Blog

Learn the painting secrets of the masters and have a go yourself!

12 June 2018 by Simon Birtall

Blackberry Gathering (1912), Elizabeth Forbes, Walker Art Gallery

The Walker Art Gallery’s painting collection spans a broad spectrum of work from the Renaissance to the modern era. It includes artwork made in an engaging variety of contrasting styles, from the refined tempera paintings of the early Renaissance to the painterly, expressive brushwork and bold colour of the Impressionist era, to abstraction and beyond. Taken together, the collection illustrates the development in painting technique over eight centuries of artistic practice.

Read more…

The Shape of Water

14 May 2018 by Ann Bukantas

Water presents artists with a restless, ever-changing technical challenge. As representations of H2O go, there are some undisputed masterpieces in the Walker Art Gallery’s collection, including Monet’s Breaking up of the ice on the Seine, near Bennecourt, Courbet’s Low Tide at Trouville and Sickert’s The Bathers, Dieppe. Water even provides the backdrop to Fournier’s sombre ‘The Funeral of Shelley’, which is set on a beach – all very fitting, given that the poet drowned at sea in 1822.

Fournier’s ‘The Funeral of Shelley’

With the wet stuff in mind, there is a surprising amount of water too in the Walker’s current display of John Moores Painting Prize first prize winners, which we are celebrating as part of the 60th anniversary of the Prize.

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Chinese contemporary art in Liverpool

10 May 2018 by Sam

screen showing video artwork in St George's Hall

Susan Pui San Lok, ‘Trailers (from RoCH Fans and Legends)’. Photograph Pete Carr

At the Walker Art Gallery we have had a long interest in Chinese contemporary art, and the John Moores Painting Prize China was launched in August 2010. Since then the five prizewinning paintings from the John Moores Painting Prize China have been displayed as part of each John Moores Painting Prize exhibition – you can see this year’s from 14 July to 18 November at the Walker Art Gallery.

Video screen showing wooden boats at sea, hung above a small wooden boat at St George's Hall

Chen Ching-Yuan, ‘The (Flare-s)’. Photograph Pete Carr

If you can’t wait until then, there is currently a great opportunity to see an exhibition of Chinese contemporary art at St George’s Hall as part of China Dream. The exhibition curator tells us more:

“I’m Lindsay Taylor, Curator of PRESENCE: A Window into Chinese Contemporary Art which is open until 3 June at St George’s Hall. The exhibition is a counterpoint to the Terracotta Warriors on display at World Museum – it showcases artworks by 19 artists from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the diaspora. Some of these are based on traditional Chinese art forms such as paper cuts and landscape painting – but with a modern twist. Other works vary from a zombie film to a sculpture of a shoe for a bird made by a former John Moores Painting Prize (China) winner! The exhibition is full of surprises, however the same age old themes of communication, love, death and power that are told in the Terracotta Warriors exhibition are also prevalent here – not much has changed in over 2000 years!

As Curator of the University of Salford Art Collection I aim to develop a collection that tells a story of now. If we live in what some call ‘the Chinese Century’ I feel it is important to explore contemporary Chinese culture within our museum collections as we move to a less western–centric world. Each of the works on show has been collected over the last six years mainly through working in partnership, mainly with our friends at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester but also with Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool. We’re also working with Culture Liverpool and commissioning a new work as legacy of this project which will feature in Episode 2 of China Dream – This is Shanghai opening in July.

If you would like to hear more about ‘PRESENCE: A Window into Chinese Contemporary Art’, I am giving a guided tour of the exhibition in St George’s Hall on Thursday 17 May at 2pm and my co-curator Stephanie Fletcher will give a tour on 31 May at 2pm – the tour is free and we would love to see you. We are also bringing innovators from across the UK together in Liverpool on 11 May to share our experiences of working with and in China and to look for future collaborations. For more information please visit the exhibition events page.”

large screen showing video artwork in St George's Hall

Cao Fei, ‘Haze and Fog’. Photograph Pete Carr

Join us for an afternoon of Dada, Situationism and Photography

3 May 2018 by Ann Bukantas

Cover from the exhibition ‘Dada 1916-1966’, held at the Walker Art Gallery in 1968

It’s always exciting when you get new neighbours, and around a five minute walk from the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool’s newest cultural quarter is stirring! The soon-to-be-launched ‘Fabric District’ is located between London Road and Islington. At its heart is a fabulous new space called The Tapestry http://thetapestry.co.uk/Read more…

From New York to London via Port Sunlight

2 May 2018 by Ann

A first glimpse of the exhibition

We’re preparing to bring a little bit of city life to Port Sunlight  and the Lady Lever Art Gallery this week as we countdown to the opening of our spring exhibition Whistler & Pennell: Etching the city on Friday 4 May.

Profiling the work of American artists; James McNeill Whistler and Joseph Pennell who made London their home, the exhibition reveals their passion, innovation and influence upon an artistic technique that at the time was in decline.

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What’s on at the Walker during May?

1 May 2018 by Felicity

‘Kaleidoscope’ at the Walker

There’s so much happening at the Walker this month, we thought we’d put it all in one place for you – and a suggest a few highlights that you won’t want to miss! We always recommend checking our website before making a special trip to the Gallery, just in case of any cancellations.

Free tours

Did you know that we hold free lunchtime talks at 1pm on Tuesdays? We’ll have a different talk each week this month. On 8 May, we’ll hear from students at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) School of Art and Design. On 15 May, project curator Bethan Lewis will talk visitors through our latest exhibition, Kaleidoscope: Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art.

We also hold introductory tours to the Gallery every Wednesday at 3pm. Read more…

Sir Peter Blake marks 60 years of the John Moores with new design

26 April 2018 by Andrew

John Moores Painting Prize 2018 campaign creative by Sir Peter Blake.

Sir Peter Blake, Patron of the John Moores Painting Prize and winner of the John Moores junior painting prize in 1961, has created a unique artwork commemorating the 60th anniversary of the competition.

Sir Peter is one of Britain’s best known Pop artists who co-created The Beatles iconic Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album sleeve, as well as record sleeves for Band Aid, The Who and Paul Weller. In Liverpool, his design of the Mersey Ferry Snowdrop was inspired by First World War dazzle ships. It was one of three designs commissioned by Liverpool Biennial and National Museums Liverpool to commemorate the centenary of the start of the war in 2014.

Look out for his John Moores Painting Prize design across the exhibition media campaign launching late June, as well as on venue banners, leaflets and posters. John Moores Painting Prize 2018 opens at the Walker Art Gallery on 14 July, find out which artists are exhibiting here.

A transatlantic trip for John Gibson’s Tinted Venus

23 March 2018 by Lottie

Last year, the Walker Art Gallery received a request for the loan of John Gibson’s Tinted Venus from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. John Gibson was a neo-classical sculptor who worked from studios in Rome. He first showed this sculpture at the 1862 International Exhibition, where his use of colour on marble caused quite a stir.

While many were critical of this ‘new’ way of presenting sculpture, Gibson was in fact referencing the ancient Greek practice of fully painted statuary. Gibson went on to receive commissions for two more Tinted Venuses.

This particular sculpture hadn’t been on loan since the mid-1990s and required a thorough inspection in order for us to make an informed decision about whether it could be considered for international travel. Read more…

Easter at the Museums

22 March 2018 by Megan

Hop along to your local museum for a free dose of Easter fun! We have a fantastic selection of events, activities and new exhibitions there’s something for everyone to be ‘egg-cited’ about at National Museums Liverpool this Easter. Read more…

What’s on at the Walker over the next 12 months?

21 March 2018 by Felicity

Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, The May Queen, 1900. © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

We’ve just announced our 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.

We’ll continue 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 our own collection as well as the Arts Council Collection in a new display opening on 29 September 2018. Read more…



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Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.