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The National Gallery Masterpiece Tour 2020

Issued January 2020

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas’s Hélène Rouart in her Father's Study, a much-loved work from the National Gallery’s Collection, is travelling the UK in 2020.

The three venues for the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour 2020 are: Kirkby Gallery, Glan-yr-afon/The Riverside, and Gallery Oldham.

Over a period of one year the annual National Gallery Masterpiece Tour offers three cultural venues outside London the opportunity to display a major work from the Gallery’s collection. The Gallery is committed to sharing the collection throughout the UK and the Masterpiece Tour, made possible by the generous support of Christie’s, this year enables those in north-west England and Wales to access one of its masterpieces in their own region.

Kirkby Gallery (27 April – 11 July 2020)
Glan-yr-afon/The Riverside (17 July – 3 October 2020)
Gallery Oldham (9 October 2020 – 2 January 2021)

Kirkby Gallery
27 April – 11 July 2020

Kirkby Gallery kicks off the Masterpiece Tour by presenting this major artwork by Degas centre stage within the gallery. Providing a fitting and historical context to the work, it will be shown alongside 'Making an Impression: Prints by Manet, Pissarro and their Contemporaries'; a touring exhibition on loan from the Ashmolean Museum. While the wider exhibition explores Impressionism through printmaking, depicting characteristic subjects such as modern city life, portraits and landscape, Degas's masterpiece presents an intriguing domestic scene which will offer visitors the opportunity to explore ideas around portraiture.

Other featured artists in 'Making an Impression' include Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt. The exhibition will also seek to explain the fascinating connections between Degas and the featured Impressionists, which will serve to explore their artistic practice and personal/professional relationships.

Councillor Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Community and Neighbourhoods said: ‘We are excited to have been selected as the first venue for the 2020 Masterpiece Tour of Degas’s 'Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study' (about 1886). We know that our schools and communities will absolutely love this wonderful Degas painting, and the exhibition and education programme surrounding it, and we are really looking forward to welcoming many, many residents and visitors to Kirkby Gallery.'

Glan-yr-afon/The Riverside, Haverfordwest, Wales
17 July – 3 October 2020

At Glan-yr-afon/The Riverside, Degas’s Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study will form the centrepiece in an exhibition drawn from the National Welsh Portrait Collection at The National Library of Wales. The exhibition will contextualise the painting through an exploration of the female form in art, and analyse the theory of the male gaze in portraits through the eyes of both female and male artists such as Seren Morgan Jones and Sir Kyffin Williams.

Mike Cavanagh, Head of Cultural, Leisure, Tourism and Registration Services for Pembrokeshire County Council said: ‘We are delighted to have the opportunity to be part of the Masterpiece Tour during our second year of opening in 2020. The arrival of the Degas will have a huge impact on the community and the county’s many visitors, and will inspire, illuminate and raise ambition within the county.’

Gallery Oldham
9 October 2020 – 2 January 2021

The title of Degas’ Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study suggests that it is a portrait of a young woman. When one looks more closely, however, the stories the painting tells are all about Hélène’s father, Henri Rouart. The exhibition at Gallery Oldham will ask: Is this really a portrait of Hélène, or of her father?

This is the starting point for Gallery Oldham to explore the ways in which women are represented within its collections. Gallery Oldham holds many portraits in which the woman is not named. Sometimes she is described as ‘wife’ or ‘daughter’, sometimes the title completely ignores the fact there is a woman in the portrait at all. This exciting National Gallery partnership will offer an opportunity to try and uncover the identities of some of these sitters, and to find out more about those who we know little.

Councillor Sean Feilding, Leader of Oldham Council and Cabinet Member for Economy and Enterprise, said: ‘We feel privileged that the National Gallery has chosen Oldham to display this famous piece of work. We pride ourselves in displaying the best art from the best artists around the world, for residents and visitors to enjoy. The artwork will be a popular one and I encourage visitors to come and see this ‘masterpiece’, find out more about the existing work in Gallery Oldham and discover more about the famous women in the gallery’s collections. This painting is another great addition to an ever-growing programme of cultural activities in Oldham and I’ll certainly be making a trip to the gallery to view it.'

'The Masterpiece Tour' is part of the National Gallery’s commitment to promote the understanding, knowledge, and appreciation of Old Master paintings to as wide an audience as possible. This opportunity is being made possible by the generous support of Christie’s.

In 2019 Poussin’s The Triumph of Pan went on display at Victoria Art Gallery, Bath; York Art Gallery; and Auckland Castle, part of the Auckland Project, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, with audiences of nearly 50,000.

Orlando Rock, Chairman of Christie’s UK, said: ‘Christie's strongly believes in the role that art and collecting play in the world today, and in the vital importance of art being accessible to all, so we are delighted to be supporting the National Gallery’s Masterpiece Tour again. Regional museums play a vital role in enriching the cultural life of the country, and this work will be a significant additional draw for visitors to the Kirby, Haverfordwest and Oldham Galleries this year.'

National Gallery Director Dr Gabriele Finaldi said: ‘Degas’s Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study is one of the latest portrait’s in the National Gallery’s Collection. It is also one of the most interesting. I am delighted that it will be travelling to Merseyside, Pembrokeshire and Oldham where it will be presented in quite different contexts with superb accompanying programmes.’

The National Gallery Masterpiece Tour 2021-23

The National Gallery is now seeking three venues (non-London museums, galleries and art centres) to become our Masterpiece partners for the next three years, beginning in 2021 with the tour of Jean-Siméon Chardin The House of Cards, about 1740-1. More information can be found here:


Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas,

'Hélène Rouart in her Father's Study', about 1886

Hélène Rouart stands in her father’s study, her hands resting on the back of his empty chair. Works from his art collection can be seen behind her, including three Egyptian statues in a glass case and, above her, a Chinese wall hanging. Although Degas set down the final composition with little subsequent alteration, he did rework areas of the surface, even applying pastel directly to the canvas.

Hélène was the daughter of the engineer and amateur artist Henri Rouart, a friend of Degas, who had a substantial collection of contemporary French painting, including work by Degas. When Hélène was nine, Degas had painted a portrait of her sitting on her father’s knee. She was 23 and married when this portrait was painted, but Degas does not show her wedding ring, perhaps to emphasise her status as a daughter, rather than as a wife.

The National Gallery is one of the greatest art galleries in the world. Founded by Parliament in 1824, the Gallery houses the nation’s collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the late 13th to the early 20th century. The collection includes works by Bellini, Cézanne, Degas, Leonardo, Monet, Raphael, Rembrandt, Renoir, Rubens, Titian, Turner, Van Dyck, Van Gogh and Velázquez. The Gallery’s key objectives are to enhance the collection, care for the collection and provide the best possible access to visitors. More at

The National Gallery is one of the greatest art galleries in the world. Founded by Parliament in 1824, the Gallery houses the nation’s collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the late 13th to the early 20th century. The collection includes works by Bellini, Cézanne, Degas, Leonardo, Monet, Raphael, Rembrandt, Renoir, Rubens, Titian, Turner, Van Dyck, Van Gogh and Velázquez. The Gallery’s key objectives are to enhance the collection, care for the collection and provide the best possible access to visitors. More at

About Christie’s

Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had auction sales in the first half of 2019 that totalled £2.2 billion / $2.8 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery. Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

About Kirkby Gallery

Having relocated in 2014, Kirkby Gallery is run by Knowsley Council, which sits within the Merseyside area of the Liverpool City Region in the North West of England. As its visual art gallery for the borough, it prides itself on presenting a broad and ambitious programme of exhibitions, to which it regularly presents collections from the Arts Council Collection, Hayward Touring, National Trust and multiple regional partner and galleries, as well as that of major visual artists from the North West. As part of a co-location building, which sees multiple council services under the one roof, such as the library, the archives, One Stop Shop and Adult Disability Service, it is a busy and popular venue.The gallery additionally hosts an exciting and diverse range of courses, workshops and events, as well as a packed programme of fun, family-friendly and educational activities all year round.
Admission is free.

About Glan-yr-afon/The Riverside, Haverfordwest, Wales

Glan-yr-afon/The Riverside is a flagship cultural centre in the heart of Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. Opened in December 2018, it features a 21st century library, visitor information, coffee shop and a national government indemnity gallery space, which showcases collections from The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. This high-quality facility is unusual and pioneering and is already playing a central part in regenerating the town and wider area of Pembrokeshire.
About The National Library of Wales
The National Library of Wales is the biggest library in Wales and serves as the nation's memory. As a legal deposit library, it has the right to receive a free copy of everything published in Britain and Ireland. Around 4,000 new publications are collected every week that add to The National Library's collection of:6 million books and newspapers:

  • 950,000 photographs
  • 60,000 works of art
  • 1.5 million maps
  • 7 million feet of film
  • 40,000 manuscripts
  • 250,000 hours of video
  • 1,900 cubic metres of archives

About Gallery Oldham

Gallery Oldham’s extensive programme includes exhibitions, events, courses and talks, as well as popular family activities and school workshops. We have three main exhibition spaces on the second floor. Oldham Stories is a permanent gallery space devoted to displaying our collections, while the Community Gallery features work by local artists and groups. Our other two galleries host our temporary exhibition programme, which links to our core collections of Natural History, Social History and Art. This programme is designed to enable visitors to socialise and relax, to learn and reminisce, to share memories and experiences.

For further information and images please contact the National Gallery Press Office on 020 7747 2865 or

For further press information for Kirkby Gallery, please contact the Press Office on 0151 443 3536 or email 

For further press information for Glan-yr-afon/The Riverside, please contact Nia Wyn Dafydd on 01970 632871 or e-mail and Len Mullins on 01437 775387 or e-mail

For further press information for Gallery Oldham, please contact Jake Wharton on 01617704707 or e-mail