Image of new painting - Untitled Firth of Forth

The City Art Centre will be showing off a new painting by Scottish artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912 – 2004) in  A-Z: An Alphabetical Tour of Scottish Art, a free exhibition which opens on 26 April 2014 to launch the City Art Centre’s newest permanent gallery space.

The major new painting has been acquired through the Art Fund and Barns-Graham Charitable Trust.

Visitors to the City Art Centre will get their first opportunity to see the newly acquired Untitled – Firth of Forth Series, an abstract canvas inspired by the experience of crossing the Forth Rail Bridge, in the upcoming exhibition A – Z: An Alphabetical Tour of Scottish Art, which opens its doors in a newly refurbished gallery space on 26 April.

The City Art Centre holds one of the finest collections of Scottish art in the country including two other artworks by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: the oil painting Rocks, St Mary’s, Scilly Isles (1953), and the smaller gouache Seaweed and Stone, Skull (1988). Until now, the City Art Centre collection has not included any examples of work from Barns-Graham’s late period (mid 1990s onwards), which is often considered one of the strongest and most experimental stages in her career. The acquisition of Untitled – Firth of Forth Series which was painted while the artist was in her late 80s, allows the City Art Centre to better represent this Scottish artist.

A – Z: An Alphabetical Tour of Scottish Art is the first exhibition to be staged in the City Art Centre’s newly refurbished lower ground floor gallery. This exciting space has now been redeveloped to create a dedicated area for showing the permanent Scottish Art Collection. In the coming years, visitors will be able to see more of this collection than ever before, through a changing programme of temporary displays.

Scotland has been the home and inspiration of a stunning array of visual artists for generations and the new A -Z exhibition introduces some of the men and women whose work makes up this rich collection. Painters, sculptors, photographers and printmakers from the 17th century to the present day will all be featured, representing the key movements that have shaped Scotland’s artistic identity.

The Scottish Art Collection, cared for by the City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries, is a Recognised Collection of National Significance to Scotland. The refurbishment of the lower ground floor gallery has been undertaken with the support of Museums Galleries Scotland through the Recognition Capital Fund.

Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s Culture and Sport Convener, said: “We are delighted to be displaying for the very first time this exciting new acquisition by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham during a very exciting season for the City Art Centre. The upcoming A-Z exhibition will shine a light on Scottish art through the ages and I can’t think of a more appropriate launch for the collection than the centre’s beautifully refurbished gallery space.

“The curators at the City Art Centre have worked closely and tirelessly to line up an exhibition and collection that will do justice to the great work of artists from across the country and the centuries.”

Joanne Orr, chief executive officer of Museums Galleries Scotland, said:

“Museums Galleries Scotland is delighted to have supported the refurbishment of the City Art Centre through the Recognition Capital Fund.

“The redeveloped space will feature a new home for The Scottish Art Collection, which is comprised of historic and contemporary artists and consists of around 3,500 works of Scottish art in the form of paintings, watercolours, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture and tapestries. The Collection is a Recognised Collection of National Significance to Scotland.”