Masterpiece from London’s Courtauld Gallery to visit Ferens Art Gallery

Iconic painting The Card Players, by French artist Paul Cézanne will be on display at the Ferens from Saturday 2 June.

Following the Courtauld’s magnificent loan by Manet in 2017, Paul Cézanne’s iconic Card Players, 1892-6, will now visit as part of a sustained national partnership. Cézanne’s famous series of paintings of peasant card players have long been considered to be among his most powerful works and this canvas is one of the acknowledged highlights of the Courtauld’s holdings.

Having been rejected by the official Paris Salon in 1870, Cézanne exhibited at the first Impressionist group exhibition in 1874. However, his work was radically different from that of his contemporaries and found little favour with critics and collectors. Following his lack of success in Paris, Cézanne withdrew into relative obscurity at his family home near Aix-en-Provence. Here he formed a deep bond with the landscape and the local people, such as Paulin Paulet, a gardener on his estate who is depicted in the painting. The Card Players is a masterpiece of Cézanne’s and his highly original and ground-breaking approach to painting led to him being considered one of the most important artists of his time and ‘the father of modern art’.

The Cézanne loan will be accompanied by an extensive display of nineteenth and early twentieth century art drawn from the Ferens permanent collection exploring related themes of peasants and rural life. A number of rarely seen watercolours and prints are included as well as visitor favourites; Walter Langley’s ‘Memories’, 1906, and Joseph Wright Barker’s large canvas ‘Farm Horses and a Foal at a Ford’, 1915.

Councillor Dave Craker, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Tourism, said: “It has been quite a remarkable past few years for the Ferens Art Gallery. From the fabulous SKIN exhibition that featured Spencer Tunick’s Sea of Hull, to the restoration and unveiling of Pietro Lorenzetti’s Christ between Saints Paul and Peter, and of course last year’s Turner Prize, the gallery has displayed some incredible pieces of art.

“I was delighted to see that the gallery’s amazing work was recognised earlier this month when Ferens was shortlisted for the Art Fund’s prestigious Museum of the Year award, and it’s the gallery’s ability to display internationally renowned pieces like Cezanne’s The Card Players that makes it one of the UK’s most outstanding art galleries.”

Barnaby Wright, Deputy Director of the Courtauld Gallery, said: “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the Ferens Art Gallery with the loan of Cézanne’s The Card Players. Building on the success of our major loan, Manet’s De´jeuner sur l’herbe in 2017 we are happy to continue our partnership with the Gallery and providing an opportunity for the Hull community to experience and enjoy masterpieces from The Courtauld Gallery, London.”

The work will be on display from 2 June to 9 September in Gallery 8.