Painters' Paintings: From Freud to Van Dyck

This event was held from 23 June 2016 to 4 September 2016

Date and time

23 June – 4 September 2016

Sainsbury Wing Exhibition




Admission charge

Ticket prices and information (including how to book by phone)

Same day sales only available from the Ticket Desk in the Sainsbury Wing Foyer

Explore the connections between painters and the paintings they possessed in an exhibition spanning over five hundred years of art history

'Painters' Paintings' takes its inspiration from works in the National Gallery Collection once owned by painters, revealing the private acquisitions of Freud, Matisse, Degas, Leighton, Watts, Lawrence, Reynolds, and Van Dyck.

The exhibition investigates why these painters acquired other painters' works – for artistic inspiration, to support fellow artists, as status symbols, as investments, even out of obsession.

It also considers the fascinating relations painters had with the paintings they possessed, and what happened when their acquisitions entered public collections.

'Painters' Paintings' features more than eighty works spanning over five hundred years of art history, from Freud’s 2002 ‘Self Portrait: Reflection’ to Bellini’s Agony in the Garden of about 1465.

About half of the works are exceptional loans from public and private collections, including Cézanne’s ‘Three Bathers’ once owned by Matisse, Sisley’s ‘The Flood. Banks of the Seine, Bougival’ once owned by Degas, and Gainsborough’s ‘Girl with Pigs’ once owned by Reynolds

Each painting offers a unique insight into the private worlds of these celebrated masters.

Exhibition generously supported by:

The Thompson Family Charitable Trust

Athene Foundation logo

The NDL Foundation

Philippe and Stephanie Camu

The Thornton Foundation

And those who wish to remain anonymous


Image above: Left: Lucian Freud, 'Self Portrait: Reflection' (detail), 2002. Private Collection © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images. Photo courtesy of the owner. Right: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, 'Italian Woman, or Woman with Yellow Sleeve (L'Italienne)' (detail), about 1870  © The National Gallery, London