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The Courtauld takes a punt on the queen of online gambling

2 July 2021

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

The Courtauld Gallery in London is set to stage a major exhibition of Van Gogh’s self-portraits next year, with more than 15 of Vincent’s versions of himself going on display in its hallowed galleries from February 2022.

But what has made Rakewell’s ears prick up is that the place’s new exhibition galleries are to be named after Denise Coates, who has given an undisclosed donation to the institution as it prepares to unveil its revamped spaces later this year. Coates is the founder of Bet365, an online gambling company that, well, makes its money through online gambling – an industry that is under scrutiny as the UK government seeks to regulate it more fully.

Van Gogh took a risk or two, certainly, but your correspondent has not been able to ascertain whether he was ever game for gambling. Given that the Courtauld is home to one of Cézanne’s great paintings of card players, Rakewell wonders whether the Denise Coates Exhibition Galleries ought not to have a flutter on an exhibition dedicated to those instead…

The Card Players (1892–96), Paul Cézanne.

The Card Players (1892–96), Paul Cézanne. Courtauld Institute, London

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