Saturday 11 July 2020
Internationally renowned contemporary art dealer Johnny Messum hosted a summer opening at the new gallery in James Street, Harrogate, following the success of the James Street pop-up exhibition held just before lockdown. Launched over the weekend of 11 – 12 July, guests were invited to book timed appointments so they could view the exhibits in a safe and relaxed environment. Johnny plans to hold six shows of the best of international contemporary and Modern British art each year with accompanying talks and events, mirroring the highly acclaimed programmes currently on offer at the galleries in London and Wiltshire.
With a nod to Yorkshire’s deep links with the textile industry, the Harrogate programme opened with Material Textile: Modern British Female Designers, which showcases some of the most colourful, important and collectable textiles created by female artists during the 1950s – 70s. They have been brought together this year for the very first time. To complement the textiles, one of France’s leading ceramic artists Thiébaut Chagué, familiar to visitors to the V&A and the Louvre, also has his most recent studio works on display.
The upper floor focusses primarily on British Impressionist paintings championed by Messums since the 1960s, including artists such as Walter Sickert and Harold Gilman. The sculptor Dame Elisabeth Frink, the subject of a major show this summer at Messums Wiltshire, is also represented.
Messums historically has strong connections with Yorkshire and Yorkshire artists. Regular exhibitors at the Harrogate Art Fair, the gallery promoted artists of the Staithes School, in particular Dame Laura Knight, to London collectors. We have also shone a light on Northern artists with an annual exhibition on Cork Street titled The Elemental North, which focuses on renowned artists such as Jake Attree and Norman Ackroyd RA. In addition, Johnny Messum represents the sculptor Laurence Edwards, whose important installation The Doncaster Heads: Portraits of a Mining Community commissioned by the town of Doncaster, will be unveiled later this year.
Johnny Messum says, “I am delighted to be opening a gallery for Yorkshire’s discerning viewers in a town we know so well. I am looking forward to strengthening the gallery’s longstanding relationships in Yorkshire as well as to forging new ones. At times like these, the power of art to inspire and uplift is more important than ever. Our vision is to create a place where artists, art lovers and collectors can come together on a regular basis to enjoy the best contemporary art and craft from every corner of the world”.