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The most ambitious exhibition to take place so far has recently been opened at the Riverside Library, Gallery and Visitor Information in Haverfordwest.

THE NATIONAL GALLERY MASTERPIECE TOUR: TREM | GAZE exhibition was officially opened by Ashok Ahir, President of The National Library of Wales and Jane Knowles, Head of Exhibitions at The National Gallery. The National Gallery Masterpiece Tour is sponsored by Christie’s.

Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study by Edgar Degas forms the centrepiece in the TREM | GAZE exhibition, which includes portraits from the National Welsh Portrait Collection at The National Library of Wales.

The exhibition aims to contextualise Degas’ painting through an exploration of the female form in art, considering the ‘male gaze’ and ‘female gaze’ theories, through the eyes of both female and male Welsh artists such as Seren Morgan Jones, Claudia Williams, Sir Kyffin Williams and John Selway. 

The Riverside centre also hosted an excellent talk by Laura Llewellyn, Associate Curator at the National Gallery who gave the audience a vivid and intriguing history of the painting, the subject of the portrait and the artist himself. A brief video will soon be available to view in the Riverside Gallery which will certainly add value to the wonderful painting exhibited at the centre.

Pedr ap Llwyd, Chief Executive and Librarian at the National Library of Wales said:

“It has been wonderful to be able to work with Pembrokeshire County Council and the National Gallery to bring the 'Masterpiece Tour' to this region of Wales which gives the residents of Pembrokeshire and those visiting the area the opportunity to see a masterpiece by Edgar Degas and other wonderful works by our excellent Welsh artists.”

Jane Knowles, Head of Exhibitions at the National Gallery said:

“The National Gallery has been expanding and deepening its regional partnerships in recent years, and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with the Riverside. Our national programmes are focused on developing conversations with other institutions and allowing local communities to use the National Gallery’s collection and resources as a platform to consider their own histories and heritage, as well as supporting tourism and education.

Museums and galleries have a central role to play in the economic and cultural wellbeing of all our communities – bringing investment as well as joy. We hope our Masterpiece Tour can contribute to this in Pembrokeshire and around the UK.”

Steven Jones, Director of Community Services said that Pembrokeshire County Council was privileged to participate in the Masterpiece Tour. Edgar Degas is one of the most celebrated artists in the world and to have one of his paintings on display in Haverfordwest is sure to attract many locals and visitors alike. 

Showing alongside THE NATIONAL GALLERY MASTERPIECE TOUR: TREM | GAZE exhibition is PEMBROKESHIRE: PAST AND PRESENT, a permanent exhibition focusing on the history, culture, and landscape of Pembrokeshire. Both exhibitions will run until Saturday 3 September 2022.

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**Mae'r datganiad yma hefyd ar gael yn y Gymraeg**


Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas
Hélène Rouart in her Father's Study
about 1886
Oil on canvas
162.5 x 121 cm
© The National Gallery, London

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. To find out more about the National Gallery’s strategic aims visit here.

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Nia Wyn Dafydd