Version of Manet masterpiece heading to Hull
A version of Edouard Manet’s once controversial painting ‘Le Dejeuner sur l’Herbe’ or ‘Naked Lunch’ is set to make its way to the city of Hull next year.
The painting, which depicts a relaxed and confidently naked woman sitting among some well-dressed men, was deemed by 19th-century France to be so shocking that it was rejected by the Paris Salon and shown instead in the famous Salon des Refusés in 1863.
Despite its controversy, a number of the details surrounding the painting are still unknown, including when work on the painting actually begun, where the idea came from, and what sort of preparation needed to be carried out.
Now the piece is on its way to Humberside, where it will go on display in the Ferens gallery during Hull’s reign as the UK’s city of culture.
It is one of several masterpieces to have been loaned to the UK by the Courtauld Institute of Art and is part of a project that will also see the redevelopment of the gallery and art institute’s own building in central London.
The Courtauld was founded in London in 1932 in a bid to use its extensive art collection to teach art history, which was originally housed in the Portman Square townhouse of its patron, the textile millionaire Samuel Courtauld. The organisation then moved to Somerset House on the Strand in 1989.
The Courtauld’s donors have already pledge £9 million for the first phase of the latest reconstruction project, which comes on top of the £9.4 million grant announced by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The phased project will include restoration work on the museum’s existing galleries, it will also fund new spaces capable of hosting 20th-century art and temporary exhibitions, as well as a new education centre.
Storage spaces will also be improved, while an online archive will make as many as 1.1 million images from its photographic collection available to the public.
While it is the people of Hull that will benefit from the latest partnership to be held by the Courtauld, links are also expected to be established in Norwich, Preston, and Belfast.
What’s more, a pilot project has also been launched with Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, which has borrowed an important group of works by Edgar Degas, while Claude Monet’s Vase of Flowers is due to travel to the Harris Museum in Preston.