Walker Art Gallery announces 2018-19 exhibition programme

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John Moores at 60, Da Vinci drawings and Charles Rennie Mackintosh  

The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, has announced its upcoming exhibition programme for the next 12 months. Highlights for early 2019 include a major showcase of work by Charles Rennie Mackintosh as well as a display of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection Trust.

The John Moores Painting Prize will take centre stage in summer 2018, celebrating 60 years of the Prize. It opens in line with an exhibition of early works by Sean Scully, who is a former John Moores prize winner. The exhibitions run from 14 July, coinciding with the opening of Liverpool Biennial 2018.

The Walker continues to work with contemporary artists as part of the Arts Council Collection’s National Partners Programme and will present works selected by Leo Fitzmaurice from its own collection as well as the Arts Council Collection in a new display opening on 29 September 2018.

Upcoming exhibitions at the Walker Art Gallery, July 2018 – June 2019:

John Moores Painting Prize 2018

14 July to 18 November 2018

Free entry

The Walker will celebrate the 60th year of the John Moores Painting Prize in 2018. Showcasing work by some of the most talented painters working in Britain today, the John Moores Painting Prize is Britain’s longest-established prize for painting, with a first prize of £25,000. An esteemed panel of jurors will consider more than 2,700 entries this year, from which the final selection of exhibiting artists will be chosen, including the prize winners. The 2018 jury comprises the artists Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Lubaina Himid MBE, Bruce McLean and Liu Xiaodong, alongside curator Jenni Lomax.


Sean Scully: 1970

14 July – 14 October 2018

Free entry

Sean Scully is widely regarded as the master of post-minimalist abstraction. Revolutionising abstract painting with his grid systems of intersecting bands and lines, his artwork uses the shapes and forms of concrete geometry, infused with a lyrical emotion. In this retrospective exhibition, Scully revisits his early works which reveal the origin of his continued fascination with stripes and the spaces in between. Scully was a prize winner in the John Moores Painting Prize in 1972 and again in 1974. The opening of the exhibition coincides with the opening of the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 and Liverpool Biennial 2018.


Leo Fitzmaurice: Between You and Me and Everything Else

29 September 2018 – March 2019

Free entry

As part of the Arts Council Collection National Partners Programme, Liverpool-based artist Leo Fitzmaurice will curate an immersive exhibition of portraiture within Room 9 at the Gallery. 

The artist will select artworks from both the Arts Council Collection and National Museums Liverpool’s own collections, with a painting from the Lady Lever Art Gallery called Psamathe (1879-80) by Frederic Leighton as the focus of the exhibition. This image shows a female nude from behind and the subject appears to be looking out to the sea in front of her. In forming the display, Fitzmaurice will aim to expand upon this “tone of inquisitiveness in the world beyond.” 

The selection of works will be dictated by the direction of the sitters’ gazes, as will their arrangement in the room, creating the illusion that the subjects of the portraits are all looking towards the same subject of Psamathe


Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing

1 February – 6 May 2019

Free entry

In February 2019, to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, 144 of the Renaissance master's greatest drawings in the Royal Collection will go on display in
12 simultaneous exhibitions across the UK. Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, a nationwide event, will give the widest-ever UK audience the opportunity to see the work of this extraordinary artist. The Walker will be looking at the diversity of subjects that inspired Leonardo’s creativity across 12 drawings, from botanical and anatomical studies to the design of theatrical costumes, hairstyles and ferry-boat plans.


Charles Rennie Mackintosh

15 March – 26 August 2019

Ticketed exhibition (details to follow)

This exhibition will span the lifetime of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868–1928) and his contemporaries, exploring the movement that became known as The Glasgow Style. The Glasgow Style refers to the design and decorative arts centred around the work by teachers, students and graduates of the Glasgow School of Art produced between about 1890 and 1920. Glasgow was the birthplace of the only Art Nouveau ‘movement’ in the UK and its style made ripples internationally. The exhibition will present objects from Glasgow Museums and the Mitchell Library and Archives as well as loans from private and public collections. About 200 objects will be on display across the full spectrum of media, including stained glass, ceramics, mosaic, metalwork, furniture, stencilling, embroidery, graphics, books, interiors and architecture.


Ongoing exhibitions at the Walker Art Gallery

Slaves of Fashion: New Works by The Singh Twins

Until 20 May 2018

Free entry


Kaleidoscope: Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art

Until 3 June 2018

Free entry


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Notes to Editors

About the John Moores Painting Prize

  • The John Moores Painting Prize is the UK's longest-established painting prize. The competition is entered and judged anonymously and open to all UK-based artists working with paint.
  • The winner of the John Moores Painting Prize 2016 was Michael Simpson. The four prizewinners were Talar Aghbashian, Gabriella Boyd, Benjamin Jamie and Selma Parlour.
  • The 2016 judges were Richard Davey, writer and freelance curator, and artists Gillian Carnegie, Ansel Krut, Phoebe Unwin and Ding Yi.
  • The John Moores Painting Prize is organised in partnership with the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust and is supported by its exhibition partner Weightmans*.     
  • The exhibition is showing as part of Liverpool Biennial 2018**, the largest festival of contemporary art in the UK taking place across the city’s public spaces, galleries and museums from 14 July to 28 October.

*About Weightmans

Weightmans is a top 45 law firm with over 1,400 people across offices in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester and London. Weightmans is dedicated to providing results for its clients and success for its people.

** About Liverpool Biennial 2018

Beautiful world, where are you?

14 July – 28 October

Free, various venues

Liverpool Biennial is the UK biennial of contemporary art. Taking place across the city in public spaces, galleries, museums and online, the Biennial commissions artists from around the world to make and present work in the context of Liverpool. The 10th edition Beautiful world, where are you? invites artists and audiences to reflect on a world of social, political and economic turmoil. Also showing as part of Liverpool Biennial 2018 are the John Moores Painting Prize, Bloomberg New Contemporaries, and the Biennial Fringe. Founded in 1998, Liverpool Biennial has commissioned over 300 new artworks and presented work by over 450 artists from around the world. www.biennial.com

About Sean Scully

Sean Scully lives and works in New York, USA, and Bavaria, Germany. He has been twice shortlisted for the Turner Prize and his work is in the collection of virtually every major museum around the world. In 2014, he became the only Western artist to have had a career-length retrospective exhibition in China (Follow the Heart: The Art of Sean Scully 1964 - 2014 included over 100 paintings and travelled from Shanghai to Beijing). It was an unprecedented success, selected as the Exhibition of the Year by the Beijing News and the Global Times referred to it as ‘a Sean Scully hurricane…blowing through China’. This led to a second wave of exhibitions across major museums and cities in China through 2016-17, and Scully was presented with the International Artist of the Year Award for his outstanding contribution to contemporary art.

In 2018, Scully has major solo exhibitions around the world, including the Multimedia Art Museum of Moscow, the State Museum of St Petersburg, Russia, the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Germany, the De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art in Tilburg, Netherlands, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, USA, among others.

Sean Scully is represented by the Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, Ireland; Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland; Kewenig Galerie, Berlin, Germany; Blain|Southern London, London, UK and Cheim & Read, New York, USA. 


About Leo Fitzmaurice

Leo Fitzmaurice was born in Shropshire, England, in 1963 and now lives and works in Merseyside. He studied painting at Leicester Polytechnic, Liverpool Polytechnic and Manchester Metropolitan University. In 2004, Fitzmaurice was invited by the British Council to take part in the Artist Links residency at Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou, China. Since then he has shown work at numerous galleries including: Seventeen Gallery, London; Tanya Leighton Galley, Berlin; and Dodge, NY. Solo projects have been hosted by: Rogoland Kunstsenter, Norway; Grundy Gallery, Blackpool; New Art Gallery, Walsall; Firstsite, Colchester. In 2015 he made a new work Litter for Frieze Sculpture Park, London which is currently installed at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Most recently he has been involved in the international galleries initiative Condo, and he is currently working on a permanent commission at Chambers Wharf, London for Thames Tideway.

Fitzmaurice’s work features in many collections, including: The Arts Council Collection, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Manchester Art Gallery, The Royal London Hospital, Locus+ Archive, and numerous private collections.

In 2012 Fitzmaurice was the recipient of the 5th Northern Art Prize. Leo Fitzmaurice is represented by The Sunday Painter, London.

About Arts Council Collection

The Arts Council Collection is a national loan collection of British art from 1946 to the present day. With more than 8,000 works and more than 1,000 loans made to over 100 venues a year, it is seen by millions of people in public spaces from galleries and museums to hospitals, libraries and universities. Representing one of the most important collections of British modern and contemporary art in the world, it includes work from Francis Bacon, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore to Lucian Freud, Antony Gormley and Grayson Perry. The Collection supports and promotes British artists by acquiring art at an early stage of their careers. The Arts Council Collection is managed by Southbank Centre, London and includes the Sculpture Centre located at Longside, Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

About National Partners Programme

To mark the Arts Council Collection’s 70th anniversary in 2017, Arts Council England invested in a network of four National Partner museums and galleries across England, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, Birmingham Museums Trust, The Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool and the Collection’s existing partner, Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The partners will provide a year-round home for art works within the Collection, hosting a special programme of at least 24 National Partner exhibitions between April 2016 and spring 2019.

About the Walker Art Gallery

The Walker Art Gallery houses an internationally-renowned collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative art. It is one of Europe’s finest galleries, with a collection that ranges from outstanding modern and contemporary works to Medieval and Renaissance masterpieces. Some of the greatest British artists of the last century are represented in the contemporary galleries, from Lucian Freud to David Hockney, while the Gallery’s Impressionist collection is not to be missed. Visitors can also see paintings by 17th and 18th-century masters including Poussin, Rembrandt and Gainsborough, before taking in the Walker’s famed Pre-Raphaelite collection. Younger visitors will love Big Art for Little Artists, a gallery designed to introduce children to art in a fun and interactive way. The Walker Art Gallery is an Arts Council Collection National Partner. Between April 2016 and March 2019, the Gallery will curate and host an exciting and innovative series of contemporary art exhibitions, drawn from the Arts Council Collection.


About National Museums Liverpool

National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues, including some of the most visited museums in England outside of London. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. We attract around 3 million visitors every year. Our venues are the Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, Border Force National Museum, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery. National Museums Liverpool is regulated by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Museums and galleries regulated by DCMS are exempt charities under Schedule 3 of the Charities Act 2011. Registered Office: World Museum, William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EN.