Drawn by the light, the landscape and their peers, artists made the seaside town of St Ives a centre for British art in the 20th century – and their legacy continues.
Now twice its original size, Tate St Ives reopens in 2017 after several years of major refurbishment. The start of a new era seems a fitting time to reflect on and explore the vibrant history of modern art in the town – an association that drew Tate to build its permanent gallery here in 1988.
This exhibition celebrates the artists who lived and worked in St Ives during the 20th century such as Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Naum Gabo and Peter Lanyon. The links they made with artists throughout the UK and beyond are explored through the work of Keith Vaughan, Elisabeth Frink, Piet Mondrian and many others.
While the first part of the exhibition focuses on local involvement and the story of modern art in Europe up to the Second World War, the later part deals with the huge shifts in society after 1950 and wider global influences that came into play. In keeping with the international outlook of the St Ives artists of the 20th century, Tate St Ives is expanding the town’s association with modern art, creating links with leading artists such as Li Yuan-chia, Saloua Raouda Choucair and Carmen Herrera.