5th Jul, 2022

Heritage bosses say it is last chance to see great French artistic masterpiece in Coventry

HERITAGE bosses say it is the last chance to see one of the greatest 19th Century French artistic masterpieces on display in Coventry.

Paul Cézanne’s Montagne Sainte-Victoire with Large Pine has been on display at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum since October.

It was loaned to the city by The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, London, and will return to the gallery after January 20.

The Courtauld’s Gallery’s gift to Coventry marks its founder’s connection with the city’s industrial past.

It also celebrates Coventry’s new status as UK City of Culture 2021.

The gallery’s founder Samuel Courtauld built his fortune through the nationwide textile firm, Courtauld’s Ltd.

Its historic city plant employed 4,720 people by 1928, many of them women.

That same year Samuel Courtauld, by then the chairman of the company, purchased the famous painting for his gallery.

By 1938, 11,500 people were employed by the Courtauld’s Ltd in the Midlands area, with Coventry remaining its largest single plant anywhere in the UK.

And the chair of the Culture Coventry Board of Trustees Roger Medwell was a former employee at the factory.

Courtauld’s has had a profound and enduring impact on the economic and social history of Coventry, promoters say.

Cézanne was a French artist, credited with laying the foundations for the transition from 19th Century art to the 20th Century.

Experts say he was a major influence on the likes of Picasso and Matisse.

The painting is one of his most celebrated and is part of a collection of work he produced of the mountain in southern France.

He is hailed as a major figure in the post Impressionist French movement which sought to depict nature in abstract light and colour.

Describing his painting, Cézanne said: “I have not tried to reproduce nature: I have represented it.”

The painting will be complemented in a new exhibition by some of the Herbert’s finest landscape works including Ebbw Vale by LS Lowry; The Stackyard by Paul Nash; Landscape with Tank by Prunella Clough and Evening Cornwall by David Bomberg.

Cultural and creative director of the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum Francis Ranford said: “We are thrilled to bring Montagne Sainte-Victoire with Large Pine to the Herbert and it is a wonderful opportunity for people to see this masterpiece outside of London.

“We have a great relationship with The Courtauld Gallery and the loan has come about through those existing links, one which reflects the family’s connections to Coventry.”

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