Exhibition | Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on November 7, 2014


Thomas Gainsborough, River Landscape with a View of a Distant Village, ca. 1748–50, oil on canvas, 30 x 60 inches (Edinburgh: Scottish National Gallery)

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Press release from Art Daily:

Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland
The Frick Collection, New York, 5 November 2014 — 1 February 2015 (10 paintings)
de Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 7 March — 31 May 2015
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, 28 June — 20 September 2015

The National Galleries of Scotland will send a selection of major works from the national collection to the United States over the next year. This touring show will raise the international profile of the Galleries and draw attention to the superb quality and range of works held within Scotland’s national collections. It is also hoped that the exhibitions will help attract interest and financial support for the proposed redevelopment of the Scottish National Gallery. The project plans to radically overhaul and significantly expand galleries devoted to the national collection of historic Scottish art whilst also greatly improving visitor circulation and facilities.


Jean-Antoine Watteau, Fêtes Vénitiennes, 1718–19, oil on canvas, 22 x 18 inches (Edinburgh: Scottish National Gallery)

In November 2014, ten masterpieces will go on display at The Frick Collection in New York. Masterpieces from the Scottish National Gallery will then travel with a further forty-five works to the de Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. The NGS has always maintained excellent relationships with partners all over the world and this tour will enable the NGS to strengthen these ties. The exhibition will include works by Raeburn, Ramsay, Constable, El Greco, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Velazquez, and Watteau. The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child by Sandro Botticelli will also be included. This work has never before been on public view in the United States.

Sir John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland commented: “At a time of intense international interest in Scotland, this tour to some of the most prestigious venues in the world will be a significant boost to the profile of the Galleries, highlighting the outstanding quality of the national collections and encouraging more visitors to discover the extraordinarily rich heritage and culture of our country.” Michael Clarke, Director of the Scottish National Gallery, said: “The excellence of our collections will achieve wider recognition through this tour. It will enable us to fly the flag for Scotland in a country whose history has been greatly enriched by Scots over the centuries.”

Ruling on the Warburg Institute

Posted in resources by Editor on November 7, 2014

Press release (6 November 2014) from Bates Wells Braithwaite and the Warburg Institute:

To the benefit and relief of scholars worldwide, the High Court has rejected the University of London’s claims that all additions to the Warburg Institute since 1944 belong to the University, and instead agreed that they form part of the Institute. Furthermore, the judge, Mrs Justice Proudman, held that the University is obliged to provide funding for the activities of the Warburg Institute.

Leticia Jennings of Bates Wells Braithwaite, who advised the Advisory Council of the Warburg Institute, commented: “This decision ensures that the wealth of important material housed within the Institute will remain available, as before, in its entirety, and that the University will not be free to in any way restrict the access of the many scholars who use and rely on the Institute’s outstanding resources.”

The Institute grew out of the private library of the art historian Aby Warburg (1866–1929), who collected books in art history, literature, intellectual history, religion and the history of science and magic. As a Jewish institution based in Germany, the Institute was forced to close, and its very existence was threatened by the Nazi-organised book-burnings of April 1933. To escape destruction, the entire library of 60,000 books, as well as photographs, papers and furniture, were shipped to the safe-haven of London in December 1933. Many of the Institute’s staff also transferred to London.

After years of negotiation involving members of the Warburg Family, the University of London, distinguished scholars and philanthropists, the University of London became trustee of the Warburg Institute, to hold it on charitable trust pursuant to the terms of a 1944 Trust Deed*. The Institute has since grown into a world class teaching and research institute, much respected and sought after by academics worldwide.

The Trust Deed obliges the University to maintain and preserve the Warburg library in perpetuity, to house it, and to keep it adequately equipped and staffed as an independent unit. Leticia Jennings stated: “The contemporaneous evidence leading up to the signing of the Trust Deed shows that the transfer to the University of London was on the condition that the University accepted these obligations. This judgment has confirmed that the University must maintain the Institute as ‘an independent unit’, and that the University is not entitled to use the name and prestige associated with the Warburg Institute to obtain funds, but to then apply those funds to the University’s general purposes.”

In recent years the University had charged a proportion of its total estate expenditure to the Warburg Institute, meaning that the once solvent Institute was left with a significant deficit as it was used, in effect, to subsidise the University’s corporate property. The judge held that the University’s conduct in this regard is not permissible and “flies in the face” of the terms of Trust Deed.


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