Barbara Hepworth, Spring

Barbara Hepworth: Spring, 1966. Private Collection One of the most significant moments of the autumn term was the launch of the display in the Courtauld Institute Gallery of more than one hundred important twentieth-century works of art on loan from private collections. Entitled Into the Twentieth Century, the new installation, which involved the assistance of both Chris Green and John House, features magnificent paintings, sculpture and works on paper ranging in date from the 1890s to the 1960s. In including pieces by Matisse, Derain, Dufy and Vlaminck, the new works expand on the already distinguished collection of nineteenth-century French art. In addition, the display embraces a rich selection of art produced in Germany — from Pechstein, Münter and Jawlensky through to examples drawn from Kandinsky’s extensive oeuvre. The presence of this unique set of works on our doorstep has enhanced teaching and course planning, in addition to offering the opportunity to devise interesting public programmes. In December, I delivered a Meet a Painting talk for the Friends, which was devoted to the theme 'Kandinsky at the Courtauld’.

In encompassing the field of contemporary art, the definition of the modern period is constantly in process. The Courtauld is fortunate in having three specialists — Sarah Wilson, Mignon Nixon and Julian Stallabrass, who concentrate respectively on contemporary French, American and British Art. At both undergraduate and postgraduate level, the demand for courses in this area has increased and a strong indication of the success of the teaching can be gained from the fact that Caroline Arscott, our specialist in nineteenth-century British Art, organized an exciting programme of Graduate Research Seminars this year focusing on issues arising out of current artistic theory and practice. Moreover, during the spring term, Sarah Wilson was responsible for arranging a series of Friends Public Lectures devoted to the themes of performance art and exhibitions of contemporary art. The director of the Tate Liverpool, Christoph Grunenberg, a former graduate of the Courtauld, gave us much insight into the historical origins of his curatorial interests that lead to the recent exhibition Shopping. Talks by practitioners Stuart Brisley and Daniel Buren provided a frisson to the atmosphere of the lectures in the Kenneth Clark Theatre. It is evident that the modern section is in a threshold position not merely due to an expansion of its teaching staff and student interest, but also in light of its unique orientation towards a future — the production of living artists.

Dr Shulamith BehrHead of the Modern Section