ARCHIVE: 75th anniversary
Did you Know
- When The Courtauld Institute of Art opened in 1932, tuition
fees were set at £35 per year.
- Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with
Bandaged Ear was bought by Samuel Courtauld
in 1928 for £10,000. Seventy years later, another
of van Gogh’s paintings, Self-portrait without
Beard, was sold in New York for $71m.
- Hugh Grant gave up his place to study at The Courtauld
when offered his first film role.
- Viscount Lee of Fareham, one of the three founders of The
Courtauld Institute of Art, donated his country-residence Chequers to
the nation in 1917 for the use of the Prime Minister.
- The term ‘Post-Impressionism’ was
invented by Roger Fry, artist and critic who was an early
supporter of The Courtauld and bequeathed his collection
to the Institute.
- Samuel Courtauld’s most expensive acquisitions were
Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère and
Renoir’s La Loge; he paid £22,600
(plus commission) for each, in 1926 and 1925 respectively.
- Celebrated art historian and broadcaster Sir Kenneth Clark was
a great supporter of The Courtauld, giving lectures and joining the
management committee. The Courtauld lecture theatre now bears his
- In addition to the world-famous collection of over 500 paintings
on display in its gallery, The Courtauld cares for over 6,000 drawings
and 20,000 prints.
- The Courtauld Gallery’s home at Somerset House was used by
the Royal Academy from 1780-1836.
- The Courtauld’s former director Anthony Blunt was played by James Fox in A Question of Attribution - an Alan Bennet play about Blunt’s years working as a Soviet spy.
- The Second World War drastically reduced
the Institute’s activities – in 1941-42 its student
body was made up of three people.
- The painting Nevermore by Paul Gauguin was first owned by English composer Frederick Delius. He bought it for 500 francs.
- Edouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, the
most iconic painting in The Courtauld Gallery, is thought
to have been the first work of art ever transported
by aeroplane to an exhibition (in 1932)
- The Courtauld appears in numerous works of fiction. Most recently, the lead character in Michael Frayn's Headlong,shortlisted for the 1999 Booker prize,spends hours in The Courtauld’s Witt library researching a mysterious panel painting attributed to Pieter Bruegel the Elder