Archives & Library

The Leicester Galleries and its Exhibition Catalogues

The Leicester Galleries was a commercial art gallery that operated in central London between 1902 and 1977. It was particularly known for exhibiting British and French artists’ work and for promoting the work of leading modernist painters and sculptors. The Centre’s Library holds one-third of the gallery’s entire output of 1,400 exhibition catalogues, donated by Peter and Renate Nahum in January 2020. The collection is fully catalogued and available for research. This spotlight feature highlights some of the key artists and themes promoted by the gallery and illustrates some of the catalogues in the Library’s holdings.

Gaudier-Brzeska

An important early exhibition of work by a modernist sculptor was the memorial exhibition of the Frenchman Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, held in 1918 (259). The gallery initially wanted the exhibition to happen in 1916, a year after the artist’s early death in action at the age of twenty-three. However, his partner, Sophie Brzeska, wanted to wait until the end of the war. The exhibition held in the Hogarth Room included loans and objects for sale and contained over 100 works amounting to almost all his known sculpture and a great many drawings. According to Oliver Brown, this small exhibition was enough to establish the artist’s reputation. Although it was not as popular as the Epstein exhibition in 1917, it drew the attention of many collectors.

The illustrated catalogue contains a Preface by the poet Ezra Pound.

Henry Gaudier-Brzeska, © 1918 by Ezra Pound. Use by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp., acting as agent.