ONE of the world’s most iconic Impressionist paintings will take pride of place in a landmark exhibition at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery next year.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s masterpiece “The Umbrellas” is due to be displayed in the city as part of UK-wide commemorations marking the 200th anniversary of the National Gallery in London.
The National Treasures project, which forms part of the National Gallery’s NG200 year-long festival of arts and culture will see 12 important artworks being loaned to 12 cities around the UK, including Leicester.
Renoir was one of the best-known painters from the Impressionist movement, centred around Paris from the 1860s and 1870s onwards, which also includes artists such as Claude Monet, Eduard Manet and Edgard Degas.
The Umbrellas, painted between 1881-86, is considered one of the greatest works of Impressionist art, and shows a busy Paris street scene full of people using umbrellas against the rain.
National Treasures: Renoir in Leicester will see the painting being loaned to the city from May 2024.
Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: "It is huge privilege for Leicester to be loaned such an iconic and important piece of 20th century art, as part of the National Gallery’s 200th anniversary celebrations.
“Leicester Museum and Art Gallery is already renowned for its extensive collection of German Expressionist Art and Picasso Ceramics collection among others, and the chance to exhibit such a well-known and historically significant painting is a real feather in our caps.
“Our museums give visitors the chance to explore a whole world of knowledge, from highlighting the city through the ages, right through to hosting internationally-recognised collections from ancient history and beyond.
“I hope the chance to see Renoir’s “The Umbrellas” encourages even more people to discover what our museums have to offer visitors of all ages.”
National Treasures is a key strand of the programme celebrating the National Gallery’s Bicentenary. Each partner venue will receive a masterpiece from the gallery’s collection and will curate around it, involving interpretation, community engagement and events, or exhibitions.
The displays will all open simultaneously on 10 May 2024, the 200th anniversary of the National Gallery’s opening in London.
For the duration of the exhibitions, 35 million people - more than half the UK population - will be within an hour’s journey of a National Gallery masterpiece.
The paintings will be loaned for between two and four months, with the final displays concluding on 10 September 2024.
Christine Riding, Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department, says: “We thought carefully about where to send these most iconic and well-loved paintings in our collection.
“As well as being able to look after these works to an extremely high standard, we approached our partners for National Treasures because of their exciting ideas and brilliant reputations within their community.
“We are very excited to see the interpretation and audiences that our partners will bring to these most treasured paintings.”
Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, added: “In our Bicentenary year, we want to reaffirm our role as the nation’s gallery.
“Our collection belongs to the British public and we’re very pleased to work with such an exciting range of partner venues to help realise this.
“These exhibitions provide a unique opportunity for people all over the country to see up close some of the greatest works from the history of Western art – and we hope that many visitors will discover their local museums and be inspired to visit us in Trafalgar Square to see even more of our collection.”
Arts and Heritage Minister, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, said: “Everyone should have access to our country's great treasures, no matter where they live. I'm delighted that these masterpieces will be going on display in galleries across the nation so more people can enjoy and be inspired by the National Gallery's world-class collections.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
The National Gallery is one of the greatest art galleries in the world. Founded by Parliament in 1824, the Gallery houses the nation’s collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the late 13th to the early 20th century. The collection includes works by Bellini, Cézanne, Degas, Leonardo, Monet, Raphael, Rembrandt, Renoir, Rubens, Titian, Turner, Van Dyck, Van Gogh and Velázquez. The Gallery’s key objectives are to enhance the collection, care for the collection and provide the best possible access to visitors. Admission free. More at www.nationalgallery.org.uk