The Holburne Museum in Bath has announced an exciting 2018 exhibition programme, including the first museum retrospective of the painter Anthony Fry, the first ever exhibition to bring together Dutch seventeenth-century paintings from National Trust collections around the UK, and a show focused on Thomas Gainsborough’s theatrical portraits.
Anthony Fry: A Retrospective 9 February – 7 May 2018
The Holburne Museum is delighted to announce the first museum retrospective of the painter Anthony Fry (1927-2016), who enjoyed considerable commercial success in Britain and America during his lifetime, but has not previously been recognised by a major exhibition.
Including many works rarely seen in public, lent from prestigious private collections, this exhibition will reveal the considerable extent of his incredible talent. Fry was an artist who lived and worked near Bath for sixty years, but who made pictures that expressed his experience of international travel and the joy he derived from immersion in the cultures, rich colours and smells of different places around the world. His principal inspiration was his travels across Tuscany, Andalucía, India, Morocco and the Sahara Desert.
Fry had an early introduction to art through his great-aunt Marjorie Fry, sister of the art critic Roger Fry. Through her he had contact with the Bloomsbury Group, and was also cousin to the painter Howard Hodgkin. He sought a synthesis of the figurative tradition in which he had been trained and abstraction, most notably that of Mark Rothko, who he hugely admired.
Critic John Berger said “Fry’s pictures – like all good visual art – defy words. With words we cannot get nearer to them than a map can get to a landscape. We can enter them only with our eyes. Once within them, the eyes may tell the skin something. Once within, the eyes may see even with the eyelids shut.”
Prized Possessions: Dutch Masterpieces from National Trust Houses
25 May – 16 September 2018
Dutch seventeenth-century paintings by some of the finest artists of the ‘Golden Age’ from National Trust collections around the country are to go on display together for the first time ever at the Holburne Museum
Prized Possessions will include 22 works by masters such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Lely, Gabriel Metsu, Aelbert Cuyp and Cornelis de Heemalongside less well-known names such as Simon PieterszVerelst and Adriaen van Diest.
The National Trust cares for one of the largest and most significant collections of art in the UK, commissioned and collected by country house owners for over 300 years, but rarely do their works – which are displayed in houses the length and breadth of the UK – come together.
TThe this landmark exhibition will explore what made Dutch art so sought after among country house owners and how Dutch art collecting in British country houses developed over the centuries, as tastes and interests changed.
Highlights of the exhibition include Rembrandt van Rijn’s Self-Portrait, Wearing a Feathered Bonnet (Buckland Abbey), Jan Lievens’A Magus At a Table(Upton House) Gabriel Metsu’sThe Duet(Upton House).
After the Holburne Museum, Prized Possessions will travel to the Mauritshuis in The Hague (October 2018).
Gainsborough and the Theatre
5 October 2018 – 20 January 2019
Gainsborough and the TheatrecelebratesThomas Gainsborough’s close involvement with the theatrical world of London and Bath. By bringing together some of his finest portraits of his friends in the theatre, this exhibition will create a conversation between the leading actors, managers, musicians, playwrights, designers, dancers and critics of the 1760’s-80’s.
This exhibition will demonstrate how Gainsborough’s work with the likes of leading actor David Garrick in Bath launched his career there, and then later in London. It will consider how actors enabled him to explore naturalism in portraiture, just as they and their contemporaries turned to less artificial forms of performance in theatre, music and dance. Themes of celebrity and friendship will also be explored through some of the most touching likenesses by ‘the most faithful disciple of Nature that ever painted.’
Gainsborough and the Theatre will include more than 30 objects, including around 20 oil portraits by Gainsborough, works on paper (including satires, views of theatres and playbills) books and decorative arts from public and private collections across the UK.
As well as curating these three major new exhibitions, the Holburne Museum will also organise contemporary commissions and public events throughout the year, with further details to be announced.
Dr Chris Stephens, Director of the Holburne Museum, said“We look forward with great excitement to 2018. We are delighted to be working in close partnership with the National Trust on the first exhibition to bring together their Dutch masterpieces, and to be presenting shows of two significant artists with local connections and of international recognition. Bringing together great art of the past and the present, from around the world and from nearby is what the Holburne is all about.”
For more information about these and other events at the Holburne Museum follow @Holburne on Twitter, like the Holburne Museum Facebook page or visit www.holburne.org