“Surrealism Returns” at Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum

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Saturday 27th September – Sunday 23rd November 2008  – Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum
Significant Surrealist works of art return to Gloucestershire at Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum to celebrate a momentous chapter in the history of Surrealism. Drawn from collections all over Britain, visitors can enjoy seeing pictures and sculptures by key artists of the movement including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Roland Penrose, Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Man Ray, Edward Burra and Yves Tanguy.

Surrealism Returns is inspired by an exhibition of 70 years ago, Realism and Surrealism: Several Phases in Contemporary Art, which was shown at the Guildhall, Gloucester in 1938 and rediscovered by the art historian, Dr Lee Beard, formerly of the Courtauld Institute of Art, with whom Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum is co-curating Surrealism Returns.Original archival material complements the artworks and contributes to showing the impact of Surrealism in terms of subversive art and political drive and reveals how the 1938 exhibition was a collaboration between London-based galleries, dealers and collectors, such as Roland Penrose, and a local Exhibition Committee including Sir William Rothenstein, artist and ex-Principal of the Royal College of Art, and Cheltenham-raised art collector Hugh Willoughby.

Recent research reveals that by 1938, Willoughby had built up a significant collection of Picassos, which had been exhibited at Tate and Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum three times between 1934 and 1937. They included Picasso’s Weeping Woman drawing of 1937, now at Tate, from where it is being loaned for Surrealism Returns. Also returning for this show are Joan Miró’s The Head of a Catalan Peasant, Roland Penrose’s The Last Voyage of Captain Cook (both loaned by Tate), Man Ray’s Torso and Belle Main and three works by Henry Moore.

A full education and event programme supports this exhibition and an accompanying catalogue, with essays by art historians and including new research, has been written by co-curator Dr Lee Beard. 

Surrealism Returns and its accompanying programme of talks and education work are supported and sponsored by: The Friends of Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum; The Henry Moore Foundation; AXA Art Insurance and Stuart Alexander; The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art; The Elephant Trust; Simon Chorley Art & Antiques, Constantine Ltd.

Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum
Clarence Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 3JT
Telephone 01242 237431

The Art Gallery & Museum is open daily – 10.00 – 17.00 April to October, 10.00 – 16.00 November to March
Admission is free.

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