barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


SEEN/UNSEEN

Treasures from the Reserve Gallery

 

When is a Rembrandt not a Rembrandt?  Why is one landscape hidden away in store while another graces the walls of the main gallery?

The Barber collection of paintings number some 150 oils, and most are exhibited permanently.  However, a small number rarely see the light of day and are usually confined to the racks of the Reserve – because of reattribution, curatorial taste, lack of space, or because they are simply no longer considered worthy to hang alongside more illustrious fellows.

The fascinating display of some of the ‘forgotten’ paintings opens the doors of the Reserve to bring out a selection of works that usually remain unseen, and asks the question: is it time to reconsider these paintings as objects of interest in their own right?  The display includes paintings formerly attributed to some masters as Rembrandt, Watteau, Goya and Constable, as well as undisputed examples of the work of supposedly more ‘minor’ artists.

 

Above Image: Attributed to Pieter Fransz De Grebber, The Angel Appearing to Saint Anne, About 1600 – 1652/3

Fascinating examples of reattributions. Reminded me of the recent Leonardo discovery – Pauline Faster, Moseley, Birmingham

Why not an annual exhibition of a selection of ‘reserves’ – Stephen Duckworth, London

Nice to look at! Proud to bring our Dutch friend to such a splendid gallery – R & M Hopwood, Birmingham and Micke Manders, Netherlands

Exciting to see and saddening to think of these lovely pieces living their lives in storage – Fiona Duddy, Birmingham

Rare, exciting – loved it! – J. De la Falise, Switzerland

Does a painting become more or less aesthetically pleasing when we know of its provenance.  A wonderful insight into the ‘mistakes’ of the experts – Geoff Taylor, Birmingham

 

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (1889-1946)

Sur la Terrasse, Montparnasse, Paris

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