Messums of London art gallery comes to Harrogate

Johnnie Messum

Johnnie Messum - Credit: Archant

A London-based gallery has made a new home in Yorkshire

The exterior the new Messums Gallery in Harroagte

The exterior the new Messums Gallery in Harroagte - Credit: Archant

A showcase gallery is making a new home in Harrogate bringing contemporary art to a new audience.

Art dealer Johnny Messum, owner of the respected Messums of London, has expanded his business, opening Messums in Harrogate in James Street.

Despite the pandemic, he was able to open the gallery within his original time frame, choosing Harrogate as a location because of the interest in contemporary art in the town and wider area.

He aims to offer enthusiasts a ‘broad church’ of art with a cyclical programme of exhibitions that will periodically showcase artists with a Yorkshire connection.

‘Art across the genre is something we have always celebrated,’ says Johnny.

‘This is a gallery of figurative and contemporary art which has been at the forefront of our business forever.

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‘We are programming with a context to Yorkshire – we have always had some great collectors in and around Harrogate and it’s very much with their interests in mind that we thought we would make a more permanent location here,’ he adds.

Johnny plans to hold six shows of the best of international contemporary and Modern British art each year in the Harrogate gallery with accompanying talks and events. With a nod to Yorkshire’s deep links with the textile industry, the Harrogate programme opens with Material Textile: Modern British Female Designers, which will showcase 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.

The upper floor will focus primarily on British Impressionist paintings championed by Messums since the 1960s, including artists such as Walter Sickert and Harold Gilman.

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. They have also shone a light on Northern artists with an annual exhibition on Cork Street titled The Elemental North, which focused 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.

‘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.