Hunterian Art Gallery exhibition celebrates retired curator

Credit: The Hunterian

Rachel Stamford
News Editor

A Curator’s Choice will showcase highlights from acquisitions made throughout Dr Peter Black’s career.

The Hunterian Art Gallery is unveiling a new exhibition to celebrate the career of retired Hunterian curator Dr Peter Black and 20 years of his research at the museum.

A Curator’s Choice will showcase a selection of highlights covering different periods and artistic styles from major artists of past and present. The exhibition represents a selection from the approximately 300 acquisitions Dr Black made through purchases, gifts and bequests during his career as Hunterian curator since 1998.

Highlighted works include the rarely displayed Head of a Bearded Man in Profile to the Right by Peter Paul Rubens, one of the most influential artists of Flemish Baroque tradition, and Study of a Young Woman’s Head by Alison Watt, an alumna of the Glasgow School of Art.

Deputy director of The Hunterian, Mungo Campbell, said: “The exhibition reveals the particular quality of The Hunterian’s acquisitions of works on paper – and particularly prints. The donors, whose generous gifts formed the core of our print room in the mid-20th century, acquired their collections with the specific intention that they be used for teaching. Students working across many fields continue to enjoy the unique experience of coming into close contact with important works of art during their studies. Our most important acquisitions have often gone hand-in-hand with collections-based research and teaching programmes. One section of the exhibition juxtaposes recent acquisitions with works of art that were investigated in partnership with Hunterian and Technical Art History colleagues and students.”

A Curator’s Choice also highlights Dr Black’s collections research and engagement with artists and donors. Dr Black led research into Dutch and Flemish art, and his research into the attribution of Rubens’ Head of an Old Man led to the acquisition of two important study drawings. He also researched William Hunter’s collections which allowed the museum to buy an unrecognised early wall painting, which is one of The Hunterian’s most significant acquisitions of recent years.

A spokesperson for The Hunterian said: “Works of art can be brought to life by getting to know the artists and finding out about their work. Some of the artists included here were people who Peter worked with in the first part of his career. As a freelance curator, he organised exhibitions, wrote about the artists and ensured that their works were acquired by museums.”

Other major artists included in the exhibition are Philip Reeves, Victoria Burge, Lucian Freud, James Gillray, Max Beckmann, Cecil Collins, William Gear and Stanley Hayter.

A Curator’s Choice will be in The Hunterian Art Gallery with free admission from 6 March – 28 June 2020. 


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