Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles (c. 1665) will go on view at Gagosian Grosvenor Hill, heralding a new alliance between the international gallery and English Heritage—the charity entrusted with the care of this painting and more than 500,000 other paintings and artifacts, together with more than 400 historic sites across England.
Rembrandt’s legendary painting will be the centerpiece of an exhibition of self-portraits that will also include works by Francis Bacon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lucian Freud, and Pablo Picasso, as well as leading contemporary artists such as Georg Baselitz, Glenn Brown, Urs Fischer, Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Giuseppe Penone, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, and Rudolf Stingel, among others. A new work created by Jenny Saville in response to Rembrandt’s self-portrait will be revealed for the first time. Entry to the exhibition is free.
The partnership between Gagosian and English Heritage, which will be launched with this exhibition, will entail the gallery supporting the charity and its sites, artworks, and artifacts—including Kenwood, the home of Rembrandt’s self-portrait in the north of London. To begin, Gagosian will support the conservation of the painting’s eighteenth-century wooden frame. Other future events between the two organizations are in the planning stages.
Anna Eavis, Curatorial Director at English Heritage, comments: “Working with Gagosian will allow us to create exciting juxtapositions between our collections and the gallery’s modern and contemporary program. We’re delighted to be starting with Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait with Two Circles, which usually hangs at Kenwood. It’s one of the world’s great paintings and, despite its considerable age, a work of extraordinary modernity.”
After Gagosian, Self-Portrait with Two Circles will return to Kenwood. In October of this year, the painting will be the focus of a special new display, timed to coincide with the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death.
Painted when Rembrandt was about sixty years of age, Self-Portrait with Two Circles is considered to be the artist’s greatest late self-portrait. Rembrandt depicted himself in his studio, wearing a white linen cap and holding his brushes, palette, and maulstick. One of his largest and most ambitious self-portraits, the painting has prompted much speculative interpretation about aspects such as the enigma of the circles in the background that inform the title. Confident and masterful, brooding and anxious, Self-Portrait with Two Circles is a masterpiece of compelling ambiguity. Edward Cecil Guinness, the first Earl of Iveagh, purchased the painting in 1888; later he gave it to the British nation, along with sixty-two other exceptional paintings and the Kenwood Estate. Since 1986, Kenwood and its collections have been in the care of English Heritage. In accordance with the Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood is open and free to the public.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, with a text by David Freedberg.
English Heritage cares for more than 400 historic buildings, monuments, and sites—including world-famous prehistoric sites, grand medieval castles, Roman forts on the edge of the empire, and a Cold War bunker. Through these, history is brought to life for over ten million people each year. Registered charity no. 1140351. For more information, please visit www.english-heritage.org.uk.
Nathaniel Mary Quinn
Anna Eavis, the curatorial director of English Heritage, traces the history of Kenwood House and details the remarkable collection of paintings that reside there.
Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt
Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
Frank Auerbach: Artist Friends
In this candid interview with Richard Calvocoressi, the painter Frank Auerbach reminisces on his friendships with Michael Andrews, Francis Bacon, and Lucian Freud. The two spoke during the planning of the exhibition Friends and Relations, a show that examines the interconnected lives and art practices of this group of London painters.
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2022
The Winter 2022 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Anna Weyant’s Two Eileens (2022) on its cover.
Bruce Bernard: Portraits Of Friends
Virginia Verran details the photographer’s friendships with the London painters.
Truth Revealed: Damien Hirst and James Fox on Ashley Bickerton
In conversation with James Fox, Damien Hirst reflects on the artwork of his longtime friend.
Visions of the Self
Rembrandt and Now
Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 6:30–8:30pm
Kenwood House, London
In the interest of public health, this event has been postponed until further notice.
Gagosian is pleased to host a drinks reception to celebrate the release of Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now, published on the occasion of the recent eponymous exhibition at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London. Organized in partnership with English Heritage, the exhibition places Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles (c. 1665) in dialogue with self-portraits by Francis Bacon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lucian Freud, and Pablo Picasso, as well as leading contemporary artists such as Georg Baselitz, Glenn Brown, Urs Fischer, Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Giuseppe Penone, Richard Prince, Jenny Saville, Cindy Sherman, and Rudolf Stingel, among others. The catalogue includes an introduction by Wendy Monkhouse, senior curator at English Heritage, and a text by art historian David Freedberg. To attend the free event, RSVP to email@example.com. Space is limited.
Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now (London: Gagosian, 2020)
Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now
In partnership with English Heritage
Thursday, April 25, 2019, 6pm
Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London
Gagosian director and art historian Richard Calvocoressi will lead a tour of the exhibition Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London. Calvocoressi will take a look at postwar and contemporary masters of self-representation, anchoring the conversation to an important Rembrandt masterpiece included in the exhibition, Self-Portrait with Two Circles (c. 1665). The event has reached capacity. To join the wait list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-Portrait with Two Circles, c. 1665, English Heritage, The Iveagh Bequest (Kenwood, London). Photo: Historic England Photo Library
Friends and Relations
Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Michael Andrews
November 17, 2022–January 28, 2023
Grosvenor Hill, London