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Walker – A Collector’s Eye: Cranach to Pissarro. February 2011

Rubens: Battle of the Amazons C 2010 David Lewis and family interests
Rubens: Battle of the Amazons C 2010 David Lewis and family interests

An interesting exhibition coming to Liverpool Walker Art Gallery in Spring 2011.

A Collector’s Eye: Cranach to Pissarro. 18 February – 15 May 2011
A unique exhibition of paintings from a stunning private collection.
Five centuries of art and 64 works ranging from tender 15th-century devotional images to 19th-century French Impressionist landscapes. Old Master artists Rubens, El Greco, Delacroix and Cranach are included alongside Impressionists such as Pissarro and Sisley.

A Collector’s Eye: Cranach to Pissarro features works from the Schorr Collection assembled by private collector David J. Lewis for his family interests. This privately held collection has been built up over the last 35 years and now numbers over 400 paintings. While numerous individual pieces have been loaned to many public institutions in the UK and abroad, this is the first time such a large part of the collection has been shown in a single exhibition.

The Walker Art Gallery built its world-class collections on the generosity of benefactors and 19th-century philanthropists. Carrying on this tradition David Lewis is keen to exhibit part of his family’s collection at the Walker, including works already there on long term loan, and share these masterpieces with the public.

Pissaro: Pommiers dans une prairie C 2010 David Lewis and family interests
Pissaro: Pommiers dans une prairie C 2010 David Lewis and family interests

David Lewis says ”The public need and deserve an opportunity to see and experience objects of art from all ages, collected objectively to educate, to inform, and create the basis for public enjoyment and enlightenment irrespective of economic considerations. Over the years a high proportion of the collection has been loaned to institutions, normally on a long term basis. We have sought to satisfy our own intellectual curiosity, but also to have the satisfaction of assisting many public bodies to fill gaps, or complement existing holdings, for public benefit.”

As well as being an exhibition of great breadth and depth of style and time periods, it is also a story of how a collection grows and develops, and how the taste of the collector changes and diversifies.

Lewis began to build up this collection in the early 1970s when he bought Impressionist works for his family interests. By the 1980s however he was developing a more diverse collector’s eye and had in the collection many gems, including Guido Reni’s St. Mark, Salvator Rosa’s A Philosopher and El Greco’s St. John the Evangelist, all on display in this exhibition. The collection has continued to expand and outstanding acquisitions include Battle of the Amazons by Rubens, Pommiers dans une prairie by Pissarro and Port-Marly sous la neige by Sisley.

When collecting Lewis explains that there are certain responses he must feel on viewing the painting: intellectual, emotional and aesthetic. He uses a musical analogy to describe his selection: “One may find a piece of music difficult to the ear, but fascinating in its place in musical history or development, and of inexplicable emotional impact. Or it may be delightful to the ear, but of little emotional impact or historical interest.”

Reyahn King, director of art galleries at National Museums Liverpool says “This fantastic exhibition pays tribute to the visual and intellectual curiosity of a collector whose acquisitions now form one of the largest collections of Old Master paintings amassed in England since World War II. While individual paintings have been widely lent to institutions, this exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery is the first show dedicated to the Schorr Collection, and we are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Lewis family interests.”

This exhibition has been made possible with the assistance of the Government Indemnity Scheme which is provided by DCMS and administered by MLA.

Full list of works:
15th & 16Th century paintings

Catalan School, Predella Panel with saints
Allori, Portrait of Francesco de’Medici (1541 – 87)
Benson Workshop, The Magdelen reading
Beuckelaer, Kitchen Scene with Martha & Mary
Cranach, Lamentation over dead Christ
El Greco & studio, The Coronation of the Virgin
El Greco, St John the Evangelist
Floris, Holy Family
Hemessen, Christ as the Man of Sorrows
Isenbrandt, The Magdelen reading
van Kempenaer, Augustus & the Tiburtine Sibyl
Master of the Prodigal Son, Virgin & Child
Mor, portrait of a man aged 28
Morales, Mocking of Christ
Mostaert, The Education of Cain & Abel by Adam & Eve
North Italian School, Portrait of a Woman
Passarroti, A man with a letter
Reymerswaele & studio, St Jerome in his study
Rubens, Battle of the Amazons
Sebastiano del Piombo, Portrait of Giulio de’Medici, Pope Clement VII
Sellaer, The Holy Kinship

17th century paintings
Bol, Portrait of a Lady
Bourdon, Joseph sold by his brethren
Attributed to Bourdon, Portrait of a man holding a portrait
Attributed to Vicente Carducho, Portrait of an unknown man with skull & book
Antonio Carraci, Bacchus & Silenus
Champaigne, Self-portrait
Champaigne, Moses & the Tablets of the Law
de Troy, Portrait of Father Jean de Gravier
de Witte, Interior of a Protestant Gothic Church
Dughet, Wooded landscape with Apollo & Daphne
Giordano, The Philosopher Astrologus
Jordaens, Holy Family with St Anne & Angel
Lely, Portrait of a Lady
Mignard, Self-portrait
Mignard, Portraits of John II Casimir, ex King of Poland
Mignard, Portrait of Francoise Mignot, his wife
John Moreelse, Democritus & Heraclitus
Reni, The Evangelist St Mark
Attributed to Ribera, The Greek Philospher Bias of Priene
Rosa, A Philosopher
Rosa, Rocky coastal landscape with fishermen hauling nets
Rubens, Allegory of the River God Maranon
Attributed to Rubens, Assumption of the Virgin
Spada, Pilate washing his hands
Steen, Peasants in an interior (Tavern Scene)
Baburen, Christ & the Moneylenders
Vouet, St Lucy
Vouet, Virgin and Child
Yepes, Cats fighting beneath blue and white vase of flowers
Yepes, Flower-piece with monkey, turkey and fountain

18th century paintings
Desportes, Cat attacking game bird
Gérard, Portrait of Comtesse Morel-Vindé & daughter
Mengs, Study for portrait of Father John Gahagan
Oudry, Cat and Monkey (from La Fontaine)

19th century paintings
Delacroix, Portrait of King Philip IV of Spain, after Velázquez
Doré, Scottish Landscape
Granet, Interior of a Capuchin Monastery, Rome
Ingres, Idealised portrait of Benoit-Joseph Labre, called Saint Labre
Vinchon, Portrait of Madame Ary Scheffer

Impressionist paintings
Boudin, Le chemin de la Corderie à Trouville
Pissaro, Pommiers dans une prairie
Sisley, Autour de la forêt, matinée de juillet
Sisley, Port-Marly sous la neige