Tuesday, May 26, 2015

'Inventing Impressionism' not affected by National Gallery strike

Those wanting to catch the last week of Inventing Impressionism at the National Gallery should not be put off by news of a 10 day strike by National Gallery security staff. The striking staff no longer provide security for the external exhibitions in the Sainsbury Wing where the exhibition is being held. Thus the opening of the exhibition is unaffected.

The banners outside the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery
I sometimes think the NG staff forget that the purpose of public funding for the museum is to allow people access to the art.

The gallery has been running very largely on "office hours" for a very long time. That effectively means that those who work during the day cannot get to see exhibitions easily during the week. Which means enduring a packed out gallery at the weekend. (Make no mistake, the National Gallery is a VERY popular gallery)

Anything which enables more people to see the art is a good thing in my book. The initiatives by the National gallery to make this happen have my full support.
The National Gallery is a public asset and we have a duty to ensure the collection and the Gallery itself is accessible as much as possible to as many people as possible. We take this task seriously and our ongoing Modernisation Programme is designed to encourage a broader (and younger) audience to access the wealth of cultural inspiration the National Gallery has to offer. In particular, we have ambitious plans to extend further our education programme and public events. National Gallery Statement
Any union which refuses to recognise that the way to protect their members jobs is by negotiating within a framework imposed on publicly funded organisations is the organisational equivalent of a dolt. They need to recognise the enforced changes in public funding and the need to recognise that museums must focus on making their collections more accessible.  Besides which, every other publicly funded service has had to cope with changes to terms and conditions. I really don't see why the security staff at the National Gallery should be the exception to what is now the norm everywhere else.

These are the details of the impact of the strike.

Inventing Impressionism


Here's a reminder of some views of the exhibition which I was invited to view earlier in its run. There's one room which I find simply stunning - as I highlighted earlier.

The exhibition includes a range of paintings I've seen before and seen in other exhibitions = but it's good to see them together within the context of having passed through the hands of Paul Durand-Ruel,  the man who acted as the dealer for paintings by many of the Impressionists.

The exhibition includes a LOT of painting by Monet and Sisley plus paintings by Pissarro, Manet, Degas and Morisot

The paintings of children by Renoir in the exhibition are some of the best portraits I've ever seen by Renoir.  They are just full of colour!

Two large paintings by Renoir in the first room.

Like a number of the artists, Durand-Ruel came - with most of his stock - to London in 1870-1 to escape the Franco-Prussian war. He opened a gallery on New Bond Street for the duration of his stay.

A focus on paintings of London in Room 2
Three paintings by Sisley, Pissarro and Monet presented in one frame
Paintings by Monet, Morisot and Degas
More paintings by Monet
I kept walking round and round the exhibition and kept coming back again and again to this view of five of Monet's paintings of the Poplars on the Epte.

They are simply stunning. The order and the way they have been hung is superb. It's a view which will stay with me for a very long time.

Five of the series of paintings of Poplars on the Epte by Claude Monet
This is the final room

Paintings in the final room of the exhibition - plus a very comfy gallery couch!
If you get the opportunity do try and see the exhibition before it finishes on 31st May.

Note: The security people staffing the Inventing Impressionism exhibition are from CIS who provide the service for all external exhibitions. I personally find them very helpful and very friendly. In particular, they don't talk too loudly about their own personal affairs and disturb the viewing of the exhibition - which I have encountered elsewhere in the National Gallery!

2 comments:

Azra said...

Hi Katherine, I went to see this exhibition today and it was such a wonderful experience to see so many impressionists together in one show!!!

John Simlett said...

You've made this a must to see, Katherine, alas I'm not fit enough to travel.

I once had a year's contract with a London Museum (designing first day covers) and was amazed at the politics that run through such institutions.

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