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French Drawings of the 19th Century - Courtauld Gallery

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AN EXQUISITE selection of 19th century French drawings from the Courtauld Gallery’s rich collection of works on paper will be on show in the Gallery from February 21 to May 25, 2008. The display will complement the exhibition Renoir at the Theatre: Looking at ‘La Loge’.

Presenting some 18 works from across the span of the 19th century, this special display will provide an opportunity to study numerous renowned painters and sculptors in their lesser known capacity as draughtsmen, a particularly intimate side of their creative work.

The selection starts with a juxtaposition of works by the eminent classicist Jean-Auguste Ingres (1780-1867), whose highly stylised linear drawings aim for ideal beauty, and his fervent antagonists the romanticists Theodore Gericault (1791-1824) and Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863), whose energetic drawings express passion and movement.

Among the later works are Edouard Manet’s (1832-83) La Toilette (pictured), a rare study in red chalk depicting a young woman at her bath executed in preparation of a print; Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s (1841-1919) large pastel of a woman wearing a veil; and Camille Pissarro’s (1830-1903) watercolour of a snow covered landscape sketched in the painter’s home village, Eragny. This atmospheric work will be exhibited for the first time since it entered the Courtauld’s collection in 2007 as part of the Dorothy Scharf bequest.

The display concludes with characteristic studies of two important Post-Impressionists – Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s (1864-1901) striking blue crayon sketch for a portrait of a lady and Paul Gauguin’s (1848-1903) enigmatic depiction of a Tahitian man and woman.

b>Renoir at the Theatre: Looking at ‘La Loge’

The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN.