Aberdeen Art Gallery
Aberdeen Art Gallery
Aberdeen Art Gallery
Location within Aberdeen
General information
LocationAberdeen, Scotland
Coordinates57.1482°N 2.1024°W

Aberdeen Art Gallery is the main visual arts exhibition space in the city of Aberdeen, Scotland. It was founded in 1884, in a building designed by Alexander Marshall Mackenzie, with a sculpture court added in 1905.[1] In 1900 it received the art collection of Alexander Macdonald, a local granite merchant.[2] The gallery is noted for its fine collection of modern Scottish and international art, including works by Ken Currie, Gilbert & George, Ivor Abrahams, Bridget Riley and Bruce McLean.


In April 2020, the gallery made 50 artworks available digitally via the Smartify app.[3]

In October 2020, Aberdeen Art Gallery was named one of the five winners of the 2020 ArtFund Museum of the Year Award.[4] ArtFund increased the prize money to £200,000 and changed the format of the award to five winners in response to the challenges faced by the museum sector during the Coronavirus Pandemic.[5]


The Fine Arts collection of the Aberdeen Art Gallery has grown steadily since its foundation in 1885, highlighted with works by such artists as Monet and Renoir as well as more modern artists like John Bulloch Souter, Ian Hamilton Finlay, and James McBey.[6]

The permanent collection includes 18th-century works by Henry Raeburn, William Hogarth, Allan Ramsay and Joshua Reynolds, and 20th-century works by Paul Nash and Francis Bacon,[7] the Post-Impressionists and the Scottish Colourists, as well as applied arts and crafts.

Building and renovations

The central hall is supported by granite columns in a variety of colours, derived from different quarries in the local area and far beyond.

Aberdeen Art Gallery Interior Post-renovation
Aberdeen Art Gallery Interior Post-renovation

At the western end of the building, with a room inside and a monument outside, is a major war memorial. The war memorial was built in the 1920s as a part of the rapid expansion of the Aberdeen Art Gallery and was funded by a public subscription.[8] The Memorial Court court has a display of several books of remembrance and rolls of honour, commemorating the fallen of World War I, World War II, the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets in World War II, and from conflicts after 1945.

Another addition to the Gallery during this time of rapid expansion was Cowdray Hall. Cowdray hall is a concert venue for music and performances and was opened by King George V and Queen Mary 25 September 1925.[9] The hall was supported by a gift from Annie, the Viscountess of Cowdray "with a view to encouraging the taste for art and music in the City of Aberdeen".[10]

The Gallery was closed for a programme of renovations commencing in 2015.[11][12] The £34.6 million redevelopment was designed by Hoskins Architects and carried out by contractors McLaughlin & Harvey.[13] The gallery re-opened in November 2019, with comedian John Bishop, being one of the first people to visit.[14] The project won an award from the Scottish Civic Trust for making an outstanding contribution to the quality and appearance of the built environment as well as the trust's National Panel Special Award.[15]

See also


  1. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Schoolhill and Blackfriars Street, Art Gallery including war memorial and Cowdray Hall, Robert Gordon's College archway and former Gray's School of Art (LB19978)". Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  2. ^ Hourihane, Colum (6 December 2012). The Grove Encyclopedia of Medieval Art and Architecture, Volume 2. p. 6. ISBN 9780195395365.
  3. ^ "Art lovers can stay at home and enjoy Aberdeen Art Gallery thanks to new app". Aberdeen City Council. 7 April 2020. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  4. ^ "Meet our winners". Art Fund. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  5. ^ "Art Fund Museum of the Year 2020". Art Fund. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Fine Art | Aberdeen City Council". www.aberdeencity.gov.uk. 10 February 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  7. ^ Darwin Porter, Danforth Prince (20 March 2006). Frommer's Scotland. p. 282. ISBN 9780471783855.
  8. ^ "Organisation and History | Aberdeen City Council". www.aberdeencity.gov.uk. 10 May 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Cowdray Hall | Aberdeen City Council". www.aberdeencity.gov.uk. 1 May 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Organisation and History | Aberdeen City Council". www.aberdeencity.gov.uk. 10 May 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  11. ^ "DSA Building/Design Report: Aberdeen Art Gallery". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Aberdeen Art Gallery £30m redevelopment delayed". BBC News. 22 November 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  13. ^ Addy, Ben (10 December 2019). "Tough love invigorates Aberdeen Art Gallery". The RIBA Journal. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  14. ^ Merson, Adele. "Video: More than 5,000 expected as Aberdeen Art Gallery reopens its doors this weekend". Evening Express. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  15. ^ "2021 Civic Trust Awards" (PDF). Civic Trust Awards. 5 March 2021. Retrieved 26 March 2021.