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The National Gallery ‘Old Master’ is centrepiece for new exhibition in Pembrokeshire

28 May 2022 3 minute read
Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study by Edgar Degas, National Gallery

The gallery in Haverfordwest is hosting an ambitious new exhibition which is a collaboration between the National Gallery and the National Library of Wales.

The exhibition which recently opened at the Riverside Library, Gallery and Visitor Information Centre is part of the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour which aims to promote the understanding, knowledge, and appreciation of Old Master paintings to as wide an audience as possible.

Forming the centrepiece of the exhibition is Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study by Edgar Degas, which will be accompanied by portraits from the National Welsh Portrait Collection at The National Library of Wales.

The portrait depicts Hélène Rouart standing in her father’s study, her hands resting on the back of his empty chair. Hélène was the daughter of the engineer and amateur artist Henri Rouart, a friend of Degas and the portrait shows her aged 23.

Organisers say the exhibition aims to consider the ‘male gaze’ and ‘female gaze’ theories and the female form in art, with Degas’ painting placed alongside work by female and male Welsh artists such as Seren Morgan Jones, Claudia Williams, Sir Kyffin Williams and John Selway.

The National Gallery Masterpiece Tour: Trem | Gaze exhibition, which is sponsored by Christies, was officially opened by Ashok Ahir, President of The National Library of Wales and Jane Knowles, Head of Exhibitions at The National Gallery

A talk by Laura Llewellyn, Associate Curator at the National Gallery gave the audience a vivid and intriguing history of the painting, the subject of the portrait and the artist himself, and an accompanying video about the painting will be available to view at the gallery soon.

Regional partnerships

Pedr ap Llwyd, Chief Executive and Librarian at the National Library of Wales said: “It has been wonderful to be able to work with Pembrokeshire County Council and the National Gallery to bring the ‘Masterpiece Tour’ to this region of Wales which gives the residents of Pembrokeshire and those visiting the area the opportunity to see a masterpiece by Edgar Degas and other wonderful works by our excellent Welsh artists.”

Jane Knowles, Head of Exhibitions at the National Gallery said: “The National Gallery has been expanding and deepening its regional partnerships in recent years, and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with the Riverside.

“Our national programmes are focused on developing conversations with other institutions and allowing local communities to use the National Gallery’s collection and resources as a platform to consider their own histories and heritage, as well as supporting tourism and education.

“Museums and galleries have a central role to play in the economic and cultural wellbeing of all our communities – bringing investment as well as joy. We hope our Masterpiece Tour can contribute to this in Pembrokeshire and around the UK.”

Showing alongside The National Gallery Masterpiece Tour: Trem | Gaze exhibition is Pembrokeshire: Past And Present, a permanent exhibition focusing on the history, culture, and landscape of Pembrokeshire. Both exhibitions will run until Saturday 3 September 2022.

For more information can be found here or at Pembrokeshire Libraries Facebook page, or by calling Glan-yr-afon/The Riverside on 01437 775244.

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