Courtauld unveils its £50m transformation

The Courtauld Institute has unveiled its £50m transformation, the biggest since it moved to Somerset House in 1989.

The three year project, Courtauld Connects, has seen the Courtauld Galleries, which share the space with the institute’s fine art students, made over, the conservation department upgraded and a new learning centre, with improved accessibility and new temporary exhibition space, ready for a reopening in November.

The Courtauld’s famous collection, ranging from pre-Renaissance to the 20th century, will be redisplayed and reinterpreted. Its historic Great Room, now the LVMH Great Room where the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition was first held, has been restored and it's here that the institute’s collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art will be shown with works by Cézanne, Manet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Renoir and Monet reunited. The renamed Blavatnik Fine Rooms (main image) will show the collections up to the 18th century, and anew space will be de voted to medieval paintings and decorative art. The Bloomsbury Group is to be showcased in rooms dedicated to the 20th century.

There is also to be a specially commissioned large scale painting by Cecily Brown decorating the curved wall at the tip of the Courtauld’s 18th century spiral staircase.

Funding has come from Sir Len Blavatnik and the Blavatnik Family Foundation, and from LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessey) Philanthropy.

“The opening of The Courtauld Gallery will be one of the biggest cultural highlights of 2021 and a significant first step in the transformation of The Courtauld” said its chairman, Lord Browne. “We are thrilled to be welcoming the public back to enjoy one of the country’s greatest art collections in a beautifully restored setting.

“This transformation would not have been possible without the generosity of our donors, to whom we are immensely grateful. The redevelopment allows us to showcase the range and richness of the collection as never before, and to enable a greater number of people to enjoy close personal encounters with some of the finest works of art from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century.”

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