Works by Cezanne and Kandinsky among multimillion-pound gift to The Courtauld

Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

The Courtauld art gallery has been gifted works by Paul Cezanne, Wassily Kandinsky and Cy Twombly in a multimillion-pound contribution which will transform its collection.

The 25 drawings, assembled by late collector Howard Karshan, have been offered by his wife, the artist Linda Karshan, and mark one of the most significant gifts of art to The Courtauld in a generation, the gallery has said.

Howard Karshan in 2014
Howard Karshan in 2014 (Daniel Blau)

They include watercolours by Cezanne and finger drawings in ink by Louis Soutter, as well as abstract compositions by Henri Michaux whilst experimenting with Mescalin.

The gift, which also includes works by Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Otto Dix, Jean Dubuffet, Sam Francis, Alberto Giacometti, Philip Guston, Paul Klee, Willem de Kooning, Gerhard Richter and Wayne Thiebaud, will join the gallery’s current collection of 7,000 drawings.

Wassily Kandinsky's Untitled 1916
Wassily Kandinsky’s Untitled 1916 (Courtauld)

Aside from Cezanne, none of the artists included in the gift have previously been represented in the collection.

Linda Karshan said: “Howard was as passionate about studying his drawings as he was about collecting them.

“He carefully positioned them on the walls around him, so as to be able to have his favourites within sight.

Howard Karshan's widow Linda Karshan
Howard Karshan’s widow Linda Karshan (Candida Richardson)

“These are the drawings that make up the Karshan Gift.

“At The Courtauld, they will find their natural home, where they can be in the public eye while being studied for generations to come, echoing the role these drawings played within our family for over 50 years.”

The works will be exhibited at The Courtauld Gallery, located inside London’s Somerset House, when it reopens in late 2021 following a major restoration project.

Professor Deborah Swallow, director of The Courtauld, said: “Howard and Linda Karshan have been close friends of The Courtauld for many years.

Sam Francis's Red, Black & Blue; Composition, 1958
Sam Francis’s Red, Black & Blue; Composition, 1958 (Courtauld)

“We are deeply honoured that Linda has chosen to give this outstanding group of drawings to us in memory of Howard, who assembled such a remarkable collection of modern works on paper with her over many years.

“Gifts and bequests from major collectors have always been fundamental to the growth of our collections and these works from the Howard Karshan Collection will truly transform our holdings.

Paul Cezanne's Still Life, Wash Basin and Jug circa 1885-1890
Paul Cezanne’s Still Life, Wash Basin and Jug circa 1885-1890 (Courtauld)

“Howard and Linda, herself a distinguished artist, always cherished the particular role The Courtauld undertakes as a public gallery and as a centre of education.

“We are hugely excited by the prospect of making these drawings a vital part of our collection and activities to inspire future visitors, scholars and students alike.”

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