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Important Édouard Vuillard painting acquired by Pallant House Gallery through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme
Édouard Vuillard, Modèle assise dans un fauteuil, se coiffant, c.1903, oil on board, 61 x 67cm, Accepted by HM Government in Lieu of Inheritance Tax from the estate of Lord Hutchinson and allocated to Pallant House Gallery 2019.

CHICHESTER.- A significant oil painting by Édouard Vuillard has been allocated to Pallant House Gallery via HM Government’s Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) scheme, run by the Arts Council. The painting was accepted from the estate of Lord Hutchinson and will go on display at the Gallery as part of the current ‘Art Quake: Post-impressionism and British art’ exhibition, until June 2019, before entering the collection displays for summer 2019.

Édouard Vuillard’s ‘Modèle assise dans un fauteuil, se coiffant’ (c.1903), translated as ‘Model seated in a chair, combing her hair’, is a remarkable addition to the Gallery’s permanent collection of British and international modern art from 1900 to now. It joins an existing collection of continental artworks by artists including Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, André Derain, Pablo Picasso and Gino Severini. Until now, Vuillard has only been represented in the collection by a lithograph left to the Gallery in the Kearley Bequest through the Art Fund in 1989.

Vuillard was an important influence on the development of Modern British art, in particular the artists Walter Sickert and Harold Gilman, the focus of Gallery’s main exhibition this spring. The subject of the painting – the figure in an interior – has a strong resonance with works in the Gallery’s collection such as Jack Ashore (1912-13) by Walter Sickert as well as later works such as Granchester Road (1975) by Howard Hodgkin, who described himself as a ‘fanatical admirer’ of Vuillard, amongst numerous other artists.

The pose of the model combing her hair has a particular relevance to a drawing by Edgar Degas in the Gallery’s collection entitled Femme se peignant / Woman combing her Hair (c.1887-1890), which was also allocated through the AIL scheme, in 2016. Degas was himself an important influence on Vuillard. This is a subject also explored in a much later work, Girl braiding her Hair (1999) by RB Kitaj, who was influenced by both Degas and Vuillard.

The previous owner of the painting was Jeremy Hutchinson, Lord Hutchinson of Lullington (1915-2017), a fascinating figure in 20th century British cultural life through his role in landmark trials such as the Lady Chatterley trial in 1960 and his defence of the art thief Kemton Bunton, Christine Keeler, the Great Train robber Charles Wilson and the Soviet spy George Blake. Lord Hutchinson had connections to the Chichester area as his mother Mary Hutchinson, who was closely involved with the Bloomsbury Group, owned a house at Ella Nore in West Wittering. Pallant House Gallery was chosen by the recipient of Lord Hutchinson’s estate to receive the work in lieu of Inheritance Tax through the AIL scheme. The deal was brokered by Sotheby’s.

Edward Harley OBE, Chairman, Acceptance in Lieu Panel said: “I am delighted to announce the allocation of Vuillard’s Modèle assise to Pallant House Gallery in Chichester. Vuillard was an important influence on a generation of British artists and so it is particularly appropriate that this painting should join one of the pre-eminent collections of 20th century British art. I hope that this example will encourage others to use the Acceptance in Lieu scheme to continue to enrich our public holdings.”

Simon Martin, Director at Pallant House Gallery, commented: “At a time when so much in politics seems to be about Britain cutting ties with Europe, this remarkable painting by Édouard Vuillard will enable Pallant House Gallery to demonstrate how closely British art has been connected to European influences. One of my most memorable experiences in recent years has been taking Jeremy Hutchinson around our Sickert exhibition. He was perceptive and enthusiastic and he would be delighted to see his Vuillard on the Gallery’s walls. We are extremely grateful to the executors of his estate, the Arts Council and the Acceptance in Lieu panel for choosing to allocate this wonderful painting to Pallant House Gallery.”

Édouard Vuillard’s ‘Modèle assise dans un fauteuil, se coiffant’ (c.1903) has gone on display as a special addition to the current exhibition ‘Art Quake: Post-impressionism and British Art’, from 30 April 2019 until 1 June 2019, before being included in the summer season collection displays.

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