The Courtauld Gallery, London, Room 3: infographics
Often I find the number of the exhibits in a museum overwhelming; they are too many in so many rooms that you literally should jog around them if you want to have a rough idea about what the museum includes. Personally I prefer to focus on just one room and in many cases just one work/item every time I visit (especially when I know that I have the opportunity to visit the place again).
The Courtauld Gallery, in London, is described as ‘one of the finest small museums in the world’ and although I doubt the ‘small’ bit of the description it really has some stunning Impressionist paintings.
For this set of infographics I have focused on Room 03 of the Gallery which is on the 1st floor. At the moment Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère is probably the most famous painting of the room.
Perhaps these infographics are more useful and meaningful when you are in the room itself but still they can give you an idea of what is in there and help you identify relations between the artists, the paintings/works and the places that inspired them.
On the first infographic there is a floor plan of the room and a time line of various events related to the room and its exhibits.
The room has 16 works (15 paintings and 1 sculpture) created by 5 artists: Cézanne, Gauguin, Manet, Monet and Pissarro; all of them were French. It is easy to see that the room is dominated by Cézanne’s works (9 out of 16 works are his) so we could easily talk about ‘Cézanne’s room’.
From bottom to top there is an indication of when the artists of the room lived (Pissarro was the oldest while Monet lived the longest and was the last to die) with some information (extracted from the captions in the room) related to their lives. On the centre there are the dates when they created the works of art. Below the central grey line there are the dates of works by Pissarro, Monet and Gauguin while above it there are the dates of Cézanne’s and Manet’s paintings. Further up (top) the dates of some historical events are mentioned.
As all the artists of the room were French, most of their inspiration came from France. On a map of France cities and places like Paris, Osny, Éragny and Normandy are highlighted. For each, we show the related works of art in Room 3 of the Courtauld Gallery. As one of the paintings was created by Gauguin in Tahiti, on a smaller map of the world, Tahiti and France are highlighted.
Table of the works
|1||The Etang des Soeurs, Osny||Cézanne||1875 (circa)||Landscape||Oil on canvas||No|
|2||Farm in Normandy||Cézanne||1882 (?)||Landscape||Oil on canvas||No|
|3||Tall trees at the Jas De Bouffan||Cézanne||1883 (circa)||Landscape||Oil on canvas||No|
|4||La Montagne Sainte-Victoire||Cézanne||1887 (circa)||Landscape||Oil on canvas||Yes|
|5||A Bar at the Folies-Bergère||Manet||1882||Oil on canvas||Yes (+dated)|
|6||Le Lac d’Annecy||Cézanne||1896||Landscape||Oil on canvas||No|
|7||Man with a Pipe||Cézanne||1892-1895 (circa)||Portrait||Oil on canvas||No|
|8||The Card Players||Cézanne||1892-1895 (circa)||Oil on canvas||No|
|9||Still Life with Plaster Cast||Cézanne||1894 (circa)||Still Life||Oil on paper laid on board||No|
|10||Le déjeuner sur l’herbe||Manet||1867||Oil on canvas||No|
|11||La Lavandière (The Laundress)||Pissarro||1893 (circa)||Oil and pastel (?) on canvas||Yes|
|12||The Haystacks||Gauguin||1889||Oil on canvas||Yes (+dated)|
|13||Te Rerioa (The Dream)||Gauguin||1897||Oil on canvas||Yes (+dated, titled & located)|
|14||Route Tournante (The Winding Road)||Cézanne||1904 (circa)||Landscape||Oil on canvas||No|
|15||Vase of flowers||Monet||1881-1882 (circa)||Still Life||Oil on canvas||Yes|
|16||Portrait of Mette Gauguin||Gauguin||1877||Portrait (Head / Sculpture)||Marble||Yes|
Museums and Galleries as living organisms
The works on display of museums and galleries change perhaps more often than you imagine; even if it is their ‘permanent’ collections/exhibitions. So if you visited the Courtauld Gallery – Room 3, let’s say in 2009, do not expect that all the works you saw then, will be present the next time you visit.
From the 16 works of art in the room, Cézanne’s Route Tournante (The Winding Road) was put on display sometime just between 13 and 20 September, replacing Gaugin’s Nevermore which will be on display at Tate Modern between 30 September 2010 and 16 January 2011.
Before that happened, Pissarro’s La Lavandière (The Laundress) replaced Rousseau’s Toll gate (sometime between 26 July and 13 September 2010).
If you would like to see an even older layout (and the works) of Room 3, please click here.
Chances are that soon there will be another change: The Card Players and perhaps the Man with a Pipe will move one floor up to a new exhibition titled ‘Cézanne’s Card Players‘ which will last between 21 October 2010 and 16 January 2011.
The Samouel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London: on-site visits (field research) + website
The Courtauld Gallery, London
Many thanks to Tim Thomas for his valuable feedback.