ART OF WALES
William Bond Bridge at Bangor, private collection
Ann was Head of Fine Art at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff from 2000 – 2007. She curated the exhibition John Brett in Wales: A Pre-Raphaelite on the Shores of Wales in 2001 in Cardiff and the exhibition Thomas Jones 1742 – 1803: An Artist Re-discovered at the National Museum of Wales in 2003, which then toured to the Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester and finally to the National Gallery, London. She is an acknowledged expert on Jones' life and work. Ann also has a particular interest in Welsh portraiture and wrote the exhibition publication for Faces of Wales in 2006. She has had a longstanding interest in Welsh sisters Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, who collected the famous Impressionist paintings now at the National Museum. She contributed the chapter about their education Much that is beautiful: Art, Travel and Learning to the exhibition publication Things of Beauty, What Two Sisters did for Wales in 2007, as part of the centenary celebrations for the museum.
Cover of John Brett: A Pre-raphaelite on the Shores of Wales
She continues her interest in the Davies sisters and was interviewed for Britain's Lost Masterpieces series on BBC Radio 4, at Gregynog Hall in Mid Wales, the home of the sisters who owned the Botticelli the production company Tern were investigating. This was broadcast on 7 November 2019 and an excerpt from the programme can be heard by following this link: Click Here
Catalogue by Ann Sumner of the Reunited: Gwen John Mère Poussepin and the Catholic Church at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in 2008
In 2008 she curated the exhibition Reunited: Gwen John Mère Poussepin and the Catholic Church at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in collaboration with the National Museum of Wales. The exhibition concentrated on Pembrokeshire-born John's commission from a French convent, which occupied her for eight years during the turbulence of World War I, producing numerous variations on a theme. Ann argued that Gwen John has gradually been recognised as one of the most important female artists of the first half of the 20th Century but her spirituality and its effect on her art is an area had received little attention until that time. In 2009, she curated with Christopher Riopelle and Charlotte Topsfield the exhibition Sisley in England and Wales which considered the visit by the French Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley to south Wales in in 1897. It opened at the National Gallery, London and then travelled to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff. In 2015 Ann wrote the preface for the first book solely dedicated to the work of Curnow Vosper by Jolyon Goodman. Vosper is best known for his iconic painting Salem, showing Siân Owen entering the small chapel of Salem, near Llanbedr. Currently she is researching the 19th century Welsh artist Penry Williams, who was born in Merthyr Tydfil but spent much of his working life in Rome. She also researches less well-known artists who have regularly travelled to Wales for inspiration from the Liverpool artist William Joseph Julius Caesar Bond, to Yorkshire painter William Mellor and the Manchester woman artist Mary Louise Breakell who painted Lake Maelog, Anglesey, Wales in 1906.
For more information about Ann’s interest in the Art of Wales listen to this video recorded by Aberystwyth University: