Painters’ Paintings – From Feud to Van Dyck, Sainsbury Wing, National Gallery, London, until 4th September 2016
It really should not come as a surprise that painters may actually collect paintings to both live with and be inspired by whether they are contemporary or not. The lynch-pin painting in this show is the strong depiction of an Italian Woman by Corot which belonged to the late, great Lucian Freud and which he left to the Nation on his death in 2011. One can certainly understand why this powerful work would have appealed to Freud.
This exciting and informative exhibition also looks at works that were owned by Matisse, Degas, Frederic, Lord Leighton, Watts, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir Anthony van Dyck and they in many ways expand our knowledge of the owners.
The more than eighty works on show combine examples of the artists’ own work with the ones they acquired whether purchased by the artists themselves, received as gifts or bought as investments or status symbols. This is perhaps best summed up by Sir Joshua Reynolds who said – “Works of art are models you are to imitate, and at the same time rivals you are to combat”
This is an enlightening show of the painter as collector and one that really has to be seen for its message to be fully appreciated.