One of the finest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art collections in the world back on show at National Museum Cardiff.
Seven new galleries of Impressionist and Modern art, featuring internationally renowned works such as Renoir’s ‘La Parisienne’ and Van Gogh’s ‘Rain Auvers’ alongside collections by distinguished Welsh artists such as Gwen John and Ceri Richards have recently opend to the public at National Museum Cardiff.
This development, marks the latest stage in the Museum’s plans to create a National Museum of Art for Wales, which will be completed in 2011.
The impressionist and modern galleries have been completely refurbished and re-displayed for the first time since their completion
in 1993, transforming the visitor’s experience of one of the world’s great art collections. Renoir’s iconic La Parisienne dominates a gallery containing no less than ten pictures by the great impressionist Claude Monet, and the sculpture of Rodin and Degas. Some of Cézanne and Van Gogh’s greatest paintings are followed by masterpieces from the hand of Modigliani and Magritte. Visitors are introduced to the roots
of Impressionism in the creative ferment of 19th century France.
Other galleries tell the story of the impact of Impressionism on British art and trace the development of Modernism from around 1900 to the Surrealists of the 1930s. Artists from Wales played a significant role in both movements, and the galleries celebrate Augustus John, Gwen John, William Goscombe John, Cedric Morris, David Jones and Ceri Richards, as well as less familiar figures such as the sculptor and suffragette Edith Downing.
As well as the familiar, there is much that is new. Highlights include the recently acquired Still Life with Poron by Pablo Picasso; a special display celebrating the centenary of Cardiff-born artist Merlyn Evans; and another introducing the outstanding collection of 19th Century Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art formed by Gwendoline and Margaret Davies some of which has returned to Wales following a successful US Tour.
Minister for Heritage, Alun Ffred Jones AM said:
“I’m delighted that the latest phase of the National Museum of Art is complete and I look forward to July 2011 when more new galleries will be opened. Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales with support from the Welsh Assembly Government, is committed to creating a world-class venue for art here in Cardiff to house our wonderful national collections. The Welsh Assembly Government is pleased to have invested £1 million towards the National Museum of Art development over the last two years.’’
Oliver Fairclough, Keeper of Art, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, said: “The completion of this phase of the project gives us an opportunity both to re-present the great Impressionist and post-Impressionist collections formed by Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, and to tell other less familiar stories, such as the growing importance of women artists in Britain around 1900. I am also delighted to have a gallery for changing displays from our rich holdings of work by Welsh artists of the first half of the 20th century.”
Oliver Fairclough continued: “We are now more than half way to completing the £6.5million National Museum of Art for Wales, which will give us 40% more space to display the art collections. Until recently, only one room was available for the display of art since 1950 at National Museum Cardiff. Much of the west wing of the Museum is now being transformed into a suite of high quality, flexible galleries, providing six times as much space for art post-1950.”
The opening of the newly refurbished galleries and return of the nation’s favourite and best-loved art collections will continue to play this role by offering exceptional venue hire opportunities.
Sian Edwards, Business Improvement Manager, said: “The galleries offer an unparalleled venue for corporate and private events from drinks receptions, concerts and lectures to launch events and wedding receptions. Venue Hire allows us to showcase the very best that Wales has to offer in terms of its culture, heritage and history and the profit we make helps to maintain and run the Museum”.
Entry to the Museum is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.
Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales operates seven museums across Wales National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.