Britain’s love affair with one of history’s greatest artists, the multi-faceted career of the German Expressionist Emil Nolde and the extraordinary ambition of Jenny Saville’s monumental paintings will be among the subjects explored in the National Galleries of Scotland’s programme of major exhibitions for 2018, it was announced today. Other highlights will celebrate Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s mastery of the lithographic poster and the powerful, beautiful portraits of Scottish artist Victoria Crowe.
Rembrandt: Britain’s Discovery of the Master will be the major summer Festival exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery next year. This exclusive new show, which will only be seen in Edinburgh, will reveal how the taste for Rembrandt’s work in Britain evolved over the past 400 years. From around 1630 it grew into a mania that gripped collectors and art lovers across the country, reaching a fever pitch in the late-eighteenth century. The exhibition will also reveal the profound impact of Rembrandt’s art on the British imagination, by exploring the wide range of native artists whose work has been inspired by the Dutch master right up to the present day.
The exhibition will bring together key works by Rembrandt which remain in British collections, including Belshazzar’s Feast (c.1635) from the National Gallery London, and Girl at a Window (1645) from Dulwich Picture Gallery, as well as star paintings now overseas, such as The Mill (1645/8) from the National Gallery in Washington, which left Britain when it was sold to a US collector for the staggering sum of £100,000 in 1911. Rembrandt is renowned for the penetrating realism of his self-portraits and there will be some particularly fine examples in this show, including the extraordinary Self-Portrait, aged 51 (on long-term loan to the SNG) and Portrait of the Artist as Young Man (c.1629-31) from the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, which was the first painting by the artist to leave Holland and the first to enter a British collection, when it was presented to Charles I in the early 1630s.
The large-scale summer exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (SNGMA) in 2018 will be a major survey of the career of the celebrated German Expressionist artist, Emil Nolde (1867-1956). Nolde was one of the greatest colourists of the twentieth century, an artist passionate about his north German home near the Danish border – with its immense skies, flat, windswept landscapes and storm-tossed seas – but equally fascinated by the demi-monde of Berlin’s cafés and cabarets, the busy to and fro of tugboats in the port of Hamburg and the myriad peoples and places he saw on his trip to the South Seas in 1914. Nolde felt strongly about what he painted, identifying with his subjects in every brushstroke he made, heightening his colours and simplifying his shapes, so that viewers could also experience his emotional response to the world about him. Emil Nolde: Colour is Life, will comprise about 120 paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints, drawn from the incomparable collection of the Emil Nolde Foundation in Seebüll (the artist’s former home in north Germany), and will cover Nolde’s complete career, from his early atmospheric paintings of his homeland right through to the intensely coloured, so-called ‘unpainted pictures’ – works done on small pieces of paper during the Third Reich, when Nolde was branded a ‘degenerate’ artist and forbidden to work as a professional artist. The works on show will also include Nolde’s justly famous flower and garden paintings, and his extraordinary religious paintings, with their strange mixture of spirituality and eroticism.
Pin-ups: Toulouse Lautrec and the Art of Celebrity will be the first exhibition held at the NGS devoted to the art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), the celebrated French Post-Impressionist artist whose work is synonymous with the bohemian nightlife of Paris in the late-19th Century. The ‘city of pleasure’ was famed for its cabarets, dance halls and cafés; most famous of all were the nightspots of the district of Montmartre, where Toulouse-Lautrec lived, worked and socialised, including the now legendary café-cabarets Le Moulin Rouge and Le Chat Noir. Pin-ups: Toulouse Lautrec and the Art of Celebrity will focus on the artist’s lithographic posters, portfolio prints and illustrations which made stars of Montmartre’s venues and their entertainers – personalities such as Yvette Guilbert, Jane Avril and Aristide Bruant. Toulouse-Lautrec’s career coincided with a revolutionary moment in the history of western printmaking – the development of the poster as a means of mass-marketing – and lithography and poster-making were central to his creative process from his first experiments in the medium in 1891 until his death in 1901. Around 75 works by Toulouse-Lautrec and his contemporaries will be on show, including prints by Pierre Bonnard, Théophile Alexandre Steinlen and Jules Chéret. British artists were equally attracted to the dynamic café culture of Montmartre and the exhibition will also showcase works by artists such as Walter Sickert, Arthur Melville, J D Fergusson and William Nicholson, among others. There will be key loans from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Ashmolean Museum and Aberdeen Art Gallery.
Top Image: Pictured: Landscape with the Rest on the Flight into Egypt, 1647 by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-69). Collection: National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, purchased 1883.