Exhibitions at the National Galleries of Scotland 2022

A world-first exhibition dedicated to sharing the remarkable story of Scotland’s key role in popularising modern French art is one of several highlights of the National Galleries of Scotland’s 2022 programme.

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, each of which will remain unidentified to test visitors’ powers of discernment. The exhibition will run from July 13 to November 30 2022.

Barbara Hepworth’s Totem

Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two) will chart the development of the artist’s practice, her involvement with multiple avant-garde art movements, and the events in her personal life which shaped her work. This major, career-spanning retrospective will be the largest exhibition of the artist’s work in Scotland.

On display will be some of her most celebrated works, including the modern abstract carvings that launched her career in the 1920s and 1930s, her iconic strung sculptures of the 1940s and 1950s, and later large-scale bronze and carved sculptures. Comprising more than 120 works including rarely seen drawings and paintings lent from public and private collections, the exhibition will bring insight to Hepworth’s wide-ranging interests, such as dance, theatre, music, religion, politics and science, showing how they infused her artistic practice.

Running from April 9 to October 2 2022, Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life is curated by Eleanor Clayton and organised by The Hepworth Wakefield in collaboration with the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate St Ives.

People, place and identity are the focus of two exhibitions at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2022, each exploring aspects of life in present day Scotland for a diverse range of communities and individuals.

Counted: Scotland’s Census 2022 will consider the varied make-up of past and present Scottish society. Running from March 12 to September 25 and drawing on the Galleries’ rich photographic collections, the exhibition will, in the year of Scotland’s Census, consider the complexities around the notion of identity, taking into account ethnicity, sexuality, occupation, and health.

Works on show will range from portraits of individuals, single parent families, Pakistani and Polish communities, refugees living in Glasgow and people living in Eigg, the first Scottish island to become owned by the local community through a buyout.

Danny North, Untitled, from the series As I Found Her – A Portrait of Eigg

Several new acquisitions from thought-provoking projects by contemporary photographers working in Scotland such as Arpita Shah, Danny North and Kieran Dodds will be presented alongside arresting nineteenth-century works by Thomas Annan and Hill and Adamson, offering comparisons between the experiences of past and present generations of Scots.

You Are Here 2022, also showing at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, will celebrate and share recent and ongoing collaborative projects between the Galleries and partner organisations across the country.

They include place-based initiatives with groups of young people in former mining towns, and life-affirming public art schemes in North Ayrshire. Running from February 5 – March 2023, You Are Here 2022 will explore the various ways that people can engage with art to bring benefits to their health and wellbeing, and explore their sense of identity and belonging. Coproduced artworks and other forms of content will be displayed alongside works from the Galleries’ permanent collection to amplify new voices and offer fresh views on contemporary Scotland.

The final upcoming programme highlight is the return of a wonderful tradition: the opening of Turner in January, an exhibition of the outstanding collection of Turner watercolours bequeathed in 1900 by Henry Vaughan (1809-1899).

Presented at the Scottish National Gallery, this much-loved annual display will open on New Year’s Day 2022 and run throughout the month of January. Once again it promises a special chance to experience the artist’s genius through a range of works, from subtle and meticulous ‘Monro School’ watercolours of the 1790s, such as Rye, Sussex and Lake Albano, to the spectacular Venetian views of 1840, such as The Piazzetta, Venice and Venice from the Laguna, which capture the drama and explosive skies of late summer Adriatic storms.

Salvador Dalí and Edward James, Lobster Telephone, 1938

Sir John Leighton, director general of the National Galleries of Scotland said: ‘These highlights from our 2022 programme offer tantalising moments of discovery for everyone. Whether that means getting close to some of the greatest Impressionist paintings in the world, or enjoying the work of Barbara Hepworth, one of the most important British artists of the 20th century, there is so much to look forward to across our Galleries.

‘As the country prepares to take part in the first Census for ten years, it feels apt to be focusing on Scotland’s diverse communities through both our Census-themed photography and You Are Here exhibitions. We very much look forward to sharing this exciting programme with our visitors.’

Completing the 2022 programme are current exhibitions at Modern One and Modern Two respectively: New Arrivals: from Salvador Dalí to Jenny Saville, a fascinating showcase of modern and contemporary art acquisitions by artists such as Damien Hirst, Jenny Saville and Pablo Picasso; and the critically-acclaimed show Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema celebrating the life, career and legacy of the late American filmmaker, which runs until 20 February.

The National Galleries of Scotland 2022 exhibitions programme is generously supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Find out more HERE.