Southampton City Art Gallery will exhibit a range of artworks from its collection at the 2020 edition of London Art Fair. The gallery’s collection currently holds more than 5,000 works spanning six centuries.

A steady stream of acquisitions, gifts and bequests have continued to grow this figure, with recent additions fueling having improved the site’s modern art offering and taken the tally of works by Turner Prize winners and nominees over 30.

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Southampton City Art Gallery
The Crescent Wing (2009) by Ben Johnson is part of the Southampton City Art Gallery collection thanks to Art Fund support © Ben Johnson, All rights reserved DACS, 2019

The works chosen to travel to the capital next year include pieces by L.S. Lowry, Stanley Spencer, Maggi Hambling, Christopher Le Brun and Bob and Roberta Smith. Le Brun asserted that the south coast gallery possesses “an exceptional collection that is particularly well balanced between historic and contemporary work.” It is, he continued, “an exemplar of civic collecting.”

The selected works, the gallery hopes, will highlight the substantial expansion of its collection over the last 80 years and mean that many more visitors consider Southampton an exciting arts destination.

Clare Mitchell, curator of art at Southampton City Art Gallery, said the opportunity to engage with London Art Fair audiences will allow the organisation to “shout even louder about its [the collection’s] importance, inspiring people to visit and discover its true merits in the narrative of art history.”

Councillor Satvir Kaur, cabinet member for Homes and Culture in Southampton, also referenced the boost this opportunity could give the city’s City of Culture 2025 bid. “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to show off some of the major highlights from our collection on a significant international stage,” she stated.

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