Record-breaking crowds set to see Édouard Manet’s masterpiece at Norwich Castle
- Credit: Archant
A painting from one of the world's greatest artists is to feature as the centrepiece for a stunning new exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum in January, it has been announced.
Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus, by French great Édouard Manet, will form the centrepiece of Homage to Manet which also feature works by Claude Monet, John Singer Sargent, Gwen John and a host of other artists.
The 1868 French painting was bought for the nation in 2012 when the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford raised £7.83 million to save it being sold to a foreign buyer for £28.35 million.
Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery has successfully negotiated a loan of the masterpiece and its experts have spent three years preparing the 'thrilling' exhibition around it.
The museum, which has notched up two record-breaking exhibitions this year with Roman Empire: Power & People, followed by the even more successful The Wonder of Birds, is hoping Homage to Manet will smash the attendance record for the third time in a row.
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The event will also further cement the region's place on the cultural map. Last year, saw another major event held at Houghton Hall, where more than 70 artworks, including works by Van Dyck and Rembrandt, were exhibited.
The unique exhibition, which runs from January 31 to April 19 next year, will also explore the influence of the Impressionist movement on British artists, and especially how Manet influenced the way women were depicted.
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It will also look at how the French artist paved the way for professional female artists of the 20th century.
Focusing on the period from 1860 to 1914, it will feature around 60 works, including oils, prints and drawings on loan from national collections such as the Tate, the British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, as well as regional and private collections. They will include Claude Monet's Woman Seated on a Bench (c1874), which has been loaned by the Tate.
The thought-provoking and visually-stunning exhibition will cement the Castle's reputation as one of Britain's greatest regional museums. Dr John Davies, Chief Curator, said: 'The staff at Norfolk Museums are thrilled to be working towards another outstanding exhibition for the start of the New Year 2015.
'This is indeed a coup for us to have secured the loan of Manet's beautiful and important painting of Mlle Claus for the people of Norfolk. We are hugely grateful to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford for their support in this project.
'This has been a truly memorable year for Norwich Castle, which has had a sequence of major exhibitions. We are sure that we will attract audiences from well beyond the region, as we achieved with the previous exhibitions this year.'
The exhibition will be accompanied by a busy programme of events. Its principal sponsors are Birketts Solicitors, and it will also be supported by the EDP and the East Anglia Art Fund. Weekend magazine will be running a series of exclusive features inspired by the exhibition throughout its run.
Museum's fabulous run of success
Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery has scored two massive successes with its last two major exhibitions – and hopes are high that Homage to Manet will make it a hat-trick.
Last spring, it hosted the Roman Empire: Power & People exhibition, which brought the largest-ever UK exhibition of Roman artefacts on loan from the British Museum, together with hundreds of exhibits found in Norfolk.
The museum was one six regional museums hosting the exhibition – but its next blockbuster, summer's The Wonder of Birds, was unique to Norfolk. More than 65,000 people flocked to see it – beating the attendance for the Roman display (which was itself a record) and making it the most popular exhibition ever held at the castle.
The exhibition looked at the cultural impact of birds on our lives and featured exhibits from the arts, natural history, archaeology, fashion and social history.
Now experts at the castle are hoping that its unique Homage to Manet exhibition will prove even more popular, and round off a stunning 12 months for the museum.