London Art Fair 2020 Museum Partner – Southampton City Art Gallery

London Art Fair 2020 Museum Partner

For the 2020 edition, London Art Fair partnered with Southampton City Art Gallery to present a selection of around 25 paintings and sculptures that demonstrate the strength of the City’s modern British and contemporary holdings.

Founded in 1911 with a bequest from Southampton Councillor Robert Chipperfield, and with a further bequest from Councillor Frederick William Smith in 1925, the collection today holds over 5,000 works covering six centuries of European art history and is considered one of the finest collections in the south of England.

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.

Following its 80th anniversary in 2019, Southampton City Art Gallery exhibited at London Art Fair in January 2020 to showcase a selection of 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.

In the Park (St James’ Park) , 1911, Drummond © Southampton City Art Gallery

The selection highlights the remarkable expansion of the collection over the last 80 years, which has helped to transform Southampton into a leading cultural destination boasting one of the finest collections in the south of England.

Highlights included The Floating Bridge by L.S. Lowry who visited Southampton in 1954, taking the chain ferry or ‘floating bridge’ across the River Itchen to the city centre. Lowry subsequently created two paintings of the floating bridge from memory, with this one being purchased by the Gallery in 1956. It remains one of the most popular paintings in the collection amongst Southampton residents.

Another highlight was 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.

Discover more about the London Art Fair here.

Loading Timber at Southampton Docks, by Christopher Nevinson
Loading Timber at Southampton Docks , 1917, Nevinson © Southampton City Art Gallery

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