The Courtauld’s renovation and reopening are significant for both its collections and the city of London

London’s Courtauld will re-appear in public in a new visage. At the Royal Academy, visitors will find more Impressionism art masterpieces. They will be treated to a visual feast that demonstrates how French artists work re-play light in spaces of European architectural style.

Ernst Vegelin van Claerbergen, the director of the Royal Academy, explains that it is challenging to complete such renovative refurbishment within three years. The whole renovation consisted of three spatial floors. Therefore, the designer should treat all those masterpieces recollected and exhibited on different floors equally to show their magnificence.

The Great Room is the key component of the renovation. It’s Courtauld’s oldest exhibition space, having hosted the Royal Academy’s summer exhibitions from 1780 to 1836.

There are several important names behind this renovation event. Samuel Courtauld, a member of an old Huguenot family, has dedicated his life to amassing all those masterpieces in Courtauld Gallery together with his wife Elizabeth.

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (Photo by Catherine Chu)

In total, Courtauld collected over 600 Impressionism or post-Impressionism paintings. Those masterpieces include “Barmaid of the Folies Bergère” by Edouard Manet and “Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear” by Vincent Van Gogh. Which has been well persevered by Courtauld.


Aside from those magnificent works, visitors will have the chance to examine smaller replicas and romantic evocations of some well-known Impressionism and post-Impressionism paintings in the newly named LVMH Great Room. For instance, “Flight into Egypt” by Bruegel and “Landscape by Moonlight” by Rubens.


The renovation has been a task that’s taken both a long time to complete and costed a rather significant amount of money.  This has meant that the Blavatnik family who are famous philanthropists and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, have had to contribute money for its revival. They, alongside other individuals, and other anonymous donators amassed £21 million in donations alone.


This reopening has meant that the enthusiasts can expect it to be a location in the city where they can find enjoyment and inspiration. It provides an opportunity to reconnect with the arts and will lead to more visits which will mean higher earnings, ensuring the employment of workers.

Photo by Catherine Chu

The Courtauld Gallery has evolved in many ways, not only in terms of its Somerset House location, but also its evolution from a wonderful tiny institution to a much spacious one. It encourages more people to appreciate the fascination of Impressionism and post-Impressionism collections simultaneously.


The rebuilt Courtauld rates high among the city’s fine museums in terms of elegance, ambiance, and the sheer number of masterpieces. When the pandemic ends, it will make London a more historical and appealing city to travelers from all over the world.

Words and Video Edit by: Catherine Chu, Subbing by: Hannah Ozkadi

Photos by: Zhen Guo and Catherine Chu


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