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Anyone whose appetite for painting has gone cold will find it inflamed again by “Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces From the National Galleries of Scotland,” a spectacular exhibition that opened at the de Young Museum on Saturday, March 7.

Decades ago, I began to notice how often in museum retrospectives and anthology shows the lender of particularly impressive works proved to be the Scottish National Art Collection, shorthand for the three linked Edinburgh institutions contributing to the current show: the Scottish National Gallery, Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

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Among the lesser-known idiosyncrasies of the Frick Collection is that it has never had a painting by John Singer Sargent, the in-demand Gilded Age portraitist. But Sargent’s “Lady Agnew of Lochnaw,” a supremely stylish dark-haired beauty afloat in a voluminous white satin and chiffon tea gown, looks so at home at the Frick that visitors may mistake her for a resident.

As it did last year with masterworks from the Mauritshuis, the Frick has welcomed 10 paintings from the Scottish National Gallery, in Edinburgh, home to a renowned collection of fine art from the Renaissance to the end of the 19th century. The new show, “Masterpieces From the Scottish National Gallery,” running through Feb. 1, is a quieter sort of exhibition, exemplified by the under-the-radar entrance of “Lady Agnew."

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The National Galleries of Scotland announced today, 1 May 2014, that Gareth Hoskins Architects has been appointed to oversee a major transformational project at the Scottish National Gallery over the next 4 years.

Galleries devoted to the national collection of historic Scottish art will be radically overhauled and significantly expanded whilst greatly improving visitor circulation and facilities at the Scottish National Gallery. The iconic building situated at The Mound in the centre of Edinburgh currently welcomes over a million visitors each year. The development aims to almost double the display space for Scottish art within the Scottish National Gallery designed by William Henry Playfair (1790-1857) and which opened in 1859.

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London’s Courtauld Gallery, which was founded by the English industrialist and renowned art collector, Samuel Courtauld, in 1931, boasts the most comprehensive collection of Paul Gauguin’s (1848-1903) works in the UK. The Courtauld’s Gauguin holdings include five major paintings, ten prints and one of only two marble sculptures ever created by the Post-Impressionist master.

Collecting Gaugin: Samuel Courtauld in the ‘20s presents the museum’s complete collection complemented by two works that were once in Courtauld’s private collection. Martinique Landscape and Bathers at Tahiti are on loan from the Scottish National Gallery and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts respectively.

Courtauld began collecting works by Gauguin in 1923 when he purchased Bathers at Tahiti, which he later sold, and The Haystacks, which the artist painted in France. Courtauld continued to collect Gauguin’s works until 1929 when he acquired Te Rerioa (The Dream), which resided in his London home for three years before being presented, along with most of his other Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works, as a portion of his founding gift to the Courtauld Institute.

Collecting Gaugin: Samuel Courtauld in the ‘20s will be on view at the Courtauld Gallery through September 8, 2013.

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Tuesday, 19 February 2013 17:11

UK Receives Major Donation of Baroque Paintings

A remarkable collection of Italian Baroque paintings worth $155 million has been donated to galleries and museums across the UK. The works were previously part of the private collection of Sir Denis Mahon, a philanthropist and heir to the Guinness Mahon banking fortune who died in 2011 at the age of 100. Mahon, who began collecting in the 1930s, was an avid believer that admission to public museums should be free of charge. In keeping with his wishes, Mahon’s generous gift will be revoked if any institution charges the public to see them.

The Art Fund charity, which oversaw the exchange, announced that the transfer of 57 Italian Baroque paintings has been completed. The National Gallery has received 25 works; 12 paintings went to the Ashmolean in Oxford; 8 pieces are now in the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh; 6 works went to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge; the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery received 5 paintings; and one work was given to the Temple Newsam House in Leeds. The gift included works by Guercino (1591-1666), Guido Reni (1575-1642), Domenichino (1581-1641), and Ludovico Carracci (1555-1619).

In addition to the sizable donation, Mahon left $1.5 million to the Art Fund and 50 works associated with Guercino to the Ashmolean.  

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