Art Gallery York

After a major redevelopment and expansion creating 60% more display space, York Art Gallery reopened to the public on August 1, Yorkshire Day. The gallery looks out over Exhibition Square, created in 1879 for the second Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Exhibition inspired by the Great Exhibition of 1851.

As galleries threw open their doors to masked and distanced visitors, the question of how to make money remained a constant.

The Old Masters

There is a wide range of paintings at art gallery york, from 14th-century Italian gilt altarpieces to 17th-century Dutch moralities and 18th-century portraits. The collection also includes Victorian narratives and 20th-century works by artists like LS Lowry. There are also a number of drawings and watercolours, including a remarkable array of works by York’s own William Etty.

The gallery’s upcoming exhibition ‘Bloom’ brings together more than 100 botanical artworks to explore the role of flowers and plant life in our lives. The exhibition will feature a variety of family friendly artist led workshops and trails, as well as adult still life and life drawing sessions.

The Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA)

York has one of the most important collections of British studio ceramics in the country and CoCA is dedicated to displaying this extensive archive. Currently it features two gallery spaces with an exciting programme of changing exhibitions, informal learning opportunities and commissions.

The gallery also has a fascinating display celebrating women working with clay and a stunning new installation by Clare Twomey called ‘Manifest: 10,000 Hours’ which showcases the work of over 600 potters in a giant construction of 18,000 bowls – each of which represents an hour of labour.

A further exhibition called Small is Beautiful showcases the eclectic collection of William Alfred Ismay, who collected the work of Lucie Rie and other leading 20th century potters. The exhibition reveals Ismay’s life and passion for pottery as well as the way in which the collection was built up over his lifetime. The exhibition is accompanied by a wide range of family friendly art workshops, under 5s storytelling and fun trails around the display.

The Floral Collection

The Floral Collection celebrates nature with a range of botanically inspired works. This is complemented by floral jewellery, which has been designed to connect the wearer with the beauty and meaning of flowers.

The redeveloped gallery has 60% more exhibition space and features an Artists Garden, the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA), plus improved facilities and a lift. It also hosts a mix of touring and internal exhibitions of varying sizes and duration.

The York Art Gallery is located in Exhibition Square, a short walk from the medieval streets of Stonegate and Bootham Bar, the northern gateway on the city walls. It’s also a few minutes from York Minster, Northern Europe’s largest medieval cathedral and one of the UK’s finest examples of Gothic architecture. It’s also a 20-minute walk from York Railway Station. Visit their website to check for opening hours and more information.

The Etty Collection

In 1882 a local horse dealer bequeathed a collection of paintings to the gallery. It was the first time that a large group of works had been assembled for public display. Since then the gallery’s collections have grown enormously through gifts, bequests and purchases.

Located on Exhibition Square, the gallery is five minutes’ walk from York Minster and directly opposite Bootham Bar on the city walls. It is about a 20-minute walk from the train station.

The gallery holds a nationally important collection of work by Yorkshire artist William Etty (1787–1849). His works sparked polarised contemporary opinions. A statue of the artist stands outside the gallery. The museum also houses his remarkable sketchbooks, which are available online. The website was developed by the Department of History of Art and is an important resource for studying Etty’s art and legacy. It offers new insights into his painting practice and the controversies surrounding him. The site also includes recordings of students from the department interpreting individual paintings in the exhibition.

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