York Art Gallery: Date for reopening and first exhibitions revealed

Chief executive of York Museums Trust Janet Barnes outside York Art Gallery. Photograph: Richard McDougall
30 Mar 2015 @ 10.03 am
| News

Some of the great names in art will have a beautiful new home when the York Art Gallery reopens this summer after an £8 million redevelopment.

The renovated and extended gallery on Exhibition Square will throw open its doors on Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Yorkshire Day.

It will be a big moment for a city bereft of its main gallery since it closed in 2013.

New commissions, Old Masters and more than 2,000 ceramic works will feature in the new displays.

York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square

Open daily after August 1: 10am-5pm

Admission TBC

York Art Gallery

An exhibition curated and created by Mark Hearld will be shown in the Upper North Gallery, while works by David Hockney, Stanley Spencer, Paul Nash and LS Lowry will feature in the Burton Gallery.

The gallery’s collection of Italian Old Masters will be displayed alongside substantial new research in The Madsen Gallery (previously called the Main Gallery).

They will be complemented by loans from major public collections.

The reopening of the gallery will also create a further 11 full time jobs.

Wall Of Pots

The launch of the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) will showcase more than 2,000 works including a 17 metre long Wall Of Pots which will be displayed by colour to create a rainbow effect. There will be a major new commission by renowned ceramist Clare Twomey.

Jennifer Alexander, curator of art, said the opening displays would showcase the gallery’s permanent collections alongside “significant loans and thought provoking commissions”.

She said:

The Lycett Green collection of Italian Old Masters are what truly sets York apart as a regional gallery and this new research will reveal some fascinating new findings about some of the works.

This collection will be contrasted with modern and contemporary art from some of the most significant artists of the last 100 years plus new work created by the well-known York artist Mark Hearld.

The exhibitions will make use of the 60 per cent more exhibition space created by the £8 million development of the gallery.

New gardens and more

An artists’ garden is being created at the rear of the gallery in a space previously closed to the public, linking to the existing York Museum Gardens.

The development will also include:

  • A second entrance at the rear of the gallery into the new area of the York Museum Gardens
  • Better visitor facilities including new café, shop, toilets and lift
  • A new learning room on the first floor
  • Much improved storage for the collections.

What you can see

The Madsen Galleries

The new suite of three galleries on the ground floor are named after brother and sister Peter and Karen Madsen, who left their £2.2 million estate to York Art Gallery.

The galleries’ opening displays include:

Highlights of the Lycett Green Collection by Italian Old Masters, The gallery’s own works by artists such as Bernardo Daddi, Bernardino Fungai and Parmigianino will be complimented by significant loans from major public collections and contemporary commissions. Dating from the 14th to the 18th century.

An exhibition of some of the best images of York. Spanning 300 years, this display of paintings, prints and drawings from the art gallery’s collection will show off our city at its best.

It will also feature all 13 works that were commissioned in the 1950s as part of the Evelyn Award, including the famous work of Clifford’s Tower by LS Lowry.

European Old Master paintings. The display will include Dutch and Flemish paintings by artists such as Frans Snyders, Anthony Van Dyck and Jan van Os from the Lycett Green collection, juxtaposed with contemporary works from the collection.

The Burton Gallery

Some of the gallery’s most famous Victorian, modern and contemporary works will be on show, including pieces by Walter Sickert, Sir Stanley Spencer, David Bomberg, Paul Nash, David Hockney, Sarah Lucas and Henri Fantin-Latour.

It will also showcase work by York’s most famous artist William Etty and Richard Jack‘s The Return to the Front, which was voted the gallery’s most popular work.

The North Gallery Upper

The exhibition The Lumber Room: Unimagined Treasures, is curated and created by York based artist Mark Hearld. It will feature objects from across York Museums Trust’s collections, including oil paintings, works on paper, taxidermy and social history.

Mark will also create new work in response to the objects including individually decorated ceramic slip cast horses made in response to the Leeds Horses in the collection.

The Centre of Ceramic Art

CoCA will be housed in two new spaces created within York Art Gallery – the mezzanine level in the original Victorian Roof Void and a newly built gallery above the Madsen Galleries. Together they make up 450m squared of exhibition space.

On the mezzanine level highlights of gallery’s British Studio Ceramic collection, the largest in the world, will be shown.

It will include the collections of The Very Reverend Dean Milner-White, W.A. Ismay, Henry Rothschild and Anthony Shaw with works by Bernard Leach, William Staite Murray, Michael Cardew, Lucie Rie, Hans Coper and Felicity Aylieff.

The second CoCA space will house the 17m long Wall Of Pots, displayed by colour to create a giant rainbow effect.

The display will feature ceramics from across all our extensive ceramic collections, with works dating from pre-history to the present day.

And the gallery will also display the Anthony Shaw collection, on long term loan to York. It will be displayed in a domestic style setting, as it was previously shown in Shaw’s home in London.

A new commission by Clare Twomey will also be revealed to the public for the first time.