Monochrome: Painting in Black and White

Until 18 February 2018

Sainsbury Wing

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Journey through a world of shadow and light with artists including Rembrandt, Ingres, Picasso, Richter, and Eliasson 

★★★★
‘Beauty is all the bolder in black and white’, The Times

★★★★
'One black-and-white marvel after another', The Telegraph

★★★★
Time Out, Evening Standard, The Observer

Why have artists chosen to paint in black and white over the last 700 years? Not just abstract artists like Malevich, Richter, and Riley, or modern artists like Picasso, but also artists you wouldn’t expect – van Eyck, Rembrandt, Dürer, and Ingres?

See what happens when these great artists put away their colourful palettes and instead focus only on shades of black, white, and grey.

The result is more liberating than it sounds. You’ll see details you didn’t notice before – textures, and new meanings. You’ll see differently.

You’ll even see yourself and your friends differently in Eliasson’s immersive ‘Room for one colour’; a mind-altering end to your visit.

Olafur Eliasson, 'Room for one colour', 1997. Installation view at Moderna Museet, Stockholm 2015. Courtesy of the artist; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; neugerriemschneider, Berlin © Olafur Eliasson. Photo: Anders Sune Berg
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Olafur Eliasson, 'Room for one colour', 1997. Installation view at Moderna Museet, Stockholm 2015. Courtesy of the artist; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; neugerriemschneider, Berlin
© Olafur Eliasson. Photo: Anders Sune Berg

Gerhard Richter, 'Helga Matura with her Fiancé', 1966. Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf © Gerhard Richter 2017 (0182). Photo: Museum Kunstpalast - ARTOTHEK
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Gerhard Richter, 'Helga Matura with her Fiancé', 1966. Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf
© Gerhard Richter 2017 (0182). Photo: Museum Kunstpalast - ARTOTHEK

Marlene Dumas, 'The Image as Burden', 1993 Private Collection, Belgium © Marlene Dumas. Photo: Peter Cox
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Marlene Dumas, 'The Image as Burden', 1993. Private Collection, Belgium
© Marlene Dumas. Photo: Peter Cox

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and workshop, 'Odalisque in Grisaille', about 1824-34 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1938, 38.65 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource / Scala, Florence
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Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and workshop, 'Odalisque in Grisaille', about 1824–34
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource / Scala, Florence

Gustave Le Gray, 'The Great Wave, Sète', about 1857 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
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Gustave Le Gray, 'The Great Wave, Sète', about 1857
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Etienne Moulinneuf after Jean-Siméon Chardin, 'Back from the Market (La Pourvoyeuse)', about 1770  © Museum Associates / LACMA
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Etienne Moulinneuf after Jean-Siméon Chardin, 'Back from the Market (La Pourvoyeuse)', about 1770
© Museum Associates / LACMA

Jacob de Wit, 'Jupiter and Ganymede', 1739 © Ferens Art Gallery, Hull Museums
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Jacob de Wit, 'Jupiter and Ganymede', 1739
© Ferens Art Gallery, Hull Museums

Albrecht Dürer, 'Head of a Woman', 1520. The British Museum, London © The Trustees of The British Museum
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Albrecht Dürer, 'Head of a Woman', 1520. The British Museum, London
© The Trustees of The British Museum

'Stained Glass Panel with Quarries and a Female Head', about 1320-4 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
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'Stained Glass Panel with Quarries and a Female Head', about 1320–4
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Olafur Eliasson, 'Room for one colour', 1997. Installation view at Moderna Museet, Stockholm 2015. Courtesy of the artist; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; neugerriemschneider, Berlin © Olafur Eliasson. Photo: Anders Sune Berg
Gerhard Richter, 'Helga Matura with her Fiancé', 1966. Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf © Gerhard Richter 2017 (0182). Photo: Museum Kunstpalast - ARTOTHEK
Marlene Dumas, 'The Image as Burden', 1993 Private Collection, Belgium © Marlene Dumas. Photo: Peter Cox
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and workshop, 'Odalisque in Grisaille', about 1824-34 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1938, 38.65 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource / Scala, Florence
Gustave Le Gray, 'The Great Wave, Sète', about 1857 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Etienne Moulinneuf after Jean-Siméon Chardin, 'Back from the Market (La Pourvoyeuse)', about 1770  © Museum Associates / LACMA
Jacob de Wit, 'Jupiter and Ganymede', 1739 © Ferens Art Gallery, Hull Museums
Albrecht Dürer, 'Head of a Woman', 1520. The British Museum, London © The Trustees of The British Museum
'Stained Glass Panel with Quarries and a Female Head', about 1320-4 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Exhibition organised by the National Gallery in collaboration with Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf.

Exhibition generously supported by
Howard and Roberta Ahmanson
 
With additional support from
The Daniel Katz Gallery, London
The Vaseppi Trust
David Zwirner, New York/London

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Image above: Detail from Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and workshop, 'Odalisque in Grisaille', about 1824–34 ©  The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource / Scala, Florence