5 of the Best Art Galleries in Glasgow

Having recently moved to the Glasgow area, finding new art galleries to visit is top of my to-do list. I already knew that Glasgow is home to a range of excellent galleries in general and was one of the main reasons for moving here.

But I wanted to do some research to make a prioritized list of galleries to visit. Whether you’re after something contemporary, exciting and experimental or something more traditional, the city has something to offer everyone.

If you’re an art lover looking for a new gallery to add to your list of favourites, read on to discover my pick of the top 5 art galleries in Glasgow.

Gallery of Modern Art (GoMa), Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow

The Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) opened in 1996 and is the most visited museum in the UK outside of London. GoMa is housed in a much older neo-classical building. The GoMA is home to a collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, as well as a variety of sculptures. You’ll also find Scottish art and contemporary art exhibitions, as well as a ‘contemporary’ cafe and library. The building is located close to Glasgow’s Central Station and Queens Street train station, making it easily accessible by public transport. I recently went to GoMa with a relative to see an exhibition – “Revisiting the Work of Black Artists in Scotland through New Collecting”. The work of Maud Sulter was particularly interesting.

The architectural style of the building housing GoMa is on the surface at odds with the artworks it is home to – that in itself if modern art though isn’t it?

The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery

Situated on the campus of the University of Glasgow, the Hunterian Museum is Scotland’s oldest public museum. The museum opened in 1816 and was one of Scotland’s first museums. It would be more accurate to say that it is a collection of museums, and galleries grouped under the one name.

The Hunterian has a collection that spans a number of areas, including archaeology, medical history, natural history, and art. The museum also regularly hosts outdoor exhibitions, as well as temporary exhibitions. The Hunterian is home to a large collection of art by the Scottish Colourists. The museum has an excellent permanent exhibition on the Scottish Colourists, including works by MacTaggart, Peploe, and Hunter.

The Hunterian also hosts a number of temporary exhibitions, some of which are free. The museum is easily accessible by public transport, with a bus stop and train station located nearby. Additionally, the University of Glasgow is located on a hill, which is great for walking – down that is!

The Hunterian Art Gallery, in particular, holds famous art by Whistler, Mackintosh, Rubens, Rembrandt and the Glasgow Boys. The Gallery is located on Hillhead Street and is just a 5 minute walk from the main Museum.

The Mackintosh House displays the only surviving domestic interiors of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the artist Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh. The significance of the the art and design found in this re-creation of the Mackintosh’s home is explained to visitors via text, videos and illustrations. If you make it to the Mackintosh’s home you will see the original drawings and designs for furniture and every day household objects that many of us probably see around us today. This house is small though and not that easy to get around. Please speak with the Museum before planning your own trip.

The Scottish Colourists: Artists From the Royal Scottish Academy

The Hunterian Museum in Glasgow holds one of the finest collections of work by a group of artists collectively known as “The Scottish Colourists”. This group comprised of: Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell (1883–1937), John Duncan Fergusson (1874–1961), George Leslie Hunter (1879–1931) and Samuel John Peploe (1831–1935).

I particularly appreciate the work of The Scottish Colourists for their use of free brushwork and colour. In their time they were a radical group of artists. They all spent time in France on separate visits and experienced first hand French avant-garde painters from the Impressionists, Cezanne, Matisse and the Fauves. They were not a group of artists who worked closely together and it is believed that they only exhibited together 3 times while alive.

All four artists were frustrated by their traditional conservative art education and travelled to explore art from further afield.

The Scottish Colourists did receive critical acclaim while still living, although they fell out of favour by the Second World War. After this war, however, their work was rediscovered and now they hold a strong foothold in the history of Scottish art.

Glasgow Women’s Library

The Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL) was set up in 1991 to ensure that women practising all forms of art were represented appropriately in the city.

GWL was a development out of a group called “Women in Profile” and was made up of visual artists, academics, activists, students and multidisciplinary artists. “Women in Profile” ran exhibitions, workshops and projects as part of Glasgow’s tenure as the European City of Culture in 1990.

Over the course of the “Women in Profile” project documentation was generated and catalogued. These documents became the basis for what is now known as Glasgow Women’s Library.

Since 1991 the Library has grown thanks to the contributions of thousands of women and is certainly a notable asset to how women are represented, or not.

The Library is a great place to visit if you’re interested in feminism and gender equality.

This library is one the only libraries in the world dedicated to women’s writing and creative work. The library also hosts regular discussions, exhibitions, and workshops. The library has a wide variety of resources, including books, oral histories, magazines, pamphlets, and videos. The library also has an online database full of resources, such as feminist magazines, and books.

The library is a great place to start if you’re interested in feminism, gender equality, and women’s history. The library is located in central Glasgow, and is easily accessible by public transport.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

This is one of the most famous attractions in Glasgow, and is a great place to visit if you’re interested in Scottish art as well as international artists. The art gallery has been open since 1901, and has a wide variety of art.

The exhibitions are always changing, with new Scottish exhibitions often being held. The gallery also regularly hosts exhibitions on world famous artists, including Picasso, and Van Gogh. The gallery is also home to a wide variety of art, including sculptures, and a collection of interesting objects. The gallery is easily accessible by public transport. The gallery is open Monday to Thursday and Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm; on Friday and Sunday opening times are 11 am to 5pm. Entry is free.

Final Words

These are my picks for the best art galleries and collections in Glasgow. If there’s one thing that unites all of these galleries, it’s that they’re all worth visiting. Glasgow has a phenomenal art scene, and has been home to many artists and works of art that have become famous across the world

So if you’re an art lover visiting Glasgow, you’ll definitely want to make sure you stop by one of these galleries!


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