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Major new Tate acquisition comes to Southampton City Art Gallery

September 11, 2018
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Beneath the Surface: William Stott of Oldham and British Impressionism exhibition will open 14 September 2018 – 12 January 2019 at Southampton City Art Gallery. The star of the show, William Stott of Oldham’s painting Le Passeur (The Ferryman) is considered a key moment in the breakthrough of British Art to naturalism and established Stott as one of the most progressive British artists of his day.

Secured for the British public with funds provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Art Fund (with a contribution from The Wolfson Foundation) and The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation, this painting will be displayed in Southampton City Art Gallery as part of a UK wide tour in partnership with Tate.

This exhibition will show Stott in the company of those who, like him, contributed to the development of British Naturalism and Impressionism and will also include examples of French Impressionism, drawn from Southampton’s permanent collection, to place British art of the 1880s and 1890s more broadly in a dialogue with French painting of that time. Shown alongside Le Passeur will be work by some of Stott’s contemporaries who were influenced by the move in painting toward rural Naturalism, illustrating what connects Stott to them at this moment in his career and what distinguishes his singular vision.

This exhibition has been guest curated by Professor Sam Smiles and will include significant additional loans from Russell-Cotes, Southwark Art Collection, Tate, Towner Art Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum.

Southampton City Art Gallery is the second of four UK-partner galleries to display Le Passeur, thanks to funding from National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the John Ellerman Foundation and Art Fund. The work will also be exhibited at Gallery Oldham and Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture said:

‘Having such exceptional work of early British Impressionism on loan from Tate alongside art drawn from our city’s own permanent collection, has resulted in another amazing exhibition for Southampton and Southampton City Art Gallery. It helps cement us as an international destination for arts and culture, and I hope local residents and visitors alike take the opportunity to make the most of it.’

Lead Exhibitions Officer Dan Matthews, Southampton City Art Gallery said:

‘The generous loan of this key work from Tate has given us the opportunity to borrow paintings by a number of artists not represented within our collection such as George Clausen, Bertha Newcombe and Henry Herbert Le Thangue. We hope this display will enable our audience to learn more about this important era of British Art.’

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