The gallery of 19th-century painting and sculpture of the Gulbenkian Museum has reopened to the public after a short period of closure, during which a large-scale reorganisation of the space was conducted, including the repositioning of the works. There has been no change to the content, but visitors will now find themselves in an open space that allows them to see almost all of the collection on display at once.
The gallery opens with a section dedicated to French landscape painting, as represented by the painters of the Barbizon school – Rousseau, Millet, Troyon – whose works form a dialogue within the open space with sculptures by Dalou, Barye and Carpeaux. While maintaining a complete overview of the works, this arrangement highlights two indisputable masters of landscape painting, which occupy a very special place in the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection: Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot and Charles-François Daubigny.
The middle part of the gallery is now home to sculpture of Jean D’Aire, Burgher of Calais, which, alongside other bronze and marble pieces by Auguste Rodin and Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, have been given greater prominence. Celebrated works by Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas appear just before the final section of the gallery, which is given over to Impressionist painting, with compositions by Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
This work was done on a provisional basis, as a trial for the wider-scale remodelling that is scheduled for 2017.
The Museum last had building work carried out in 2000, when it was completely renovated and modernised. Since then specific sections have undergone occasional interventions, including the areas for Egyptian Art, Ivories, Manuscripts and Flemish Painting.
The new gallery also includes a display of books from Calouste Gulbenkian’s extensive library.