Capital idea sees colourful Leeds artwork head to London: (FULL SIZE) Andre Derain - Barges of the Thames - Leeds Art Gallery (APRIL 2024) ©Rob Battersby 3

05 Jun 2024

Capital idea sees colourful Leeds artwork head to London

Leeds Art Gallery Museums and galleries Arts

A daring depiction of the famous Thames waterside has travelled from Leeds to London for a new exhibition showcasing the capital’s unique influence on artists around the world.

Leeds Art Gallery’s bold and colourful Barges on the Thames shocked Edwardian art lovers when it was unveiled in 1906 by trailblazing Parisian artist André Derain.

Barges on the Thames will now be on display in Sotheby’s London until July 5, before returning to Leeds later this summer. The Sotheby’s exhibition is part of a collaboration with ArtUK and has been created to help celebrate 200 years of the National Gallery.

One of 29 similar scenes produced by Derain, the painting was a dramatic departure from the more traditional, fog-shrouded and gloomy images of London created by many of his contemporaries.

Derain’s striking use of colour had already seen him branded a Fauve or “wild beast” by French critics before he was commissioned to update the popular Thames views painted by Claude Monet in his own style.

His canvases were exhibited in Paris, and Barges on the Thames was later acquired by Leeds Art Gallery in the late 1930s, part of gallery director Phillip Hendy’s ambitious post-war push to buy notable works of art for the Leeds collection.

Experts in Leeds have carefully packed the stunning painting before sending it off to Sotheby’s, where it will be part of London: An Artistic Crossroads, which displays twelve artworks from the UK's leading institutions whose creators were inspired by their time in London.

Jane Bhoyroo, principal keeper of Leeds Art Gallery, said: “Barges on the Thames is one of those rare paintings which immediately draws the eye, and Derain’s brave and uncompromising use of colour is so distinctive.

“We’ll miss seeing this work at the gallery while it’s on loan, but we’re also very proud that one of our works will be displayed in such prestigious company and that Derain’s vision of London will be part of this important exhibition.”

The painting is among Leeds Art Gallery’s impressive collection of 19th and 20th century British paintings and sculpture, which is widely considered to be one of the best outside national collections.

Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, active lifestyles and culture, said: “It’s testament to the strength and diversity of the Leeds collection that works from the city are displayed as loans alongside artwork from around the world.

“We’re very proud of our reputation and of the fact that people in Leeds and beyond are able to see these beautiful artworks on display.”

For more details about Leeds Art Gallery and its collection, please visit: Leeds Art Gallery - Leeds Museums & Galleries

For details about London: An Artistic Crossroads, please visit: London: An Artistic Crossroads (


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Leeds City Council Communications team