Address Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Shiprow, Aberdeen, Grampian AB11 5BY , Scotland, UK
Telephone: (01224) 337700
The origins of Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums can be traced to 1873 when John Forbes White and a number of local art collectors decided to hold a public exhibition to display their collections. From this developed a plan to establish a public art gallery for the benefit of citizens, an objective that continues to drive the programmes of activity within the Museums and Galleries service today.
Aberdeen’s handsome granite Art Gallery, designed by A Marshall Mackenzie, one of the loveliest Victorian galleries in the UK, was opened in 1885. The displays combined industrial exhibitions with exhibitions of art, greatly enhanced by generous gifts, including Aberdeen granite merchant Alexander Macdonald’s private collection in 1900. Twenty years later the building was extended to accommodate the establishment of a plaster cast collection from which art students at the newly established Gray’s School of Art, at that time adjacent to the Art Gallery, could practice drawing. This light and clean central space is used today to exhibit works by leading contemporary artists.
Aberdeen Art Gallery has a special collecting area of portraits, especially artists’ portraits and self portraits. The collection was begun by Alexander Macdonald (1831-1884) a local granite merchant and collector of art, who commissioned over 90 uniformly sized portrait heads of the artists whom he either knew or admired.
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