Tag Archives: art in cardiff

Bacon to Doig: Modern Masterpieces from a Private Collection

Private art collections can sometimes appear artistically polarising and disjointed. An art collector’s personal taste is not always uniform and cohesive, so when private art collections hang on the walls of carefully curated museums they can appear somewhat out of place. For ‘Bacon to Doig: Modern Masterpieces from a Private Collection’ this thankfully isn’t the case. From Ian and Mercedes Stoutzker, this collection is simultaneously varied, cohesive and personal. Situated in the National Museum Cardiff, Bacon to Doig offers museum-goers an intimate interpretation of modern art. From the delicate sketches of Henri Matisse to the mind-bending pottery of Grayson Perry you are transported to not just a playground of different artistic mediums, but an interesting historiography of modern art itself.


Firstly,  credit must be given to the National Museum for their excellent use of space and composition in their presentation of the collection. The difficulties of moving a collection only enjoyed in a domestic setting to that of a museum was a challenge, but they have succeeded. The National Museum can somewhat go under the radar when people discuss Cardiff, but this collection will hopefully galvinise people’s interest in the museum itself. The museum, relative to other British museums, has always outdone itself in regards to the quality of its exhibitions and the professionalism it always operates under, so National Museum – big up yourself.

In terms of the collection, there’s plenty of room to take each piece in, marvel at it, scratch your head, mutter under your breath “Is THIS really art?”, etc even on busy days. The art is curated in a way that is sensible with each room having a really tangible sense of style and place. The exhibition is pretty low on photography, excluding one room of especially profound art and the collection of paper drawings. Photography is barred there and this also happens to be where all my favourite pieces were, so if you want to check them out you’re going to have to go yourself.


Thematically, the collection covers a lot of the major sub-sects of “modern art” from expressionistic canvases to post-impressionism (all these fancy words mean is that it’s all modern and varied). The art collection never becomes too highbrow and can be enjoyed by everyone, there isn’t a sense that you need a strong knowledge of art history or criticism to really appreciate the collection as a whole. Interestingly, a lot of this art was collected by the Stoutzkers was purchased when the artists were in the early stages of their career, so each piece has a sense of appealing innocence to them – there is a sense of each artist still struggling to find their own identity in a lot of the pieces, yet not in a way that it detracts from the pieces themselves. Instead, the sense of artistic innocence imbues a lot of the pieces with a certain playfulness; the collection appears wholly original by not just curating quality artists, but by curating them when they were all at a similar level of creative maturity.

It goes without saying that the art in the collection is of stellar quality, but this isn’t exactly where the appeal lies. The appeal of the collection is how original, yet similar, each piece feels. The zeitgeist of the modern artistic period is captured here in a visceral way. Particular highlights included Lucian Freud’s Girl With Closed Eyes, Francis Bacon’s  pieces, the Matisse sketch hidden away in the  filing cabinet Nude Model, Resting, and Grayson Perry’s Turner-prize winning vases which were, to me, the absolute highlight of the collection. At fear of spoiling too much, I’ll keep discussion of the actual pieces to that. The collection is best enjoyed without expectation, that way it’ll truly hit you at how important and visually stimulating the collection really is.


The collection will be at National Museum Wales until the 31st January 2018, so please be sure to pop down time and time again before it leaves. It really is one of the most important private collections of modern art in the world and it’s in Cardiff, it’s free, it’s on your doorstep, so get going!

Bacon to Doig: Modern Masterpieces from a Private Collection – 18 February 2017–31 January 2018, National Museum Cardiff




Cats and Birds: February’s Art Gallery Highlights in Cardiff

Culture vulture Catrin Greaves rounds up Cardiff’s art gallery highlights for February. Take it away, Catrin!

Nature’s Song, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff

The museum hosts a stunning display of traditional Chinese bird and flower paintings, the first time this collection has been seen in the UK. Nature’s Song traces the development of this art form from the late Ming dynasty (late 16th century) to contemporary interpretations from recent decades. Bird and flower paintings showcase the talents of poets and calligraphers, as well as painters, and the exhibition emphasises the symbolic and spiritual meaning of bird and flower motifs.In the exhibition, you can learn about different  techniques used by painters and calligraphers to create these stunning artworks. This is an exciting opportunity to sustain links between Wales and China: the exhibition has been created in collaboration with China Three Gorges Museum in Chongqing. On until 23 April.

Nature’s Song: Chinese Bird and Flower Paintings


Telling Tales: Anna Noel, Craft in the Bay


Anna Noel is inspired by how animals accompany humans throughout our lives. Based in the Gower, Anna takes inspiration from the animals she grew up with: From fairy-tale figures and imaginary friends to trusty companions and beloved pets. Noel creates charming ceramic figures, set to populate the Craft in the Bay from  21. January 2017 – Sun, 5. March.

Telling Tales – Anna Noel

Power in the Land, Bay Art

The artist group X-10 present the outcome of two years of collaboration,  where they examined the  closure and decommissioning of Wylfa on Anglesey, the last nuclear power station in Wales.Through  video, photography, sound, sculpture, and  installation, the artists respond to this event and question the future of nuclear power and attached environmental concerns. Merging art, science and technology, the show adds new questions and thoughts to the nuclear debate. On from 18 Feb – 17 March 2017.

Participating artists include,  – Ant Dickinson, Bridget Kennedy, Jessica Lloyd-Jones, Chris Oakley, Teresa Paiva, Tim Skinner, Robin Tarbet, Alana Tyson, Annie Grove-White, Helen Grove-White.


Power in the Land

Last Chance to see…

Artes Mundi 7

Don’t miss the Artes Mundi exhibition at the National Museum of Wales and at Chapter, which finishes on February 26. Cardiff-based organisation Artes Mundi is best known for its biannual exhibition and prize, and emphasises how art reflects what it means to be human in contemporary society – it is the largest cash prize awarded for the arts in the UK and one of the most significant in the world.

This year’s exhibition brings together the work of shortlisted artists from Lebanon, Angola, Algeria, the USA, Ghana and Wales. It showcases work in a variety of media, including film, installation and performance art. Pop into the galleries for a free guided tour (2pm daily at the museum, and on request at Chapter), and keep an eye out for free family drop-in activities over February half term, which will examine themes inspired by the artists’ work, including costume, storytelling and gardens.

Artes Mundi 7



Catrin Greaves works as a tour guide and workshop facilitator at the National Museum of Wales. She moved to Cardiff after studying Anthropology in Belfast, and enjoys singing ina  choir and doing embroidery

Cardiff Open Studios 2016

As part of Cardiff Contemporary 2016, visual artists and makers across the city will be opening their studios over the month of August.

Around 100 artists will be taking part and to plan your visits a calendar, maps and guides are available online on the Open Studios website and print/flyers through your local gallery and Library.

A series of FREE events over the month of August, it is a chance to explore the places in Cardiff where artists work and discover more about how artists and makers work today.

Below is a list of all the events taking place in August.