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Tate Museums (UK)
The Tate is no longer a single museum devoted to the national collections of British and international modern art, but a group of four galleries:
Between them, these four institutions care for a collection of over 66,000 works classified into two broad groups: British art since 1500, and international modern and contemporary art.
The Tate museums are among the most popular art venues in the world. In 2000-1, the Tate Modern alone received over 5 million visitors, which surely makes it one of the best art museums in Europe.
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Origins and History
Founded in 1897 and known officially as the National Gallery of British Art, the museum was popularly referred to as the Tate Gallery, after its initial patron Sir Henry Tate. To begin with it focused solely on British painting (mainly of the Victorian era), but its controversial acquisition of Hugh Lane's collection of European Modern Art caused it to widen its remit to include contemporary works by overseas artists. Later expansion was assisted by charitable donations from the art dealer Joseph Duveen, Samuel Courtauld and Sir Charles Clore, as well as the Turner Bequest.
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By the early 1990s, the Tate Collection had grown too big for the original Tate Gallery at Millbank. As a result, it was decided to hive off the international modern art section of the Tate Collection, and house it in a separate new gallery - to be known as the Tate Modern. Meanwhile, the Tate building on Millbank would revert to its original intended function as the national gallery of British art. The latter venue has now been renamed the Tate Britain, and continues to be the national museum of British painting and sculpture from 1500 to the present day: roughly from Elizabethan times to the Turner Prize. For more details of the latter award for British contemporary art, please see Turner Prize Winners.
This houses the finest collection of British art in the world, including paintings by William Blake, John Constable, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, George Stubbs, Joseph Mallord William Turner, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and others from the English School of Figurative Painting, including Victorians like GF Watts and Alfred Stevens, as well as more modern artists like David Hockney, plus sculptures and installation by Sir Jacob Epstein, Dame Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore OM, and Damien Hirst. The gallery is the global centre for the promotion and appreciation of British art, and helps promote it internationally, in exhibitions, festivals and cultural events. For more, see: Best English Painters.
Founded in 2000 and situated in the former Bankside Power Station, the museum is now Britain's new national centre of contemporary art, having taken over responsibility for the modernist component previously housed at the Tate gallery at Millbank. In this capacity it exhibits international modern art dating from 1900 to the present day, including masterpieces by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol as well as contemporary work by artists such as the contemporary Irish sculptor Dorothy Cross and the duo Gilbert & George.
The Tate collection of modern art is exhibited on two of the gallery's floors, while the third is devoted to new, more temporary shows. In addition, from October to March, specially-organized displays by contemporary artists are staged in the Turbine Hall on level 1.
The latter have included leading creative figures such as, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (2008), Doris Salcedo (2007), Carsten Höller (2006), Rachel Whiteread (2005), Bruce Nauman (2004), Olafur Eliasson (2003), Anish Kapoor (2002), Juan Munoz (2001), and Louise Bourgeois (2000).
Established in 1988 and located in a beautiful renovated warehouse which forms part of the historic Albert Dock, Tate Liverpool is home to two main types of artworks: fine art selected from the Tate Collection and also special shows of contemporary art (sourced from other UK collections). Over eighty different exhibitions have been staged since the museum was opened, featuring more than 300 different artists.
As a centre of modern art, Tate Liverpool typically shows a diverse and challenging range of works taken from the field of avant-garde art, including: video art, photography, printmaking, performance and installation in addition to painting and sculpture. As well as UK artists, the gallery exhibits work by overseas artists, and collaborates with creative organizations in France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, North America, Ireland, Japan and Korea and Japan.
This museum aims to preserve the traditions of art, especially 20th century art, in St Ives, through a program which includes showings of British and overseas artworks and an artistic residency program. It is the second regional venue (after Tate Liverpool) in the Tate network, although the Tate organization also runs the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in St Ives, which was established in 1980.
Ever since 19th century visits by J.M.W. Turner, Whistler and Walter Sickert, the small town of St Ives in Cornwall has a rich tradition of attracting artists from all over Britain and the Continent. In the later 1930s, it became home to the St Ives School, an artist movement whose early members included Ben Nicholson, Christopher Wood, the local marine painter Alfred Wallis, the ceramics artists Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, the sculptress Barbara Hepworth and sculptor Naum Gabo. The town rapidly became a centre for abstract avant-garde landscape painting, and attracted a new generation of creative practitioners like Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, John Wells and Bryan Wynter, who had a significant influence on the evolution of fine art painting in the UK during the second half of the 20th century.
Launched in 1998 and sponsored by BT, Tate Online is the organization's website, which provides news and information on all four Tate venues. In addition to news of current and forthcoming shows, along with details of exhibits, Tate Online provides a large searchable database of works in the Tate Collection, plus structured e-learning opportunities for all visitors, with over 400 hours of archived webcasts, articles from the magazine TATE ETC. and a series of special Internet art commissions.
The Tate's collection (2008) consists of 66,000 works of art by 3,000 artists, including British works from 1500 to the present day and twentieth century works by both British and International artists. It comprises:
Movements and Periods
Nearly all modern art styles and genres are represented in the Tate collection, including: Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Suprematism, De Stijl, Neo-Plasticism, Dada, Surrealism, Conceptual Art, Abstract Expressionism, Action Painting, Colour Field Painting, Pop-Art, Post-Modernism, Op-Art, Minimalism, Assemblage, Photorealism and Street Art, to name but a few.
Highlights of the Collection
Among the many outstanding works of painting, sculpture and contemporary artforms like video and installation are the following:
Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985)
George Grosz (1893-1959)
David Hockney (b.1937)
René Magritte (1898-1967)
Joan Miró (1893-1983)
Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)
Graham Sutherland OM (1903-1980)
Georg Baselitz (b.1938)
Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957)
Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)
Naum Gabo (1890-1977)
Hepworth DBE (1903-1975)
Sol LeWitt (1928-2007)
Henry Moore OM, CH (1898-1986)
Bruce Nauman (b.1941)
Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010)
For more information about the world's greatest art museums, see: Art Encyclopedia.