Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art - National Galleries of Scotland

Scottish National Portrait Gallery
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Home to Scotland’s outstanding national collection of modern and contemporary art, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art includes two gallery buildings, Modern One and Modern Two.

Works from the Gallery’s collection, plus special loans, are presented in Modern One. The early part of the collection features French and Russian art from the beginning of the twentieth century, cubist paintings and superb holdings of expressionist and modern British art. Special highlights include paintings by Matisse and Picasso.

The Gallery also has an outstanding collection of international post-war work and the most important and extensive collection of modern Scottish art. The post-war collection features art by Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Andy Warhol and Lucian Freud, with more recent works by artists including Antony Gormley, Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

Modern Two is home to a changing programme of exhibitions and displays drawn for the permanent collection. On permanent display is a fascinating recreation of Eduard Paolozzi’s studio, as well as his 7.3m tall sculpture, Vulcan, that dominates the café. Modern Two is also home to the Gallery’s substantial library and archive, open to the public by appointment, and changing displays in the Gabrielle Keiller library.

Also in Modern Two is The Stairwell Project, a large-scale, permanent work by 2009 Turner Prize winner Richard Wright. Comprising several thousand individually hand-painted forms, the piece sits as Wright's most complex and ambitious work to date in Britain.

Set in extensive parkland, visitors can discover sculpture works by important artists like Ian Hamilton Finlay, Henry Moore, Rachel Whiteread, Richard Long and Nathan Coley. The lawn to the front of Modern One was re-landscaped in 2002 to a design by Charles Jencks.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Open daily, 10am-5pm. (6pm for August only).

Admission charges


When the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art opened in 1960, it inherited a small number of 20th century works from the National Gallery of Scotland, but the majority of the collection has been acquired over the last forty years.

The collection now comprises more than 5,000 items, ranging in date from the late 19th century to the present and encompasses work in a wide variety of media, from paintings, bronzes and works on paper, to kinetic sculpture and video installations.

Highlights of the collection include early 20th century French paintings by Bonnard, Vuillard, Derain and Matisse; Cubist work by Braque, Léger and Picasso; early 20th century Russian art, including oils by Larionov and Goncharova; and a superb collection of Expressionist art, with works by Barlach, Kirchner, Kokoschka and Nolde. The post-war collection includes work by Morandi, Bacon, Hockney, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Moore and Freud.

20th century Scottish art is especially well represented, with works by Mackintosh, the Scottish Colourists, Gillies, Maxwell, Eardley, Philipson, Davie, Bellany, Currie and Howson, while recent acquisitions include works by younger Scots such as Christine Borland and Douglas Gordon.

The Gallery's outstanding collection of Dada and Surrealist art and extensive holding of work by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi is shown in the adjacent Dean Gallery (renamed Modern Two in 2011).

Since space permits only a portion of the collection to be displayed at any one time, works are shown on a rotating basis. Exhibitions are also held throughout the year. The Gallery's collection of works on paper is held in the Print Room, which is open by appointment.

Collection details

Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

20th Century: Masterpieces of Scottish and European Art

  • 21 February 2015 — 18 February 2018 *on now

This exhibition of works from the collection, offers an historical overview of some of the most significant art works made during the last century. It features some of the most important works in our collection from the 20th Century.

Opened in 1960, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art was the first gallery in Britain dedicated to collecting modern and contemporary art. Fifty-five years on, many important and world famous works of art have entered the collection including works by Picasso and Matisse, paintings by the Russian artists Mikhail Larionov and Natalya Goncharova, and sculptures by the British artist Henry Moore, all of which are on display.

This exhibition supports the Gallery’s mission to place modern Scottish art in an international context by showcasing the work of modern Scottish artists alongside their European contemporaries.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Joan Eardley | Fifteen Years

  • 3 December 2016 — 21 May 2017 *on now

Joan Eardley’s career lasted barely fifteen years: she died in 1963, aged just forty-three. During that time she concentrated on two very different themes: the extraordinarily candid paintings of children in the Townhead area of Glasgow; and paintings of the fishing village of Catterline, just south of Aberdeen, with its leaden skies and wild sea. These two contrasting strands are the focus of this exhibition, which looks in detail at her working process. It draws on a remarkable archive of sketches and photographs which remains largely unknown and unpublished.

Eardley made literally thousands of working drawings, some of them slight sketches, while others are resolved pastel drawings, sometimes done on sheets of sandpaper. Many of the drawings are extended to the sides by other sheets simply stuck on. She also made hundreds of photographs, mainly of children playing in the street outside her studio, and commissioned a friend, Audrey Walker, to make photographs of specific sites, to aid her in her work. Precisely because she was an amateur photographer, and was seeking natural movement rather than staged poses or pin-sharp detail, Eardley’s photographs have a haunting quality: childhood and poverty are explored in a manner which is factual rather than sentimental.

The Catterline paintings likewise develop from rough pastel sketches, many of them never previously exhibited. Many of these unpublished sketches and photographs come from a remarkable archive, donated to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art by Eardley’s sister, Pat Black, in 1984. Fragile testaments to Eardley’s working procedure, they have been specially conserved and presented for this exhibition, where they are seen for the first time. The exhibition also features many loans from public and private collections, allowing the viewer to trace specific developments between the photographs, the drawings and the finished paintings.


£9 (£7)


Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art - National Galleries of Scotland
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Belford Road




0131 624 6200

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