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Jan Patience: Collection of styles are welcome New Arrivals

Marc Chagall’s L’Écuyère at the National Galleries
Marc Chagall’s L’Écuyère at the National Galleries

Public collection curators often find themselves priced out of the market at international auctions by collectors with deep pockets.

Occasionally, thanks to the largesse of supporters through gifts, bequests and grants, they can take on the big collecting beasts.

Some of the works acquired for New Arrivals: From Salvador Dalí To Jenny Saville, which opened last week, fall into this category.

Taking up the entire ground floor of Modern One, New Arrivals consists of more than a 100 artworks featuring a wide range of styles and movements spanning the last 110 years. The work has been acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland in the last five years.

There are artworks by Picasso, René Magritte, Salvador Dali, Elisabeth Frink, Bridget Rilet and Damian Hirst alongside lesser known artists such as Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Benjamin Creme and young Glasgow-based painter France-Lise McGurn.

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Dali’s Lobster Telephone

There’s a mash-up of styles too, from film and sound installations (by Scottish artists Hanna Tuulikki and Graham Fagen) to woodcuts (by Alberta Whittle, who will represent Scotland at the 59th International Venice Biennale next year).

And who can fail to be charmed by Surrealist artist Dorothea Tanning’s Primitive Seating (1982) made up of a re-upholstered chair complete with long, cat-like tail?

Paintings to linger over include the first artwork by Glasgow School of Art-trained Jenny Saville in a UK public collection. Nude (Study for ‘Branded’) (1992) presents a large naked female form, confronting notions head-on about idealised beauty and the male gaze.

Elisabeth Frink’s prints, sculptures and drawings left me still mulling over them days later. Initially, though, I felt oddly repelled by her huge male heads.


In the run-up to Christmas, artists can be found hosting studio sales of their own work or coming together with fellow artists and makers.

Today is the last day of Parade Artists Shopping Week at Wasps Studios in Dennistoun, Glasgow. Ranging from ceramics, jewellery, glass and textiles to fine art, there is something for everyone.

Over in Edinburgh at Dovecot Studios, it’s the final day of Glow Edinburgh, featuring original work by Scottish designers, including Tricia Thom Ceramics and Woolly Originals.