The Journey Behind a Loan Exhibition of National Scale – London: An Artistic Crossroads

LONDON | 25 MAY – 5 JULY 2024

For centuries, the UK’s creative energy, cultural diversity, rich heritage and culture of patronage have acted as compelling magnets for visitors and creatives alike. The nation has long been a cultural melting-pot for artists from around the world who, in their own unique ways, have revealed with each touch of brush, the impact of the dynamic environment in which they found themselves.

In celebration of its role in the artistic journeys of so many, Sotheby’s, in partnership with Art UK and twelve museums across the country, will stage a month-long exhibition, open to the public and free of charge, shining a spotlight on the UK as a centre of creative cross-pollination.

The exhibition, London: An Artistic Crossroads, will bring together an assemblage of remarkable works by artists who passed through or settled in the UK during their lifetime. The earliest of the works is a vivacious portrait by Flemish artist Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, who became one of the most sought-after portraitists in England during the 16th century. It is joined by a vibrant landscape by André Derain, for whom London was a place of explosive transformation, as well as an iconic Composition by Piet Mondrian who, out of fear of German invasion and encouraged by Ben Nicholson, left Paris for Hampstead in 1938. Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and Dame Lucie Rie are included in the line up, all émigrés, Freud from metropolitan Germany, Bacon from rural Ireland and Rie from Vienna, in addition to Frank Bowling, R.B. Kitaj and Dame Magdalene Odundo, among others.

The exhibition coincides with NG200 - the Bicentenary celebrations of London’s National Gallery - which it is intended to complement. As the National Gallery launches its National Treasures programme, where twelve of the nation’s most iconic and well-loved paintings from the collection are lent to twelve venues across the UK, this exhibition does the reverse: bringing twelve works from major regional collections together in the capital city.

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