First Impressions

The Holburne Museum
The Holburne Museum

Bath’s Holburne Museum celebrates its 2016 centenary with an amazing artistic line-up – including figurative works by some of the artists who exhibited at the first Impressionist Exhibition in Paris in 1874.

It was a unique – ‘new-wave’ – experience for a viewing public and art critics who saw ‘modern’ works painted in a technique that looked unfinished to many of them.

 Young Woman Seated, 1876, Pierrre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), Oil on canvas, 66 x 51cm © The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham
One of the works to be displayed…
Young Woman Seated, 1876,
Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919),
Oil on canvas, 66 x 51cm
© The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham. Click on images to enlarge.

Capturing Life – which will run from 13 February through to June 5th – is one of three new exhibitions to mark 100 years since Sir William Holburne’s collection moved to its current home on Great Pulteney Street in Bath.

There will also be an exhibition featuring the animals works and fantasy pieces of George Stubbs and an exhibition featuring silver and its visual interpretation through art – from the 16th century to today.

The Museum will also be organising contemporary commissions and public events in the Grade I listed building, which was fully restored with the addition of a glass and ceramic extension by Eric Parry Architects in 2011.

Impressionism: Capturing Life, Stubbs and the Wild and Silver: Light and Shade make up the special ticketed programme in the main exhibitions space, complemented by new work from artist Djordje Ozbolt, whose incisive responses to the Collection will appear around the Museum, as well as focused shows in the Davidson and Wirth galleries.

Jennifer Scott, Director of the Holburne Museum, said: “2016 is an exciting moment in our history as a vibrant cultural hub at the centre of Bath. We are delighted to mark this with three original exhibitions of outstanding quality, curated in-house to celebrate the best of Britain’s national and regional collections.”

Here is the Exhibitions Programme in detail:

Impressionism: Capturing Life (13 February – 5 June 2016) unites 29 masterpieces from British public collections to celebrate

The Holburne Museum at the Sydney Gardens end of Great Pulteney Street.
The Holburne Museum at the Sydney Gardens end of Great Pulteney Street.

the Impressionists’ observations of humanity, curated by Director Jennifer Scott. The show centres on figurative paintings by the artists that exhibited at the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874, including Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley. Significant loans from, among others, Tate, The National Gallery, London and The Scottish National Gallery feature alongside the Holburne’s works on paper by the important but often overlooked British Impressionist Sir George Clausen, founder-member of the New English Art Club.

Stubbs and the Wild (18 June – 2 October 2016) delves into the visionary eighteenth-century world of George Stubbs through his realistic animal studies and sublime fantasy pieces. The exhibition presents the early encounters between polite Georgian society and the wild creatures and places depicted in Stubbs’ work. The uneasy relationship between the domestic and the exotic is explored through important paintings, prints and drawings by this extraordinary artist, curated by Amina Wright.

Silver: Light and Shade (22 October 2016 – 15 January 2017) tells a new story about the properties of silver, conveying its visual impact and its infinite potential for creative, design-led objects. Silver can be turned black or white, it goes red under heat; it can be combined with base and other metals, enamel or precious stones. Curated by Catrin Jones and Vanessa Brett, the exhibition will include significant loans from UK collections to reveal the aesthetic potency of silver from the sixteenth century to today.

The Holburne Museum celebrating its centenary in 2016.
The Holburne Museum celebrating its centenary in 2016.

Around the Museum

A Handful of Dust (13 February – 10 July 2016) presents the finest pastels from the Holburne’s collection, including Love Songs and Matches by John Russell and James Nelthorpe by Jean-Etienne Liotard. Because of their fragility these works on paper are rarely on display.

Linda Brothwell (18 June – 20 September 2016) this pioneer of contemporary British craft skills will create a playground of textures and colours in stone, wood and metalwork in response to the most intricate works in the Holburne’s collection.

Djordje Ozbolt (1 October 2016 – 22 January 2017) this exciting painter and sculptor will respond to the Holburne’s Old Masters with contemporary eyes and an injection of humour by selecting key areas of the collection displays to ‘invade’.