Last year London Art Fair welcomed Southampton City Art Gallery as our 2020 Museum Partner.
Southampton City Art Gallery presented ‘Gallery 80: From Generous Beginnings to Lasting Legacies’.
Following its 80th anniversary in 2019, the exhibition Gallery 80: From Generous Beginnings to Lasting Legacies’, highlighted Southampton City Art Gallery’s outstanding collection of modern British and contemporary art, which are considered to be amongst the finest in the UK outside of London; earning ‘Designated’ status from Arts Council England in 1998.
Revealing the depth and variety of Southampton’s evolving collection of modern and contemporary painting and sculpture, the exhibition showcased a selection of around 25 works that are significant to the history of the Gallery; including pieces by Walter Sickert, L.S. Lowry, Stanley Spencer, Ben Nicholson, Helen Chadwick, Maggi Hambling, Christopher Le Brun and Bob and Roberta Smith.
The selection highlighted the remarkable expansion of the collection over the last 80 years, which helped to transform Southampton into a leading cultural destination boasting one of the finest collections in the south of England.
Highlights included ‘Loading Timber at Southampton Docks’, 1918 by C.R.W. Nevinson. During the First World War Nevinson experienced the horrors of modern warfare which inspired some of his most powerful work. He was later appointed an Official War Artist and passed through Southampton on his way to France. This dynamic painting shows the influence of Futurism and Cubism on Nevinson’s art with its emphasis on geometric shapes and patterns, machinery and movement. It was acquired by the Gallery in 1962 and is a key part of Southampton’s reputed early 20th century post-impressionist holdings which reveal the birth of modern art in Britain.
“We are delighted to be the Official Museum Partner for the 2020 London Art Fair. Now in its 80th year, Southampton City Art Gallery’s collection grows from strength to strength and continues to put our City on the map. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to show off some of the major highlights from our collection on a significant international stage. This is another great step towards our bid to become City of Culture in 2025, firmly putting Southampton at the forefront of the UK’s cultural offer.”
Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture
Clare Mitchell, Curator of Art at Southampton City
About Southampton City Art Gallery
British Artist Christopher Le Brun
Founded in 1911 with a bequest from Southampton Councillor Robert Chipperfield, and with a further bequest from Councillor Frederick William Smith in 1925, the nationally important collections comprise over 5000 art works spanning eight centuries and traces the history of European art from the Renaissance to the present day.
The collection continues to grow through acquisitions, gifts and bequests and, although the Gallery has important holdings of pre-1900s painting, it is principally known for housing some of the finest British modern and contemporary works in the UK, including over 30 Turner prize winners and nominees.
Alongside the collections, a regular programme of temporary exhibitions in collaboration with leading artists and arts institutions are displayed in the stunning art deco building, opened in 1939 by Councillor Robert Chipperfield for the people of Southampton in his adopted city. Southampton City Art Gallery offers the opportunity to enjoy high quality exhibitions and attracts art-lovers, curious amateurs as well as those who simply enjoy the atmosphere of a gallery.
ABOUT MUSEUM PARTNERSHIP
The Fair is an established destination for both museum quality Modern British and contemporary work from leading global names. First introduced in 2014 to showcase important regional collections; London Art Fair’s annual Museum Partnership has seen collaborations with the Hepworth Wakefield, Pallant House Gallery, Jerwood Gallery, The Lightbox, Towner Art Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery.
Housed in a specially designed pavilion at the front of the Fair, the Museum Partnership provides a prominent London platform and significant opportunity for patrons, collectors and general Fair visitors to engage with an exhibition of exceptional museum quality works – bringing some of our most important regional private collections into the public domain; whilst highlighting the gallery’s broader programme, driving new audiences and supporters.