National Portrait Gallery to loan works for new exhibition

PRIZED works from the National Portrait Gallery feature in a new exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum in the spring, thanks to an £18,000 grant.

LS Lowry - Head of a ManThe Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund has supplied the funding for About Face, an exhibition of portraits which aims to explore the artists behind the artworks.

About Face features eight loans from the National Portrait Gallery, including self-portraits by Lucian Freud, Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi, together with loans from The Lowry and works from the Rugby Collection, including portraits by Craigie Aitchison, Maggi Hambling and Stanley Spencer.

The exhibition, which opens at the end of March, was inspired by Rugby Art Gallery and Museum's theme for 2018 - people and place.

Rugby Art Gallery and Museum was one of the first beneficiaries of the new Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund, a partnership between the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund which aims to support small local authority venues borrow major works or collections from national galleries and museums.

Katie Boyce, the Art Gallery's senior visual arts officer and curator of About Face, said: "Visitors to the gallery often ask about the stories behind the art works, be it the artist's inspiration or the artist themselves.

"About Face focuses on portraits and self-portraits, starting points for a journey of discovery where visitors can explore the personality behind the painting.

"We have a number of exciting plans for the exhibition and I'm looking forward to the loans from the National Portrait Gallery and The Lowry rubbing shoulders with works from our Rugby Collection."

The Rugby Collection was established by the borough council in 1946.

The collection of 20th and 21st century British art boasts more than 200 works, including paintings, drawings, photography, prints, film and new media.

Philippa Charles, Garfield Weston Foundation director, said: "We have been blown away by the ambition and creativity of museums and galleries across the UK, and Rugby's idea really stood out.

"Some of the most talented curators in the UK have imagined the art, objects and exhibitions which promise to transform the experiences of their audiences.

"We are delighted the local community in Rugby will get to see these amazing portraits."

Steven Deuchar, Art Fund director, added: "We knew the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund addressed a vital need - our national museums want to widen access to the collections they hold, and institutions around the UK want to share these works with their audiences.

"The response has been overwhelming and we're pleased to provide the means to enable the greater sharing of art and, just as importantly, help empower museums to realise their ambitions."

About Face runs at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum from 30 March to 16 June.

Cllr Heather Timms, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for growth and investment, said: "It's a real coup for Rugby Art Gallery and Museum to secure loans of prestigious pieces from the National Portrait Gallery, and I'm delighted the funding from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund has made it possible.

"About Face promises to attract visitors from across the country and raise the profile of our Art Gallery and Museum nationwide."

For more information about Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, visit www.ragm.co.uk 

Picture caption: Head of a Man, by LS Lowry, features alongside loans from the National Portrait Gallery in About Face, a new exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum. (credit: LS Lowry Head of a Man 1938 © The Lowry Collection, Salford)
 

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