A new exhibition of modern and contemporary art will begin at the end of November and will run until the spring of 2023 at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One).

There will be more than 100 works on display in the ground floor exhibition with a wide range of art spanning 110 years.

Simon Groom, Director of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Galleries of Scotland, said:“Acquisitions breathe new life into our collections. They allow us to reflect the latest developments in Scotland and beyond, reinforcing the strength of our existing collections and research. Thanks to gifts, bequests and support from charitable funds and private donors, the national collection continues to grow in exciting new directions. We are very pleased to be able to share these works with our visitors and encourage everyone to come and be inspired in the discovery of our new arrivals.”

Alongside an early 20th century Picasso there will be recent works by contemporary artists. The exhibition will also change during the year-long run with pieces being introduced at intervals. The works represent five years of acquisitions made possible by National Galleries Scotland (NGS) supporters through gifts and bequests. The Art Council also accepts artworks in lieu of tax which has enabled the gallery to acquire Damien Hirst’s life-size bronze sculpture Wretched War (2004), the first portrait Oskar Kokoschka painted in Britain after arriving as a refugee in 1939, and a remarkable set of twenty-one monotypes by the great Russian Constructivist artist Naum Gabo.

More recently, NGS acquired an important line work by Fred Sandback; Untitled (1971) is the first sculpture by the artist to enter a UK public collection.  

Fred Sandback Untitled

Art Fund has been instrumental in strengthening NGS’ Surrealist collection, which is now one of the best in the world. This includes Salvador Dalí’s iconic Lobster Telephone (1938), Leonora Carrington’s Portrait of Max Ernst (c. 1939) and Dorothea Tanning’s Tableau vivant [Living Picture] (1954). Tanning’s painting will be accompanied by a second acquisition of a work by the artist, a sculpture titled Primitive Seating (1982) made up of a re-upholstered chair with a long cat-like tail: it has been acquired with generous support from Alison Jacques. 

The exhibition serves as a testament to the many individuals who have given works or helped NGS to buy them over the past five years. These include Iain Paul, an Edinburgh resident, who left his estate for the purchase of Scottish contemporary art, and several other generous private donors. NGS also extends its thanks to the late Drue Heinz and her Estate, Denise Coates CBE, Brian and Lesley Knox and the Patrons of NGS, among others.  

Highlights of the exhibition will include striking and vibrant woodcuts by Alberta Whittle, who will represent Scotland at the 59th International Venice Biennale; a large-scale diptych by France-Lise McGurn, the Glasgow-based artist renowned for works paintings comprised of intuitive brushstrokes, and a painting by the acclaimed Scottish painter and printmaker Barbara Rae CBE RA RSA RE. 

Many artworks will be on public display for the very first time since they arrived at the Galleries. They include:  

  • The first work by the highly sought-after artist Marc Chagall to enter Scotland’s national collection. L’Écuyère [The Horse Rider] (1949 – 1953) is a stunning example of Chagall’s fixation with depicting female circus horse-riders.  
  • Bows (about 1910), a painting by Frances Macdonald MacNair, a member of the celebrated ‘Glasgow Four’, which explores the theme of female sexuality in her distinctive Spook School style.
  • Wangechi Mutu’s Histology of Different Classes of Uterine Tumors (2004 – 2005), a series of twelve politically resonant collages which challenge the cultural objectification of women of colour. These were purchased with help from the Heinz Fund and Art Fund.
  • Intervals 2 (2019), a generous gift from the influential British painter Bridget Riley, which marked a new direction in her 70-year career.  
  • Seven unique prints by Ciara Phillips, an artist concerned with how printmaking can prompt discussions around current social and political concerns, purchased via the Iain Paul Fund. 
  • The first artwork by Jenny Saville to enter a UK public collection; Nude (Study for ‘Branded’) (1992) presents a female figure in an uncompromising way, confronting notions about idealised beauty from a feminist perspective. It was acquired through the Henry and Sula Walton Fund, an independent charity established to assist NGS in purchasing major works of modern art. 
  • Two exciting film and sound installations gifted by Outset Contemporary Art Fund: The Slave’s Lament (2015) by Graham Fagen, an evocative interpretation of the 200-year-old poem by Robert Burns; and Hanna Tuulikki’s SING-SIGN: a close duet (2015), which responds to the history and geography of the narrow closes that run from Edinburgh’s most famous street, the Royal Mile.   

New Arrivals will also feature works by Natalia Goncharova, Glen Onwin, Frances Walker, John Bellany, Marie Harnett and Stephen Campbell.  

New Arrivals: From Salvador Dalí to Jenny Saville 

27 November 2021 – spring 2023 
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One)  
75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR  
0131 624 6200 / nationalgalleries.org
Admission free, but advance booking recommended