Part of the allure of art museums and galleries is their mission to give the public access to cultural heritage and the beautiful creative products that come from bygone eras and individuals. However, there remains an entire world of private collecting, which – together – could easily rival any public institution. A unique opportunity to see works from the private collections of many distinguished figures is almost here. Where?
Paintings and watercolors from the private collections of many of the art world’s most distinguished individuals will soon grace the walls of Watts Gallery in Guildford, United Kingdom. However, the exhibition will bring particular focus to Victorian and early 20th century artworks which have rarely – if at all – be exhibited to the public.
“Untold Stories: British Art from Private Collections” opens on November 22 and includes a number of stunning works by greats such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Singer Sargent, Edward Burne-Jones, J.W. Waterhouse, and William Holman Hunt. Among representations by these seminal figures are works by lesser-known artists among the public, including Frederic Sandys and Thomas Cooper Gotch.
Via the gallery, “The stories that connect the artworks to their owners will be told in the exhibition. The collectors explain what attracted them to the works, and how their understanding and appreciation of their pictures has grown as they have lived with them.
“A magnificent Art Deco portrait by Alan Beeton, for example, was ‘bought on a whim’ because its owner simply admired the beauty of the model. He subsequently discovered that the sitter was Marguerite Kelsey, a celebrated artists’ model of the 1920s and 30s, and soon afterwards an opportunity arose for the collector to meet the subject of his cherished painting. A firm friendship followed.
“The ability of artworks to connect people emerges as a central reason to collect. Walter Crane’s exquisite landscape with the huntress Diana is a beautiful artwork in its own right. But its owner cherishes it all the more because it previously belonged to three well-known collectors and dealers who pioneered the rediscovery of Victorian art during the 20th century.”
“Untold Stories: British Art from Private Collections” remains on view through February 19. To learn more, visit Watts Galley.
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