Writing in collaboration with Short Let London – providers of a range of short let London apartments perfect for basing your arty adventure from – is published writer, enthusiastic traveller and art lover, Maya Verber. Here she offers up her top picks when it comes to exploring London’s extensive art scene….
Art lovers are truly spoilt for choice for in London; from the high-profile galleries displaying world-famous masterpieces to chic, independent exhibitions with a difference, there is truly something for everyone in the UK’s capital city. Planning an arty trip? I’d recommend you set aside at least a few days, or even a week, to explore London’s art scene. The vast range of exhibitions, styles and galleries mean that to do it in any less time is to sell yourself short! Here are my favourite arty hotspots, to give you the best chance of finding your favourite during your time in London…
The Wallace Collection
This is a national museum that displays the remarkable collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century artworks owned by Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the 4th Marquess of Hertford. Works by Titan, Rembrandt, Hals and Velazquez are all available to view in this historic London town house, while free art classes, workshops, talks and tours truly bring these European artworks to life.
Johnny Van Haeften
At the other end of the spectrum lies Johnny Van Haeften, a small, independent gallery based in Mayfair. This gallery displays a collection of Dutch and Flemish Old Master paintings that rivals the National Gallery’s. Pore over magnificent works by Gerard Ter Borch and Jan Steen. Saturday visits are by appointment only here, so be sure to call and let the gallery know if you are planning to visit.
The Photographer’s Gallery
What about The Photographer’s Gallery, which is just off Oxford Street? An eclectic mix of renowned photographers and up-and-comers, this is a collection worth seeing. Upcoming exhibition, Home Truths explores the stereotypes surrounding motherhood and looks set to be amazing!
The Serpentine Gallery
The Serpentine Gallery, located in Kensington Gardens, is one of London’s most forward thinking art establishments. The focus lies on modern and contemporary art and the gallery has exhibited pieces by Man Ray, Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. Particularly worth viewing is this year’s Serpentine Pavilion. Each year, a different artist is chosen to design a temporary building for the lawn outside the gallery. This year’s offering comes in the form of a stunning lattice-like construction of steel poles by award-winning Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto.
The Tate Britain
The Tate Britain in Pimlico offers up a comprehensive collection of British art from 1500 to the present day – a great pick for those just discovering their artistic soul.
Not far away, just off Chelsea’s Kings Road, the Saatchi Gallery – which reopened in October 2008 – is still enjoying unrivalled success in showcasing young and upcoming artists. Current exhibition, Paper, which will run until early November, features the work of 47 artists, each of whom uses the medium of paper in a different way.
So, there you have it, the artiest guide to London around. While this list is no means exhaustive, it touches base with a whole range of galleries where you’ll not only be able to witness grandeur, but find out about the stories behind the pieces you so love. Enjoy London, art lovers, I know I will!