In a few years the National Gallery will celebrate its 200th anniversary, and they have outlined some of the plans it has to mark its bicentenary.
As custodians of a national collection, they are planning a national exhibition, with 12 concurrent exhibitions opening on the same day – May 10, 2024 – in 12 museums and galleries across the 12 regions of the four nations of the UK, and each centered around an important work of art from the National Gallery
The aim is for at least half of the UK population to be within an hour’s journey of a National Gallery masterpiece.
Going further, they aim to run art workshops on tour in the UK throughout the year, bringing National Gallery workshops and learning activities to 200 different communities who would otherwise would not have easy access to it.
Here in London there will be some sort of festival taking place in Trafalgar Square, details will be announced closer to the date.
But the highlight of the NG200 bicentenary celebrations will be the first major Van Gogh show in the UK since 2010 with a mix of publicly owned paintings and paintings from private collections never seen in public before. The Van Gogh exhibition will take place exactly 100 years after the Galerie acquired Van Gogh’s Chair and Sunflowers (both painted in 1888). They are also planning a special event around Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, which the gallery is keeping secret for the moment.
The year of events will culminate with a new entry for the gallery to face a number that is double what the gallery was designed to face. They will also be redisplaying the National Gallery collection, so if you want to see it as it is right now, you’ll have to visit it this year.
Dr. Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, said “Bicentenary programming aims to reach the whole country. Much of the activities take place in regional locations and are mostly free. We also want to expand globally and promote the UK.
“We are determined that NG200 will support post-pandemic recovery – economic and well-being – and help UK artists, freelancers, museums and galleries celebrate their own creative ambitions, as well as their stories. and their local heritage.
Although the gallery celebrates its 200th anniversary on May 10, 1824, it originally opened in a smaller building on Pall Mall and moved into its current building in 1838. So expect a second bicentennial to mark the opening of the current gallery house.