An update on Courtauld Connects
Last year was one of the most intense in the history of The Courtauld. We are at a moment of great change and excitement as we embark upon an unprecedented transformation project, Courtauld Connects, to rejuvenate our teaching, research, exhibitions, outreach and buildings, to ensure that we continue to flourish as the world’s foremost centre for the study of art history and conservation, with an outstanding gallery and collection at its heart.
The transformations have already started and the Gallery has now closed its doors for two years. In order to protect the student experience while building work takes place, The Courtauld’s teaching and learning facilities, faculty offices, conservation studios, student and academic services, the core book library, public programmes and most Research Forum events have moved site to our temporary campus in Vernon Square, just south of King’s Cross. Curatorial and administrative offices, the photographic libraries (along with the digitisation and volunteer projects) and special book collections will remain in Somerset House until the end of Phase 1 of the project. Our chief founder, Samuel Courtauld, believed deeply in the transformative power of art and the importance of art being accessible to all. The changes being made under Courtauld Connects will realise this vision of The Courtauld as a physically accessible and inclusive site, as well as demonstrating our position as an outstanding cultural force within the wider arena of the art world.
Courtauld Connects has enabled us to forge new collaborations and relationships with art institutions throughout the UK and internationally. Here in London we have partnered with the National Gallery to produce a major exhibition, Courtauld Impressionists: from Manet to Cézanne, which opened in September to tremendous reviews. Following the close of the exhibition, the National Gallery has most generously given us a designated space for a rotating display of old masters from The Courtauld’s collection, with additional works placed in appropriate contexts throughout the National Gallery for the duration of our gallery’s closure. Further afield, we have established a highly successful regional programme, Courtauld National, which has already enabled us to send core works to Hull, Belfast, Coventry and Preston, and begin touring our flagship festival of art history, Res|Fest, in Belfast.
We also have important international projects on the horizon. We are delighted to be collaborating with the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris on the exhibition, The Courtauld Collection: A Vision for Impressionism, which will open in February 2019. Showcasing around 100 works that all belonged to Samuel Courtauld, this landmark exhibition will explore Samuel’s role as one of the great collectors of the twentieth century. It will also place both The Courtauld and Samuel Courtauld himself – as a collector and institution builder – firmly on the European cultural map. This project in Paris will also provide a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with our alumni in France.