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If you think Liverpool is a good place to shop you are right but it also has several wonderful art galleries and it would take a stay of a few days to visit everything on offer.

Two galleries are outstanding: Liverpool Tate and The Walker

Today I visited both. Five minutes walking distance from Liverpool Lime Street Station, the Walker Art Gallery has a labyrinth of rooms and many famous paintings. I was particularly struck by this Monet

‘Ice Breaking Up On The Seine Near Benecourt’ which was painted in the same chilly conditions as today in freezing January conditions. Monet, like most impressionists, painted outside and he complained of the bitter cold during the painting of this which may explain his longer and more hurried brush strokes than in most of his paintings.

What I really wanted to see was the work submitted for the John Moores Prize but it’s not quite on show at the moment but there is a good selection of paintings which have won since 1957. My absolute favourite was this by Peter Doig

He’s a favourite painter of mine. This piece is called ‘Blotter’ and is of the artists brother standing on a frozen lake in 1993. It’s a huge piece of work and features this brilliant lilac colour….this photo doesn’t do it justice at all.

There are also twenty or so Lubaina Himid pieces from her collection ‘Naming The Money’ of 2004 scattered through the gallery. She won the Turner prize last year (power to women over 50 for a change!). In Room 9 there is a selection of artworks curated by her. The installation ‘Naming The Money’ was gifted by Lubaina to National Museums Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum. It addresses how Europe’s wealthy classes spent their money and flaunted their power in the 18th and 19th centuries by using enslaved African men and women. Groups of the figures are positioned around the gallery in positions determined by the artist.

The Walker Gallery are very relaxed about photography (as long as there’s no flash), unlike the Tate Liverpool. The staff are very helpful and want you to get the best from your visit. There’s a cafe and a children’s experiential room plus lots of talks and tours. Entry is free.

I also liked seeing the Lowry paintings in real life and several others, particularly Matisse. Also there’s a fabulous collection of outrageous Grayson Perry dresses – well worth a giggle.

On to the Tate Liverpool. I was there particularly to see John Piper’s work – a large and well documented exhibition with work ranging from his pre student years right through his life, including his War paintings (he was employed as a War Artist in the 1940s), stained glass, sketchbooks, publications and landscape. There were quite a few of his collages and some of Picasso’s who inspired him immensely. I love his lithographs in particular.

– I loved these… So good to see in real life. The mark making was inspirational. I love to make collage myself and I can definitely take ideas away from seeing such a great collection.

This exhibition is on until March 18th and costs £10 although is free with a Tate Friends card which I think I would consider buying.

The cafe is superb, big plate windows overlooking the Albert Dock and excellent food including vegetarian and gluten free breads. There’s a small but well stocked gift shop with very friendly and helpful staff and the whole place feels like a wonderful and inviting place to visit.

Here is The Albert Dock which you see from the cafe. A lovely place to wonder and almost deserted on a cold January day. The Liverpool Tate is about 13 minutes walk from Liverpool Lime Street Station.

All in all an inspiring and eye opening day in Liverpool – I’m definitely going to make it a regular place to visit.

Where will you go for inspiration?

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