Press releases 2022
28 November 2022
National Galleries of Scotland announce unmissable upcoming exhibitions in Edinburgh
A major Grayson Perry retrospective is announced today (28 November). The largest exhibition of Alberta Whittle’s career to date, a solo show by Do Ho Suh, and printmakers’ treasures are also among highlights of the National Galleries of Scotland’s new exhibitions programme.
Next summer, come and see the biggest ever exhibition of Grayson Perry’s work, covering his 40-year career. Perry has gone from taking pottery evening classes to winning the Turner Prize, presenting television programmes on Channel 4 and writing acclaimed books. Pottery allowed him the opportunity to indulge his fascination with sex, Punk, and counterculture, amongst other things, in the most unlikely and polite of art forms. Today he is one of Britain’s most celebrated artists and cultural figures.
Popular and provocative, Perry makes art that deals with difficult and complex ideas in an accessible and often funny way. He loves taking on big issues that are universally human: masculinity, sexuality, class, religion, politics and more. On view will be subversive pots, brilliantly intricate prints, elaborate sculptures, and huge, captivating tapestries – all imbued with Perry’s sharp wit and social commentary. Working with traditional mediums, Perry addresses the controversial issues of our times. We’ll reveal more information about the exhibition next spring. Running at the Royal Scottish Academy from 22 July until 12 November 2023, discover how and why he has become such a cultural icon.
Alberta Whittle: create dangerously is an immersive exhibition which invites you to slow down and pause. At the heart of Alberta’s solo show is her generous spirit which promotes compassion and collective care as means of resisting racism and anti-Blackness. Alberta addresses the brutality and harm caused by colonialism, the Transatlantic trade in enslaved people, and the ongoing climate crisis. Through richly symbolic artworks, she pulls apart the belief that ’racism and police brutality is [just] an English/Scottish problem or an American problem’. Instead, she underlines Scotland’s complicity in the structures of white supremacy. Often deeply personal, weaving stories of family and belonging, Alberta ultimately offers a message of hope, asking us to imagine a world outside of these damaging systems and ways of thinking.
This will be the largest showing of Alberta’s works to date, with sculptures, digital collages, watercolours and new paintings made especially for the show, taking over the ground floor of Modern One. Alongside never-before-seen artworks, the free exhibition offers you the opportunity to see Alberta’s extraordinary tapestry, Entanglement is more than blood, and film, Lagareh – The Last Born – which was on display at the Venice Biennale 2022, commissioned by Scotland+Venice. Alberta Whittle: create dangerously, running from 1 April 2023 until 7 January 2024, will explore the ambition and breadth of the Barbadian-Scottish artist’s career to date. Alberta Whittle: create dangerously is kindly supported by Baillie Gifford, National Galleries of Scotland Foundation and The Alberta Whittle Exhibition Supporters’ Circle.
A first for us and for Scotland: a solo exhibition coming winter 2023/24 of the South Korean-born, London-based Do Ho Suh. One of the world’s leading contemporary artists, Do Ho Suh will explore the foundational role that drawing and paper play in Suh’s artistic practice, focusing on his collaborative methods, experimental techniques, and innovative use of materials. The free exhibition, taking over an entire level of Modern One, will present the artist’s complex and compelling thread drawings – in which cotton thread is embedded on handmade paper – alongside architectural rubbings, paper sculptures, cyanotypes, printmaking and watercolours. There will also be a major new installation of Suh’s famed ‘hubs’, life-size sculptures that recreate physical spaces in colourful, translucent fabric. You can step right inside and immerse yourselves in this innovative reimagining of places meaningful to the artist and his life. Do Ho Suh is kindly supported by National Galleries of Scotland Foundation, and our associated engagement and audience development initiatives are kindly supported by Baillie Gifford.
Printmaking, one of the most accessible art forms, takes centre stage next Winter. Come and experience the print pioneers who have made their mark in the last five hundred years in Rembrandt to Rego: The Printmaker’s Art. You will go on a journey from Albrecht Dürer in the fifteenth century right through to contemporary artists including Tracey Emin and Chris Ofili. On the way you will discover how artists have pushed the boundaries in both subject and technique through screen printing, etching, engraving and more. The show includes many brilliant artists who are now famous for their printmaking; see prints by Andy Warhol, William Blake, Rembrandt, Francisco de Goya, Elizabeth Blackadder, Paula Rego, Bridget Riley, Pablo Picasso and more. Appreciate the techniques, tools and materials up close – you may even be inspired to give it a go. Rembrandt to Rego: The Printmaker’s Art runs from 2 December until 25 February 2024.
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2022 marks a welcome return to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Capturing and sharing emotional, dramatic, or everyday moments in life is the magic of this exhibition. A truly global affair, the prize celebrates the very best in contemporary photography on an international scale. Sharing work by celebrated professionals and enthusiastic amateurs alike, the images selected for the exhibition share in their ability to move onlookers. This year’s prize-winning photographs examine a range of subjects – from queerness, transness and the concept of chosen family, socially distanced glimpses into daily lockdown life, to identity and life in former Soviet states. See several famous faces up close, including footballer and activist Marcus Rashford and Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard. The variety of themes explored throughout the exhibition is matched by the high-quality, contemporary portraiture that reflects the shifting world of today. This free exhibition runs from 17 June until 10 September 2023.
Also at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Making Space: Photographs of Architecture will explore how architecture impacts our lives. As a record of human life past, present, and future, architecture and people are intrinsically linked. A poorly built environment exacerbates inequality, but architecture has the power to address social issues including homelessness, poverty, and displacement. This fascinating exhibition will also consider how the built environment has a significant role to play in creating a more sustainable future. On display will be a diverse range of photographic styles, formats and processes dating from the 1840s to the present day. Follow the line from Hill & Adamson’s early experiments on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill through to spectacular contemporary photographs by Andreas Gursky and Chris Leslie which capture the breath-taking scale of modern buildings. Entry to this exhibition is free and will take place from 7 October 2023 until 3 March 2024.
Your Art World, from summer 2023 to spring 2024, will help young people across Scotland to discover a whole new world of creative possibilities. This inclusive and interactive exhibition is free to see and includes work generated over the past year from a nation-wide call out to those aged between 3-18 years old. Your Art World’s goal is to inspire and empower young people to think and act creatively but there’s also the added bonus of having their artwork showcased. All submissions will be displayed both online and at the Scottish National Gallery. Your Art World is generously supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The final programme highlight is the return of a keenly-awaited tradition: the opening of Turner in January, an exhibition of mesmerising watercolours to help us through the dark days of winter. Scotland’s famous collection of J.M.W. Turner watercolours was left to the nation by the great art collector Henry Vaughan in 1900. Since then, following Vaughan’s strict guidelines, they have only ever been displayed during the month of January, when natural light levels are at their lowest. Because of this, these watercolours still possess a freshness and an intensity of colour, almost 200 years since they were originally created. Presented at the Royal Scottish Academy, Turner in January will open on New Year’s Day 2023 and be open throughout the month of January. Turner in January is generously supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Sir John Leighton, Director General of the National Galleries of Scotland said:
“There is so much to look forward to across our Galleries next year. From connecting with Grayson Perry’s craftsmanship up close to slowing down with Alberta Whittle to experience compassion and care, there is something for everyone to discover. Everyone is invited to our Galleries to learn, find a moment of calm, or feel inspired.”
Completing the exhibition programme are free displays currently at the Scottish National Gallery and Modern One respectively: Conserving Scotland’s Art until 16 April, which shines a light on how we preserve art for future generations to enjoy; Conversations with the Collection, offering a fresh way of presenting modern and contemporary art; and until 12 February, New Arrivals: From Salvador Dalí to Jenny Saville, a fascinating showcase of our latest modern and contemporary acquisitions.
8 September 2022
Her Majesty The Queen, 1926–2022
We join the nation in expressing our sorrow at the death of Her Majesty The Queen and we send our deepest condolences to The Royal Family.
"A much admired and respected figure at home and internationally, The Queen ruled for longer than any other monarch in British history. She dedicated a lifetime of service to her role, which included supporting many hundreds of charities and voluntary organisations. She will also be remembered by those who were closest to her, as a wife, a mother and grandmother." Benny Higgins, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, National Galleries of Scotland
Scotland played a special part in The Queen’s life. We were pleased to welcome her to our Galleries on many occasions during her reign. Her first visit as Monarch was back in in 1956 when she came to the Scottish National Gallery with HRH Prince Philip, a moment you can experience in the archive film shared on our social channels.
We are proud to hold in Scotland’s national collection many works depicting The Queen, and we will soon put one of these on display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
Our flags will fly at half-mast today as a mark of respect, and we will open books of condolence at each of our Galleries to allow our visitors to share their thoughts. Our galleries will close on the day of the funeral.
23 August 2022
Second public consultation opens on National Galleries of Scotland’s plans for major new facility in North Edinburgh
Ambitious plans by the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) to construct an important new building in Granton, North Edinburgh are gathering pace. The facility titled The Art Works will house Scotland’s extraordinary national art collection and make a major contribution to benefit and enhance the local community for the long term. A second public consultation on the proposals is now under way. It takes account of feedback received during a pre-planning consultation held in June 2022. The plans have been developed to acknowledge and respond where to community feedback on preferred routes for paths; to make the entrance area more open for multipurpose activities, and to improve access and storage for bicycles.
Members of the public are invited to share their views on the latest proposals by 16 September 2022, ahead of a full planning application being submitted to the City of Edinburgh Council in Autumn/Winter 2022.
The Art Works is being designed with a unique dual purpose. Firstly, it will be a base for more than 100,000 works of art to be cared for, conserved and researched. Secondly, the building will be a key focal point for community investment, pride and growth.
Located on a site west of Madelvic House on Granton Park Avenue, within one of Scotland’s most diverse yet socioeconomically deprived areas, The Art Works will be fully accessible and open to all. The building will offer world-class visitor facilities, rooms for education and community programmes, and new outdoor public spaces. Each of these elements will be designed to meet the needs of and help realise the spirit and ambition of the local community. Sir John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland said: “I wish to thank everyone who took part in the pre-planning consultation event for The Art Works earlier this summer. Their feedback has been crucial in helping refine our proposals to future-proof our collection facilities and deliver on the needs of the communities in North Edinburgh. This new consultation offers further opportunities for people to engage and together help us deliver a truly transformative building that works for all.”
Previously known as the National Collection Facility, proposals for a building of this kind have been in the early stages of concept development since 2015. Now known as The Art Works, the project aims to bring Scotland’s vast and extraordinary national art collection into a single future-proofed location.
At present the collection is stored across several sites where access and space are extremely limited, logistics are difficult, and conditions are suboptimal for enabling the full potential for public access, conservation and research to be realised; and also for allowing works to be made available for display and loan.
The Art Works will be instrumental in addressing each of these issues, enabling much greater access to and engagement with Scotland’s artistic treasures. The scope for touring the collection around Scotland and internationally will be greatly increased, meaning more people than ever before will be able to connect and engage with Scotland’s incredible artistic legacy.
As part of the Granton Waterfront project, which is adopting ambitious plans on low-carbon travel modes and energy-efficient new housing, The Art Works will play an important role in Scotland’s green recovery as the country's largest building designed to the Passivhaus standard, which goes beyond the requirements for meeting Scotland’s 2030 carbon reduction targets.
People can find out more about the proposals at an event on Tuesday 23 August 2022 from 3pm-7pm at granton:hub on Granton Park Avenue. In addition, an online question and answer session with the project team is planned for Wednesday 24 August 2022 between 5pm - 7pm. Further information on the proposals, including a comment form, can be found on the NGS website at www.nationalgalleries.org/theartworks.
Comments should be made by 16 September, when the consultation will close.
Notes to editors
Contact: [email protected]
Further information on the proposals can be found at www.nationalgalleries.org/theartworks
Hidden Van Gogh self-portrait discovered by National Galleries of Scotland
Free photography and film rushes can be downloaded via Dropbox.
Sensational find to go on display in Edinburgh this summer
The National Galleries of Scotland has discovered what is almost certainly a previously unknown self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh.
Believed to be a first for a UK institution, the mysterious image was revealed by an x-ray taken when art conservators examined Van Gogh’s Head of a Peasant Woman of 1885 ahead of the forthcoming exhibition A Taste for Impressionism (30 July–13 November) at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh. Visitors will be able to see the amazing x-ray image for the first time through a specially crafted lightbox at the centre of the display.
Hidden from view for over a century, the self-portrait is on the back of the canvas with Head of a Peasant Woman and is covered by layers of glue and cardboard. NGS experts believe these materials were applied ahead of an exhibition in the early twentieth century. Van Gogh often re-used canvases to save money. However, instead of painting over earlier works, he would turn the canvas around and work on the reverse.
It may be possible to uncover the hidden self-portrait, but the process of removing the glue and cardboard will require delicate conservation work. Research is ongoing as to how that can be done without harming Head of a Peasant Woman.
Until then, the world can enjoy the tantalising discovery through a ghostly and utterly compelling x-ray image. It shows a bearded sitter in a brimmed hat with a neckerchief loosely tied at the throat. He fixes the viewer with an intense stare, the right side of his face in shadow and his left ear clearly visible.
Professor Frances Fowle, Senior Curator of French Art at the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “Moments like this are incredibly rare. We have discovered an unknown work by Vincent van Gogh, one of the most important and popular artists in the world. What an incredible gift for Scotland, and one that will forever be in the care of the National Galleries. We are very excited to share this thrilling discovery in our big summer exhibition A Taste for Impressionism, where the x-ray image of the self-portrait will be on view for all to see.”
The condition of the underlying self-portrait is not known but, if it can be uncovered, it is expected to help shed new light on this enigmatic and beguiling artist. Later in date than the Head of a Peasant Woman, the hidden painting is likely to have been made during a key moment in Van Gogh’s career, when he was exposed to the work of the French impressionists after moving to Paris. The experience had a profound effect and was a major influence on why he adopted a more colourful and expressive style of painting – one that is so much admired today.
Head of a Peasant Woman entered the NGS collection in 1960, as part of the gift of an Edinburgh lawyer, Alexander Maitland, in memory of his wife Rosalind. Dating from an early period in Van Gogh’s career, the painting shows a local woman from the town of Nuenen in the south of the Netherlands, where the artist lived from December 1883 to November 1885.
Painted in March or April 1885, it seems to be a likeness of Gordina de Groot who was a model for Van Gogh’s early masterpiece The Potato Eaters of 1885 (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam). Her facial features, white cap and simple work clothes are sketched in oil, using broad brushstrokes and earthy colours typical of French realist artists such as Jean-François Millet, whom Van Gogh greatly admired.
In 1886 the artist moved to Paris to be closer to his brother Theo, who was an early supporter of the Impressionists. Exposed to the work of this revolutionary group of artists, Van Gogh lightened his palette and experimented with broken brushwork. At the studio of Fernand Cormon, where he took classes in painting, he met avant-garde artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Emile Bernard. He also encountered the work of Georges Seurat and Paul Gauguin, under whose influence he began to paint more expressively, using brighter colours.
In the summer of 1887 Van Gogh was experimenting with painting portraits, using friends and also himself as a model. Theo was out of town and unable to assist financially, so Van Gogh re-used canvases to save money. Van Gogh died in 1890 and his brother followed six months later, at which point the artist’s entire oeuvre was left to Theo’s widow, Jo Van Gogh-Bonger.
Probably around 1905, when the Peasant Woman was lent to an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the decision was made to stick the canvas down on cardboard prior to framing. At this date the Peasant Woman was evidently considered more ‘finished’ than the Van Gogh self-portrait. The painting changed hands several times and in 1923 was acquired by Evelyn St. Croix Fleming, whose son, Ian, became the creator of James Bond. It was not until 1951 that it came to Scotland, having entered the collection of Alexander and Rosalind Maitland.
Once revealed, the hidden self-portrait will be part of a group of several such self-portraits and other works painted on the back of earlier canvases from the Nuenen period. Five examples are in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Others in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut; and the Kunstmuseum Den Haag. Records in the Van Gogh Museum confirm that in 1929 the cardboard was removed from three of their Nuenen pictures by the Dutch restorer Jan Cornelis Traas, revealing the portraits on the verso.
Notes to editors
Contact [email protected] or call 0131 624 6247.
Free photography and film rushes can be downloaded via Dropbox.
More on the exhibition A Taste for Impressionism:
A TASTE FOR IMPRESSIONISM: MODERN FRENCH ART FROM MILLET TO MATISSE
30 July 2022 - 13 November 2022
Royal Scottish Academy
The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL
0131 624 6200 | nationalgalleries.org
Tickets: £12/10 Mon-Fri, £14/12 Sat-Sun and £15/13 August
A Taste for Impressionism at the Royal Scottish Academy will focus on the pioneering nineteenth-century Scottish collectors who had the foresight to invest in the avant-garde, with a stellar cast of artists represented including Monet, Gauguin and Van Gogh. While today a work by any of these names will fetch millions at auction, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries these artists were pilloried by the press and the prices for their paintings were surprisingly low. Many collectors were ‘new money’; individuals who had made their fortune from industry and were keen to acquire edgy works by modern and contemporary artists. Among them were several Scots who collected pieces by Degas, Monet, Pissarro and Cézanne well before their English counterparts. As the market for Impressionism began to thrive, a more sinister side industry in ‘fakes’ took hold. A Taste for Impressionism will include a few of these counterfeit works, one of which will remain unidentified to test visitors’ powers of discernment. The exhibition will run from 30 July 2022 - 13 November 2022 and is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
16 June 2022
Scottish National Gallery Project set for Summer 2023 completion
A transformative project to deliver an inspiring new space for Scotland’s renowned collection of Scottish art has passed a series of crucial milestones and the main construction work is on track to complete this winter. With all the major engineering challenges now successfully overcome, the project is entering its final phase. This means that members of the public can look forward to experiencing a brand-new suite of world-class galleries at the Scottish National Gallery in the summer of 2023.
The Scottish National Gallery Project will create a beautiful space for Scotland’s art right in the historic heart of Edinburgh, with striking displays drawn from the National Galleries of Scotland’s (NGS) broad-ranging collection alongside special loans from other leading arts institutions. Large windows will offer spectacular light-filled views across Princes Street Gardens, inviting visitors to come in and discover the work of pioneering Scottish artists such as Phoebe Anna Traquair, William McTaggart, Anne Redpath, Sir Henry Raeburn and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Stunning exhibition spaces will enable visitors to experience Scotland’s greatest art anew and feel pride in their national collection. Scotland’s artistic legacy will be revealed through innovative presentations, with much-loved Scottish Colourist paintings appearing among other major works from the first half of the twentieth century, bringing to life key aspects of Scottish art and society. New ways of looking at Scotland’s built and natural environments will be on offer, with early photographs of Scotland’s cities shown in the same spaces as grand paintings of majestic Highland and island landscapes. Reimagined displays of drawings and sketches will celebrate artists such as Glasgow Style pioneer Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh and David Allan, whose depictions of ‘Edinburgh Characters’ will allow visitors to get up close to street life in the capital in the late eighteenth century.
The teams working on the Scottish National Gallery project have been dealing with an incredibly challenging location, situated within a World Heritage Site which comprises an iconic A-listed nineteenth-century building with several major modern additions from the late 1960s onwards. The creation of new Gallery spaces has entailed extensive excavation underneath the existing building and its setting on the Mound. Unexpected remnants from previous developments added significant complexity to the building work. These include deeply buried layers of dense concrete and other undocumented obstructions which had to be extracted before major waterproofing works could be completed to protect the new development for the future. In addition, the location of a key area of the site directly above the three Mound rail tunnels, some of the busiest in Scotland, posed distinct logistical challenges. These challenges have all now been successfully overcome and the construction work is entering its final phase.
Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, Sir John Leighton, said: “We are excited to be looking forward to a summer 2023 opening for the magnificent new spaces that will be delivered by the Scottish National Gallery Project. They will enable our visitors to discover and enjoy Scotland’s greatest art in a fully accessible suite of world-class facilities right in the centre of Edinburgh. Reaching this stage has been no mean feat, given the unique set of construction challenges faced by the Project all within the very difficult context of the global pandemic. With these now largely overcome, our attention can now focus on preparing the new Galleries for a joyous and celebratory unveiling next year.”
While construction has been ongoing, a wide programme of engagement and outreach for the Project has also been delivered, taking in schools in Fife, Orkney and West Lothian, social groups for older people experiencing loneliness in Edinburgh, and youth groups in the Borders. Digital activity has further extended the reach of the Project through a rich and engaging series of videos about star works of art from the Scottish collection, and a painstaking monumental conservation project gripped online audiences during lockdown.
The first phase of the Scottish National Gallery Project was completed successfully in 2019. This included a new entrance area in East Princes Street Gardens, a new café, refurbished restaurant and shop, an elegant sandstone terrace, and new landscaping and paths to improve access to the gardens and the Galleries.
The Scottish National Gallery remains open to visitors, with many works of major international importance on show such as Sir Edwin Landseer’s Monarch of the Glen and Sir Henry Raeburn’s Reverend Robert Walker (1755 - 1808), famously known as ‘The Skating Minister’. Visitor offers include a free and specially created Smartify audio tour which focuses on collection highlights and a family trail.
The vision for the Scottish National Gallery Project, which got underway in October 2018, has been driven by the National Galleries’ ambition to ensure that the widest number of people can discover and enjoy our art and activities. The displays in the new galleries will be directly informed by extensive research into the needs of existing and potential audiences.
View a fly-through animation of the Scottish National Gallery Project and visit our website hub to discover more stories about the project.
15 June 2022
Young Ukrainian refugees gifted art packs by the National Galleries of Scotland
A selection of free-use images are available to download via this Dropbox link. Please credit Roberto Ricciuti.
Three thousand art packs for refugees and asylum seekers have been made by the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Intended as a warm welcome to people arriving in Scotland who have fled conflict or persecution, they are being gifted in partnership with several charities and local authorities.
A large group of Ukrainian children and young people recently picked up their packs at an art workshop at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Organised by NGS and Dnipro Kids, a charity which supports orphanage children from Ukraine, activities across the day included an introduction to painting with their new watercolour sets, clay sculpture making and exploring the gallery spaces.
Thousands of the packs have been shared among other charities, including Aberlour Scottish Guardianship Service, Scottish Refugee Council, SCOREscotland, Cyrenians and The Welcoming. Local authorities across the country have also assisted in distributing the art materials to refugees and asylum seekers in their areas.
The packs contain 10 high-quality postcards showing artworks from the national collection, specially chosen for the children and young people receiving the packs. The images were selected with the intention of providing hope, to spark their curiosity and to introduce them to Scottish culture. For instance, Una and the Lion (c. 1860) by William Bell Scott draws on the story of a brave young girl undertaking a frightening journey on her own. The packs also contain a sketchbook, pencil, colouring pens, a watercolour set and paint brush.
Sir John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: "It is a privilege for the National Galleries of Scotland to play a small part in extending a warm welcome to the people who will receive the art packs, and we very much hope they enjoy getting creative with them. We are also grateful to the charity and local authority partners who are helping us with distribution. We would welcome hearing from other such organisations should they be interested in requesting art packs for their beneficiaries."
Steven Carr, Chair of Dnipro Kids said: “We’re very grateful to the National Galleries for their help. This art packs and visit have been wonderfully stimulating for the kids, who have enjoyed themselves immensely. The welcome and kindness from the people of Scotland continues to amaze us all, and this is another example of how people have opened their hearts to our group.”
Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery said; “We are pleased that players of People Postcode Lottery support the National Galleries of Scotland in extending a warm welcome to children and young people forced to flee from danger in their home countries. We hope the art packs offer all recipients the opportunity to spend some time getting creative as they settle in here in Scotland.”
Notes to editors
For more information contact [email protected]
Dnipro Kids is a registered charity established in 2005 to support orphanage children from Ukraine. The charity was established after fans of Hibernian FC visited an orphanage in the city when their club was taking part in a Europa League match.
1 June 2022
National Galleries of Scotland seeks views on plans for transformative major development in North Edinburgh
A public consultation has started on ambitious plans by the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) to construct a vitally important new building in Granton, North Edinburgh. Titled The Art Works, the facility will house Scotland’s extraordinary national art collection and provide a significant, long-term contribution to benefit and enhance the local community for years to come.
Located at the heart of one of Scotland’s most diverse yet socioeconomically deprived areas, The Art Works has a unique dual purpose at its core: firstly, as a base for more than 100,000 works of art to be cared for, conserved and researched; and secondly as a key focal point for community investment, pride and growth. The building will by fully accessible and open to all, offering world-class visitor facilities, rooms for education and community programmes, and new outdoor public spaces – all designed to meet the needs of and help realise the huge potential of the local community.
Previously known as the National Collection Facility, proposals for a building of this kind have been in the early stages of concept development since 2015. Now known as The Art Works, the project aims to bring Scotland’s vast and extraordinary national art collection into a single future-proofed location.
At present the collection is stored across several sites where access and space are extremely limited, logistics are difficult, and conditions are suboptimal for enabling the full potential for public access, conservation and research to be realised; and also for allowing works to be made available for display and loan. The Art Works will be instrumental in addressing each of these issues, enabling much greater access to and engagement with Scotland’s artistic treasures. The scope for touring the collection around Scotland and internationally will be greatly increased, meaning more people than ever before will be able to connect and engage with Scotland’s incredible artistic legacy.
Sir John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland said: “This is an incredibly exciting moment for both the National Galleries of Scotland and the communities of North Edinburgh. The Art Works has the potential to be truly transformative, not only in how Scotland’s national collection of art is cared for and shared more widely, but also by providing much needed new facilities to unleash the creative confidence and spirit of the local area. I would encourage everyone to get involved in the consultation and together help design a major new building in Granton that will work for and provide inspiration to all.”
As part of the Granton Waterfront project, which is adopting ambitious plans on low-carbon travel modes and energy-efficient new housing, The Art Works will play an important role in Scotland’s green recovery as the country’s largest building designed to the Passivhaus standard, which goes beyond the requirements for meeting Scotland’s 2030 carbon reduction targets.
The Art Works will be located on a site west of Madelvic House on Granton Park Avenue. The project is at the pre-planning application consultation stage which enables members of the public to share their views on the proposals. These will be considered before NGS proceeds to submit a full planning application.
People can find out more about the proposals at an event on Monday 6 June 2022 from 3pm-7pm at Edinburgh College (Granton Campus). In addition, an online question and answer session with the project team is planned for Tuesday 7 June 2022 between 5pm7pm. Further information on the proposals, including a survey and FAQs, can be found on the NGS website at www.nationalgalleries.org/theartworks. Comments should be made by 1 July 2022, when the consultation will close.
Notes to editors
Contact: [email protected]
Further information on the proposals, including a survey and FAQs, can be found at www.nationalgalleries.org/theartworks
26 April 2022
Major Impressionist exhibition will reveal Scotland's starring role in rise of modern art phenomenon
The remarkable story of how Scotland became home to one of the world’s greatest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art will be celebrated in a major National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) exhibition this summer.
A Taste for Impressionism: Modern French art from Millet to Matisse (30 July – 13 November 2022) will explore how visionary Scottish collectors in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries invested in what were then innovative and radical artworks. World famous paintings by a stellar cast including Van Gogh, Degas and Gauguin will feature throughout, offering visitors a rare chance to delve into a fascinating yet little-known aspect of Scotland’s cultural history. Other highlights will include seven works by Claude Monet from across his career and, for the first time, the full set of Matisse’s vibrant Jazz prints.
While today a painting by the great Impressionists and Post-Impressionists will fetch millions at auction, artists associated with the movements were at first mocked in the press, and the prices paid for their works were surprisingly low. Among the few collectors who had the foresight to buy what were then edgy works of art were a handful of Scottish tastemakers who snapped up pieces by the likes of Degas, Monet, Pissarro and Cézanne, often well before their English counterparts. Several of these individuals were ‘new money’ having become rich through shipbuilding and textiles.
As the market for Impressionism began to thrive, a sinister side industry in ‘fakes’ took hold, culminating in two major scandals in the early 1930s around the forging of works by Millet and Van Gogh. In keeping with the true spirit of the age, A Taste for Impressionism will include some counterfeit works which will remain unidentified to test visitors’ powers of discernment.
Among the exhibition highlights will be several of NGS’s world-class holdings, such as Gauguin’s Vision of the Sermon and Degas’s Portrait of Diego Martelli, as well as pre-Impressionist masterpieces such as Pissarro’s The Marne at Chennevières. The fact that works of such renown and quality are held in Scotland is down to two chance factors—a series of innovative purchases by previous NGS directors in the first half of the twentieth century, and the generosity of benefactors such as Sir Alexander and Rosalind Maitland—both reflecting the enlightened state of Scottish taste in the inter-war period and beyond.
A large number of early collectors of Impressionism were women, including the champion yachtswoman Elizabeth Workman, who was brought up in Helensburgh. Described by the artist Percy Wyndham Lewis as ‘one of the only people in England to understand French art’ her reputation as a collector has been overshadowed by men such as Samuel Courtauld, who created a dedicated museum in his own name. A Taste for Impressionism will reaffirm the role of Workman and other women who have to date been overlooked in this context. In doing so, visitors will be able to glimpse the affluent and cultured lifestyles of individuals such as Indian-born newspaper editor Rachel Beer, known as ‘the first Lady of Fleet Street’ and the flamboyant socialite Eve Fleming, whose son was the creator of James Bond.
Professor Frances Fowle, Senior Curator of French Art at the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “The Impressionist era is one of the most compelling periods in art history. It gave rise to a host of artists who are now considered among the very best, despite being largely dismissed by the establishment of their time. Several Scottish art collectors were well ahead of their time in acquiring modern French works. We are thrilled to be telling their story for the first time through A Taste for Impressionism, an exhibition which we hope will delight and inspire our visitors.”
A Taste for Impressionism will span the entire exhibition space of the Royal Scottish Academy building, charting how Impressionism emerged from the indulgence of the Romantic period to become a bona fide radical movement, through to the price-shattering auction phenomenon it is today. In total there will be around 120 paintings, sculptures and works on paper taken from the NGS collection, as well as loans from Glasgow Museums, Tate, Aberdeen Art Gallery, Berwick Museum and private collections.
Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “We are thrilled that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting National Galleries of Scotland to tell the fascinating story of how a group of radical art lovers made Scotland home to one of the world’s most impressive collections of Impressionist art. We are sure that this exciting exhibition, featuring works by many of the world’s most beloved artists, will appeal to a broad audience and we hope as many visitors as possible make it along.”
A stunning book The Impressionist Era accompanies the exhibition, offering readers and visitors an introduction to the art of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. Written by Professor Fowle, one of the foremost experts in the field, it explores these artistic movements in the context of the history of collecting. Colourful and vibrant illustrations help tell the fascinating stories of how key paintings and drawings found their way into Scotland’s national collection. Artists covered include Monet, Millet, Gauguin, Bastien-Lepage, Charles Jacque, Troyon, Corot, Degas, Seurat, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Vuillard, Bonnard, Derain, Matisse, Legros and Rodin.
Notes to Editors
For interview and image requests, please contact [email protected]
29 March 2022
Scotland’s largest ever Barbara Hepworth exhibition to open at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life
9 April 2022 – 2 October 2022
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two)
Tickets: £13/11 Mon-Fri, £14/12 Sat-Sun and £15/13 August
Free-use press images and credit lines are available to download via this Dropbox link.
The largest exhibition of work by Barbara Hepworth (1903 - 1975) to be presented in Scotland will take place at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two). Comprising more than 130 artworks, Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life will offer a comprehensive overview of the Yorkshire artist’s career, covering key events in her personal life, her involvement with avant-garde art movements and her wide range of interests. Running from 9 April to 2 October 2022, the exhibition will include many of Hepworth’s most celebrated sculptures, several of which have never been displayed in Scotland before.
Organised by The Hepworth Wakefield in collaboration with the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh and Tate St Ives, Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life will allow visitors to discover more about one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. The exhibition will present a range of pivotal works including: modern abstract carvings that launched Hepworth onto the art scene in the 1930s; iconic string sculptures made during the 1940s and 1950s, and large-scale bronze sculptures from later in her career. Key loans from national public collections will be shown alongside works from private collections, as well as rarely seen drawings and paintings. Also in focus will be Hepworth’s diverse interests, encompassing music, dance, science, space exploration, politics and religion.
Exhibition highlights will include:
- Some of the artist’s earliest-known paintings, carvings and life drawings.
- The artist’s first ever set of prints, a series of lithographs made in 1969.
- Mother and Child (1934) - a work created when Hepworth was pregnant with triplets and a key indicator of the development of abstraction in her practice, in part influenced by her travels to Paris in 1932 when she visited the studios of leading avant-garde figures including Jean Arp, Constantin Brancusi and Pablo Picasso.
- A rare example of Hepworth’s first coloured stringed sculptures in plaster, made during World War Two, a period when sculptural materials were scarce.
- A series of works known as Hepworth’s 'Hospital drawings', showing surgeons at work in the early days of the National Health Service. These works capture her belief in unifying mental and physical existence to create a productive and positive society.
- A group of works which reveal the influence of the space age on Hepworth, including Disc with Strings (Moon) (1969), made in the same year as the first moon landing.
National Galleries of Scotland Director of Modern and Contemporary Art, Simon Groom, said: “We are thrilled to be hosting this extraordinary Barbara Hepworth retrospective, the largest ever shown in Scotland. Not only will it present a rich and detailed insight into her practice, it will also allow visitors to get to know so much more about the varied interests and motivations of a truly brilliant modern artist. We are grateful to our colleagues at The Hepworth Wakefield for their support and we cannot wait to share the exhibition with as many visitors as possible.”
Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life was curated by Eleanor Clayton in 2021 to mark The Hepworth Wakefield’s 10th anniversary. The exhibition will travel to Tate St Ives in November 2022 after its presentation at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
The exhibition’s curator, Eleanor Clayton, of The Hepworth Wakefield said: “I'm delighted that this exhibition celebrating the art and interests of Barbara Hepworth is going to be shown all over the UK, from Scotland to St Ives, so that many more people get to experience the full breadth of Hepworth's work and incredible legacy."
This exhibition would not be possible without the support of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
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When: Friday 8 April, 11am – 1pm
Where: The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two), 73 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DS.
Who: Eleanor Clayton (Curator at The Hepworth Wakefield), Simon Groom (Director of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Galleries of Scotland), Leila Riszko (Assistant Curator at the National Galleries of Scotland), and Patrick Elliott (Chief Curator at the National Galleries of Scotland)
RSVP: [email protected].
Email [email protected] to arrange interview slots with guests.
7 March 2022
Modern Scottish identity explored in new photography exhibition inspired by Scotland's Census
12 March – 25 September 2022
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Free, advance booking recommended
A selection of free images and captions are available via this Dropbox link.
A striking photography exhibition titled Counted: Scotland’s Census 2022 will open at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery on 12 March 2022, ahead of Scotland’s Census. Running until 25 September 2022, this expansive display will celebrate the varied make-up of past and present Scottish society. Thought-provoking projects by contemporary photographers which explore themes of ethnicity, sexuality, and occupation in Scotland will be included in Counted: Scotland’s Census 2022.
Drawing on the National Galleries of Scotland’s rich photographic collections, this free exhibition considers the complexities around the notion of identity in the year of Scotland’s Census, which takes place every ten years. Counted: Scotland’s Census 2022 will also present nineteenth-century photography alongside contemporary acquisitions, offering comparisons between the experiences of past and present generations of Scots. Among these, are Hill and Adamson’s portraits of the fishing community in Newhaven, Edinburgh, which are some of the earliest photographs ever taken of working men and women. Through their portraits, we see how working life in Scotland has vastly changed since the 1840s.
A variety of new photographs representing a diverse range of sitters will be on display for the very first time since they were acquired by the Galleries. These include portraits of Pakistani and Polish communities who have been in Scotland for generations to newly settled refugees living in Glasgow. Many of these acquisitions have been made possible with the generous support of Art Fund.
Highlights of Counted: Scotland’s Census 2022 include:
- Captivating shots which raise awareness of the complexities that people from a mixed-race background face growing up in Scotland. Taken from Kim Simpson’s series Girls and their Mothers, her photographs challenge perceptions of what a Scottish family might look like.
- Recent additions to Kieran Dodds’ arresting series Gingers. Dodds’ photography project showcases the diversity of appearance amongst red-headed people in Scotland and beyond. Begun in the lead up to the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum, it speaks to his interest in clichés of Scottish national identity, and the difficulties in assuming someone’s heritage based on appearance.
- Portraits from Arpita Shah’s body of work titled Purdah, The Sacred Cloth, which depicts women from Muslim and Hindu communities living in Scotland, who practice the tradition of head covering, or veiling.
- A moving portrait of an asylum seeker, one of the last residents of an abandoned Glasgow tower block. Taken from Chris Leslie’s series Disappearing Glasgow, which documents harrowing stories of the people on the frontline of the city’s extensive demolition and regeneration programme.
Louise Pearson, Curator, said:
“This exhibition is about celebrating who we are – what we have in common and what makes us unique. In the year of Scotland’s Census, we are delighted to be showing a wealth of new acquisitions that reflect the wonderful diversity of people living in Scotland.”
Jenny Waldman, director of Art Fund, said:
“The juxtaposition of nineteenth-century photography with contemporary portraits in this exhibition provides a fascinating opportunity to examine and reflect on ideas around Scottish identity. Art Fund is delighted to have supported through a New Collecting Award the acquisition of new works that celebrate and represent the diversity of Scotland’s population.”
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About Art Fund
Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. It provides millions of pounds every year to help museums to acquire and share works of art across the UK, further the professional development of their curators, and inspire more people to visit and enjoy their public programmes. In response to Covid-19 Art Fund made £3.6 million in urgent funding available to support museums through reopening and beyond, including Respond and Reimagine grants to help meet immediate need and reimagine future ways of working. A further £2 million has been made available in 2021 for Reimagine projects. Art Fund is independently funded, supported by the 130,000 members who buy the National Art Pass, who enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic places, 50% off major exhibitions, and receive Art Quarterly magazine. Art Fund also supports museums through its annual prize, Art Fund Museum of the Year. The winner of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021 is Firstsite in Colchester.
4 February 2022
New members appointed to the Board of the National Galleries of Scotland
The Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, Neil Gray, today announced the appointments of Apphia Campbell, Gemma Gray, James McConville, Professor Katherine Sang and Dawn Thomson as Members of the Board of National Galleries of Scotland (NGS).
Apphia Campbell graduated from Florida International University with a BFA in theatre performance. In 2013, she wrote her critically acclaimed piece, ‘Black Is The Color Of My Voice’ which opened in Shanghai to rave reviews before performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2014 and touring the UK. In 2017, her show with Meredith Yarbrough, ‘Woke’, was presented as part of the Made In Scotland Showcase and won a Scotsman Fringe First, a Highly Commended award from Amnesty International and was shortlisted for The Filipa Bragança Award and Scottish Art Club Theatre Award. In 2019, she received her first commission from the BBC for a children’s story and also wrote for the National Theatre of Scotland. She joined the Board of the Edinburgh Fringe Society in 2020.
Gemma Gray is a strategic marketing and communications consultant who works across a range of sectors. She started her career at Saatchi & Saatchi London and has over twenties years’ experience in advertising, marketing and branding. During that time she worked for clients such as Johnson & Johnson, VisitScotland and the National Trust of Scotland. Gemma is passionate about the social, cultural and emotional importance that galleries and museums play within society and has a particular interest in public benefit and widening access to all.
James McConville has significant experience in financial services, group strategy and transformation. His career has been spent in financial services in both banking and insurance. He is a Non-Executive Director of Aviva Plc, a leading savings, retirement and insurance business and a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.
Katherine Sang is Professor of Gender Employment Studies at Heriot Watt University, specialising in co-designing workplace solutions to creating inclusive and accessible workplaces for marginalised people. She has a particular interest in improving the working lives of women, neurodivergent people and those with long-term health conditions. Through working with employers across the public, private, third sectors and trade unions, Kate's work has created positive change for marginalised workers. She is an Academic Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) and delivers teaching and training on Human Resources management. She is also a member of the Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel for the Research Excellence Framework 2021, the Equality and Diversity Committee of the Law Society of Scotland, and the Association of Research Managers.
Dawn Thomson is a therapist, coach and TEDx speaker who works in a private practice in Edinburgh. She previously worked in the graphic design industry for fifteen years, before retraining and holds a degree in Visual Communication from the Edinburgh College of Art. As a native Londoner with a Caribbean heritage, Dawn is committed to supporting NGS in its goal of inclusivity and art for all.
The appointments will be for four years. Apphia Campbell, Professor Katherine Sang and James McConville commenced their appointments on 24 January 2022 until 23 January 2026. Gemma Gray and Dawn Thomson will commence their appointment on 1 October 2022 until 30 September 2026.
The appointments are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.
25 January 2022
Ambitious and expansive new work by Amie Siegel to debut at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in March 2022
The National Galleries of Scotland have commissioned and acquired a major new artwork by the internationally renowned artist Amie Siegel. Bloodlines (2022) is the first of the American artist’s works to enter Scotland’s national collection and will debut at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One) from the 12 March 2022.
Bloodlines is an expansive moving image artwork in which Siegel eloquently and poetically considers complex networks of art, pedigree and cultural identification. Filmed in numerous private estates across the UK, including on the Isle of Bute, as well as at public institutions, Bloodlines offers an intimate look into the world of cultural property, exploring the ownership of heritage and distinctions between private and public realms. One of Siegel’s most ambitious works to date, Bloodlines exemplifies the artist’s understated mastery of form, revealing systems of class and inherited wealth, while subtly suggesting colonialism’s role in establishing and perpetuating these structures.
Siegel has long been interested in the lives of artworks and objects—how they gain cultural meaning and value. Bloodlines follows the loan and movement of paintings by the English artist George Stubbs (1724-1806) from aristocratic homes and private estates to their exhibition in a public art gallery, and subsequent return to their home locations. The Stubbs paintings are first depicted within the lavish décor and stillness of the stately home interiors, then take on a new appearance and presence when installed by museum workers and seen on gallery walls by a viewing public.
Siegel uses juxtaposition, contrast, and repetition to create a rich constellation of images and ideas, allowing the resulting narrative to unfold associatively in the viewer’s consciousness. Motifs such as flowers, fireplaces, dogs, horses, and other creatures and patterns of action build and echo throughout the work, accruing meaning. The viewer thus becomes aware of distinctions between interior and exterior worlds, as well as the absence and presence of people; stillness and movement; animate beings and inanimate objects; images of past and present; reality and artifice. A sense of empathy is conveyed, as viewers encounter a cast of human and animal protagonists.
Ultimately, Siegel’s controlled and evocative stagecraft—carefully composed tracking shots, exquisite framing, precise editing, and compelling rhythm—exposes the dual processes of image-making and looking. Her deliberate execution of Bloodlines, using a seductive cinematic language, mirrors both the expressive surfaces of Stubbs’ paintings and the sumptuous interiors and grounds of the stately homes that helped provide his very subjects. In this way, she directs our gaze, and opens a window onto visions of cultural identity held tightly within the frameworks that fix its imagery, just as the surrounding world changes around us.
Simon Groom, Director of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “This is an incredibly important acquisition of a new work by Amie Siegel, an artist of international renown who has long been on our wish list. Filmed entirely in the UK, this beautiful and compelling work is exemplary of Siegel’s uncanny ability to consider and observe the lives of objects and their settings to profound and moving ends. While taking the particular contexts in which paintings by Stubbs have been collected, cared for and exhibited as her starting point, the themes Siegel explores in Bloodlines are universal. The work offers an exquisite meditation on time and place, and how social structures are defined and understood, ideas which resonate in our contemporary world. We are thrilled to be premiering the work, and proud to give Bloodlines a permanent home in Scotland’s national collection.”
The work has been acquired by National Galleries of Scotland thanks to the generosity of Art Fund and the Contemporary Art Society, whose contributions supported the production of the work, alongside additional production support from Princess Grace Foundation, New York and PALOMAR. Bloodlines will be on display at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One) from 12 March 2022 as part of the exhibition New Arrivals: from Salvador Dalí to Jenny Saville. It will also be on display at Thomas Dane Gallery, London, from 26 April 2022.
Notes to Editors
For interview and image requests, please contact [email protected]
Amie Siegel (b. 1974, Chicago, USA) has received widespread acclaim for astute and conceptually rigorous artworks that embrace moving image, installation, photography, painting, and performance. Her layered, meticulously constructed works trace and perform the undercurrents of systems of value, cultural ownership and image-making. Recent solo exhibitions include Medium Cool, Blaffer Art Museum, Houston; Winter, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; Strata, South London Gallery; Ricochet, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart; Double Negative, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich and Provenance, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Group exhibitions include the 34th São Paulo Bienal, Gwangju Biennial; Dhaka Art Summit; CAPC Bordeaux; Witte de With, Rottderdam; Vancouver Art Gallery; MuMA, Melbourne; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; MAXXI Museum, Rome; Hayward Gallery, London; CCA Wattis, San Francisco; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, among many others. Her work is in public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Tate Modern, London;, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Find out more about Amie Siegel on the Thomas Dane Gallery website.
Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. It provides millions of pounds every year to help museums to acquire and share works of art across the UK, further the professional development of their curators, and inspire more people to visit and enjoy their public programmes. In response to Covid-19 Art Fund made £3.6 million in urgent funding available to support museums through reopening and beyond, including Respond and Reimagine grants to help meet immediate need and reimagine future ways of working. A further £2 million has been made available in 2021 for Reimagine projects. Art Fund is independently funded, supported by Art Partners, donors, trusts and foundations and the 130,000 members who buy the National Art Pass, who enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic places, 50% off major exhibitions, and receive Art Quarterly magazine. Art Fund also supports museums through its annual prize, Art Fund Museum of the Year. The winner of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021 is Firstsite in Colchester.
The Contemporary Art Society
The Contemporary Art Society champions the collecting of outstanding contemporary art and craft in the UK. Since 1910 the charity has donated thousands of works by living artists to museums, from Picasso, Bacon, Hepworth and Moore in their day, through to the influential artists of our times. Sitting at the heart of cultural life in the UK, the Contemporary Art Society brokers philanthropic support for the benefit of museums and their audiences across the entire country. Their work ensures that the story of art continues to be told now and for future generations.