Courtauld Institute of Art

From Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Template:Use dmy dates Template:Use list-defined references Template:Infobox University

The Courtauld Institute of Art Template:IPAc-en, commonly referred to as The Courtauld, is a self-governing college of the University of London specialising in the study of the history of art.

The art collection of the Institute is known particularly for its French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings and is housed in the Courtauld Gallery. The Institute and the Gallery are both in Somerset House, in the Strand, London.


The Institute was founded in 1932 through the philanthropic efforts of the industrialist and art collector Samuel Courtauld, the diplomat and collector Lord Lee of Fareham, and the art historian Sir Robert Witt.


Originally the Courtauld Institute was based in Home House, a Robert Adam-designed townhouse in Portman Square, London.

Since 1989, it has been based in the north wing of Somerset House. The Courtauld celebrated its 75th anniversary during the 2007-08 academic year.

The Courtauld Institute

File:Somerset House, Strand.jpg
The Strand block of Somerset House, designed by William Chambers from 1775–1780, has housed the Courtauld Institute since 1989.
The Courtauld Institute of Art is a leading centre for the study of the history and conservation of art and architecture. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate teaching to around 450 students each year. Degrees are awarded by the University of London.

The Courtauld was the only History of Art department in the UK to be awarded a top 5* grade in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise,<ref name=court2/> was ranked second nationally for History of Art in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise<ref name=guardian/> and ranked first nationally for History and History of Art in The Guardian’s 2011 University Guide.<ref name=guardian2/>

Undergraduate study

The only undergraduate course offered by the Courtauld is a BA in the History of Art. This is a full-time course designed to introduce students to all aspects of the study of western art.

Postgraduate study

Several taught courses are offered at postgraduate level: Masters degrees in the History of Art, Curating the Art Museum, the History of Buddhist Art, and the Conservation of Wall Painting are taught alongside Diploma courses in the Conservation of Easel Paintings and the History of Art.


Many students of the Courtauld have gone on to become directors of major museums, including John Hayes (National Portrait Gallery, 1974–94), Anne d'Harnoncourt (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1982–2008), Neil MacGregor (National Gallery, 1987–2002; British Museum 2002–), Sir Nicholas Serota (Tate, 1988–), Sir Mark Jones (Victoria and Albert Museum, 2001–11), Nicholas Penny (National Gallery, 2008–), Kaywin Feldman (Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2008–), Graham W.J. Beal (Detroit Institute of Arts, 1999–), David Franklin (Cleveland Museum of Art, 2010–13) and Thomas P. Campbell (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009–).

Art historians of note who have trained there include the Renaissance specialist John Shearman, Marxist art historian T. J. Clark and the feminist art historian Griselda Pollock. William J. R. Curtis, architectural historian and author of Modern Architecture Since 1900, is also a notable alumnus; as is the renowned Van Dyck scholar, Sir Oliver Millar; and Aaron Scharf photography historian and author of Art and Photography. The critics Reyner Banham, Brian Sewell, Andrew Graham-Dixon and Tim Marlow are also graduates of the Courtauld.

The artists Jeremy Deller (winner of the 2004 Turner Prize) and Jeff Wall are also alumni. Writers who have studied there include the Booker Prize-winning Anita Brookner, the novelist Iain Sinclair and the travel writers Michael Jacobs and Roger Took. The horror film star Vincent Price was an alumnus, and Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan of Jordan and Narisa Levy, of the royal family of Thailand also studied there.

Current faculty

Template:See also In April 2013 the faculty of the Institute included Deborah Swallow, David Solkin, Caroline Arscott, John Lowden, Susie Nash, Mignon Nixon, Julian Stallabrass, Sarah Wilson, Joanna Woodall, Aviva Burnstock and David Park.


The Directors of the Courtauld Institute have been:

William George Constable 1932–1936
T. S. R. Boase 1936–1947
Anthony Blunt 1947–1974
Peter Lasko 1974–1985
Michael Kauffmann 1985–1995
Eric Fernie 1995–2003
James Cuno 2003–2004
Deborah Swallow 2004–

Study resources

The Courtauld has two photographic libraries which started as the private collections of two ennobled benefactors: the Conway Library, covering architecture, architectural drawings, sculpture and illuminated manuscripts, named after Lord Martin Conway and the Witt Library, after Sir Robert Witt, covering paintings, drawings and engravings and containing over 2,000,000 reproductions of works by over 70,000 artists.<ref name=court3/> In 2009, it was decided that the Witt Library would not continue to add new material to the collection.<ref name=artlyst/> The Book Library is one of the UK's largest archives of art history books, periodicals and exhibition catalogues. There is a Slide Library which also covers films, and an IT suite.

An online image collection<ref name=artandarch/> provides access to more than 40,000 images, including paintings and drawings from the Courtauld Gallery, and over 35,000 photographs of architecture and sculpture from the Conway Library. The site was developed with the support of the New Opportunities Fund. Two other websites<ref name=images/> and<ref name=prints/> sell high resolution digital files to scholars, publishers and broadcasters, and photographic prints to a wide public audience.

The Courtauld uses a virtual learning environment to deliver course material to its students.<ref name=vle/>

Since 2004, the Courtauld has published an annual research journal, immediations, edited by current members of the research student body. Each cover of the journal has been commissioned by a leading contemporary artist.

Courtauld Gallery


The art collection of the Institute is housed in the Courtauld Gallery. The collection was begun by the founder of the Institute, Samuel Courtauld, who presented an extensive collection of mainly French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in 1932. It was enhanced by further gifts in the 1930s and a bequest in 1948, and has since received many significant donations and bequests. The Gallery contains some 530 paintings and over 26,000 drawings and prints.<ref name="Murdoch7"/>

The Courtauld Gallery is open to the public. Since 1989 it has been housed in the Strand block of Somerset House, which was the first home of the Royal Academy, founded in 1768. In April 2013 the Head of the Courtauld Gallery was Ernst Vegelin.



External links

Template:Commons category

Template:University of London Template:Navboxes Template:Coord