Images of Aberdeen Art Gallery

Aberdeen Art Gallery reopened to the public on 2 November 2019 following a £34.6 million redevelopment. This post features images of Aberdeen Art Gallery following the completion of that project.

The Neo-Classical facade of Aberdeen Art Gallery.

The neoclassical facade of Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Photography of Aberdeen Art Gallery

The neoclassical building that houses Aberdeen Art Gallery first opened in 1885. It was designed by Alexander Marshall McKenzie, the Elgin-born architect whose other notable projects include Australia House and the Waldorf Hotel in London.

The gallery closed in 2015 for redevelopment, which was designed by Hoskins Architects. Aberdeen Art Gallery now has 19 galleries to display its sizable permanent collection plus three for temporary exhibitions.

The Sculpture Hall at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Aberdeen Art Gallery’s Sculpture Court. 

Photography by Martin Parr

Martin Parr’s photography was displayed in the three BP Galleries, on the upper floor, until Sunday 23 February 2020. Think of Scotland was shown alongside a new series of portraits, Aberdeen At Leisure, which was commissioned by Aberdeen Art Gallery.

The upper level of Aberdeen Art Gallery in Aberdeen, Scotland

Looking towards the cafe on the third level of the redeveloped Aberdeen Art Gallery.

The third level also features a café and outdoor terraces providing views of the surrounding streets.

View onto Belmont Street from Aberdeen Art Gallery in Aberdeen,

View onto Belmont Street from within the art gallery.

Natural light and cutting-edge technology

The new look gallery makes good use of natural light. An oval skylight allows daylight to flood into the Sculpture Court, which features Tracey Emin’s For You, a neon love poem, alongside marble figures.

The Sculpture Hall at Aberdeen Art Gallery in Aberdeen, Scotland.

A brooding figure in the Sculpture Court.

Elsewhere, the adjustable, state-of-the-art ceiling lighting in five of the galleries enables natural lighting to be replicated and adapted to seasonal conditions. Studioarc designed the galleries, their signage and Aberdeen Art Gallery’s digital strategy.

Skylight above the Sculpture Hall of Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Skylight above the Sculpture Court.

Preserving Aberdeen Art Gallery

“The reopening is the culmination of an incredibly important project, preserving the heritage of Aberdeen Art Gallery whilst creating a wonderful contemporary venue,” commented Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson.

“Crucially we are now able to display far more pieces from our fantastic collections and attract visiting exhibitions of the highest calibre,” she added. The number of items from the permanent collection that can be displayed is up from 370, in 2015, to 1,080.

There’s much more of a focus on decorative art whereas previously the main thrust was fine art. Textiles, jewellery and ceramics are displayed in thematically organised galleries.

The skylight and Sculpture Hall at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

The oval skylight and Sculpture Court at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Artworks by renowned artists

The artworks on display include pieces by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Gilbert and George and Barbara Hepworth. The gallery has the world’s largest archive of works by James McBey.

Cafe on the upper level of Aberdeen Art Gallery in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Looking towards the second-floor cafe.

In the People and Portraits gallery visitors can dress in costumes and capture their image digitally for display on the wall, a matter of paces from Ken Currie’s haunting self-portrait, Gallowgate Lard. One of Aberdeen Art Gallery’s most celebrated acquisitions, Pope I – Study After Pope Innocent X by Velàsquez, created in 1951 by Francis Bacon hangs in the same room.

The redevelopment included the refurbishment of the Cowdray Hall, the wood-panelled recital hall named after its patron, Lady Cowdray.

First floor of the Remembrance Hall in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The first floor of the Remembrance Hall.

Aberdeen Remembrance Hall

The city’s Remembrance Hall, which can now be accessed via Aberdeen Art Gallery, features a newly commissioned work, Forget-Them-Not by Gordon Burnett.

Aberdeen Remembrance Hall, which is accessible via the Aberdeen Art Gallery

The cupola within the Remembrance Hall, which is accessible via Aberdeen Art Gallery.

The result of the redevelopment is an attractive and accessible art gallery.

The £36.4 million  to fund the project came from Aberdeen City Council (£14.6m), the National Lottery Heritage Fund (£10m), BP (£1m), the UK Government’s HM Treasury Libor fund (£1.5m) and public fundraising (£4.8m).

Cupola within the Remembrance Hall in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Looking up at the cupola within the Remembrance Hall.

Further information

See the Aberdeen Art Gallery website for information regarding the free-to-visit attraction’s opening times and programme of exhibitions and events.

The VisitAberdeenshire website has information about things to do and places to visit in and around Aberdeen.

Enjoy this post about photography of Aberdeen Art Gallery? Why not take a look at this post about Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina in the USA.

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