery is open again as of November 19, 2021 following the most significant modernization project in its history. Indeed, the home of one of the UK’s largest art collections has been completely transformed and elegantly restored.

The LVMH Great Room, the oldest purpose-built exhibition space in London and former home of the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition, houses the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces most important works in the collection, including Vincent van Gogh’sSelf-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889), Édouard Manet ’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882), and Paul Gauguin’s Nevermore (1897), but other masterpieces by Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, and Georges Seurat are also on view here. The environment is restored and has regained its proportions.

The Blavatnik Fine Rooms, which occupy the entire second floor of the building, display masterpieces of the collection from the Renaissance to the 18th century. Featuring splendid ceilings and fireplaces, these rooms hosted the meetings of some of the most important artistic, scientific and historical societies: the Royal Academy, the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries; the architect of Somerset House, William Chambers, was also a founding member of the Royal Academy. Among the most significant works on display in the Blavatnik Fine Rooms are Sandro Botticelli’s Trinity with Saints Mary Magdalene and John the Baptist, Peter Paul Rubens’ Deposition from the Cross, and Lucas Cranach the Elder’s Adam and Eve.

New rooms devoted to twentieth-century, Bloomsbury Group art present little-known aspects of the collection; a new space is devoted to exhibitions and temporary projects.

For example, in the new Denise Coates Exhibition Galleries on the top floor of Somerset House, the first-ever exhibition entirely devoted to Vincent van Gogh’s self-portraits will be mounted in 2022, starting with the iconic Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, among the most famous works in the museum’s collection.

The renovation is due to a collaboration between architects Witherford Watson Mann and gallery owners Nissen Richards. Philanthropists Leonard Blavatnik and his wife and the Blavatnik Family Foundation also participated in the restoration.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors back to the Courtauld Gallery after being closed for more than three years,” said Deborah Swallow, Märit Rausing director of the Courtauld Institute of Art. “The transformation has been truly incredible, and the masterpieces in our collection shine brighter than ever. With improved visitor facilities, greater accessibility, and a new Learning Center.”

Pictured is the renovated LVMH Great Room at the Courtauld Gallery. Ph.Credit Somerset House

London, Courtauld Gallery reopens after three years, completely renovated
London, Courtauld Gallery reopens after three years, completely renovated

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