The Courtauld Gallery opens new Drawings Gallery with display of drawings
unseen in over 20 years: Unseen

The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery
15 January – 29 March 2015

  • The Courtauld Gallery announces a new gallery space to showcase its worldclass collection of over 7,000 drawings
  • Witherford Watson Mann, winners of the 2013 Stirling Prize for Architecture, lead the design of the project
  • Development made possible by a major gift from US philanthropists Gilbert and Ildiko Butler
  • The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery will open on 15 January 2015 with Unseen, a striking selection of works unseen at The Courtauld in over 20 years
  • For further details and imagery please contact

The Courtauld Gallery is pleased to announce the inauguration of its new space, the Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery, in January 2015. Designed by Witherford Watson Mann Architects, winners of the 2013 Stirling Prize, the new Drawings Gallery will be The Courtauld's first dedicated space for the display of drawings. Numbering some 7,000 works and featuring artists such as Dürer, Michelangelo and Rembrandt, The Courtauld’s collection of drawings is one of the most important in the United Kingdom. The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery provides a dedicated space at the heart of the Gallery to transform public awareness and enjoyment of this collection.

Entitled Unseen (15 January – 29 March 2015), the opening display will draw attention to the range and depth of the collection by focusing on works which have not been exhibited at The Courtauld in the last 20 years, often by fascinating lesserknown artists. The selection of some 20 works ranges across the centuries from Two men in conversation, a striking 15th century Renaissance drawing from the school of Francesco Squarcione, to Africa, a work from 1962 by Larry Rivers, the god father of Pop Art.

Highlights of the display include Rubens’s richly sensuous Female nude and Fuseli’s brilliantly uncanny watercolour showing a woman seen from behind, as if floating. The selection includes a variety of types of drawings, from a marvelous sheet of studies of female heads by Michel Corneille II, painter to the French king Louis XIV, to Jacopo Ligozzi’s Annunciation, which is highlighted in gold. Antoine Caron’s drawing of a Carousel of British and Irish knights, shows chivalric entertainment at
the French court in the sixteenth century. Examples of early caricature are displayed in Pier Francesco Mola’s humorous Study of three ecclesiastics, while the importance of amateur draughtsmen is demonstrated in Valentin Klotz’s accomplished View of the city of Grave after a siege, 1675. Study of a blind man, dated 1760, is a rare surviving drawing by the American-born portrait painter John
Greenwood. Further surprises include The Chalk Writer of around 1788, an ambitious pastel by John Russell; Festival night, Venice, an evocative watercolour by the American Post-Impressionist Maurice Prendergast, and a fine example of a socalled‘shelter drawing’ by the great sculptor Henry Moore showing Londoners in an Underground tunnel during the bombing of the city in World War II.

The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery will host a dynamic annual programme of displays. Further projects planned for 2015 will focus on Renaissance drawings as well as the remarkable drawn self-portraits of Jonathan Richardson the Elder. In addition to showcasing the collection, the programme will serve as a platform for research and experimentation, encouraging the development of new approaches in the study of drawings. It will also enable the Gallery to further extend
its collaboration with national and international partners.

This ambitious building project has been made possible by a generous gift of $750,000 US dollars from the American philanthropist Gilbert Butler and his wife Ildiko, in whose honour the space will be named. They have been joined in funding the new Gallery by an international group of collectors and drawings enthusiasts.

Dr. Ernst Vegelin van Claerbergen, Head of The Courtauld Gallery commented:
“The new gallery promises to be a revelation in every respect. It will not only add an important extra dimension to visitors’ experience of The Courtauld, but it will also give us a new platform to showcase our great drawings collection in a dynamic and creative way. We are enormously grateful to Gilbert Butler and our other generous supporters for giving London this important new space for drawings.”

Stephen Witherford, Director of Witherford Watson Mann commented:
“This is a really challenging project for us, to provide a setting for the Courtauld’s outstanding collection of drawings, just off William Chambers’ historic Royal Academy stair. To connect the room into the public circuit and to make it a calm background for the works demands doing many small things well.”

The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery has been made possible by a major grant from Gilbert and Ildiko Butler

Further generous support has been received from:
• International Partners Charity Fund, in memory of Melvin R. Seiden
• The International Music and Art Foundation
• Lowell Libson
• Diane Nixon
• Niall Hobhouse
• Andrea Woodner
• Elke and Michael von Brentano
• Tavolozza Foundation – Katrin Bellinger
• The Samuel Courtauld Trust

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The Courtauld Gallery:
Kallaway PR
Fiona Russell
+44 20 7221 7883

Witherford Watson Mann
Caro Communications
Kat Hayes
+44 (0)20 7713 9388

About The Courtauld Gallery (
The Courtauld Gallery is one of London’s must-see art museums. Its collection stretches from the early Renaissance to the 20th century and beyond. It is displayed in the elegant setting of Somerset House, one of the city’s most dynamic cultural venues. The Courtauld Gallery is renowned for its unrivalled Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, including masterpieces by Monet, Van Gogh and Gauguin and the largest collection of Cézannes in the UK. It houses a major collection of Old Master paintings and is one of the few museums in the country to display such a rich selection of early twentieth-century art. The Gallery also holds an outstanding collection of drawings and prints and fine works of sculpture and decorative arts.

The Courtauld Gallery regularly presents major exhibitions and special displays which are consistently acclaimed for their outstanding quality and originality.

The Gallery is at the heart of The Courtauld Institute of Art, one of the world’s leading centres for the study of art history and conservation. It plays an important role in the capital's cultural life and is part of London's Museum Mile.

“One of the world's great collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art”
- The Guardian

About Witherford Watson Mann
Witherford Watson Mann Architects was established in 2001, combining the significant experience of its three directors in cultural buildings, public spaces and urban design. From their initial collaborations in 1997 they have consistently demonstrated a high level of design ability, winning three European housing competitions in 1999, 2001 and 2006. They were winners of the 2013 RIBA Stirling Architecture and included in the AJ/Corus '40 under 40' selection. The work of the practice has been exhibited throughout Europe, at the Sao Paulo International Biennale, the Center for Architecture in New York and at the 2008 Biennale di Venezia, British Pavilion.

They completed the £5.75 million Amnesty International UK headquarters (Hackney Design Award winner), of their first built project, in 2005 and the £5.7 million Whitechapel Art Gallery extension opened to the public in April 2009.

Since establishing the practice they have worked with a diverse range of ambitious clients, which include Tate Modern, Argent, Arts Council England, the British Council, the London Development Agency, English Partnerships, Whitechapel Art Gallery and Hyde Housing.

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