Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
baby changing facilities icon Food icon Shop icon Library icon Study area icon Hearing disability facilities icon Visual disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is an inspirational public art museum where you can see outstanding world art for free. The Centre, which opened in 1978 to house the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, is a world-class building designed by Norman Foster, at the University of East Anglia (UEA), a short distance from Norwich city centre.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery

Opening hours

Tues-Friday 10.00-18.00
Saturday-Sunday 10:00-17:00

Closed: Mon
Christmas & New Year

Admission charges

Admission to the permanent collection is free. There may be charges for special exhibitions.


  • International Council of Museums

Additional info

The galleries are fully accessible to wheelchair users. Manual and electric wheelchairs are available - please call in advance to book. A hearing loop is installed in the building.

The Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection is primarily found in a gallery known as the Living Area, where modern European art is interspersed with works from around the globe. The objects you'll find here span 5,000 years of human creativity.

Objects from the UEA Collection of Abstract and Constructivist Art, Architecture and Design are also displayed. The collection reflects the curators' interest in 1960s kinetic art and multiples, and non-objective and constructive movements of the 20th century.

Collection details

Architecture, Decorative and Applied Art, Design, Fine Art, World Cultures

Key artists and exhibits

  • Henry Moore
  • Alberto Giacometti
  • Francis Bacon
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Edgar Degas
  • Amedeo Modigliani
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Henri Cartier-Bresson: PARIS

  • 23 April — 29 August 2016 *on now

Henri Cartier-Bresson: PARIS features 81 magnificent images captured between 1929 and 1985 by world renowned photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, and provides an extraordinary insight into the streets of the city and the lives of its people.

Shown in the UK for the first time, It includes many of Cartier- Bresson’s best known photographs whilst many other works are being shown in the UK for the first time.

Known predominantly as a photographer of the street, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s images capture the dynamism of contemporary life and this exhibition explores one of his most enduring subjects – Paris. Exquisite black and white images record the people, places and activity of the city finding the unusual, the humorous, the poignant and the often marvellous in the ordinary and everyday.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


£7/£6 concessions, free for Members and Patrons


Alberto Giacometti: A Line through Time

  • 23 April — 29 August 2016 *on now

This landmark exhibition is dedicated to the work of Alberto Giacometti, one of the giants of twentieth century art, celebrated as a sculptor, painter and draughtsman. The exhibition will commemorate 50th anniversary of the artist’s death and is an exciting opportunity to examine the artist’s influence amongst his contemporaries in Paris and his impact on British art in the post-war period.

Key themes will include the artist’s sources of inspiration, the Sainsburys as patrons, his approach to materials and processes, and his influence on British artists. Over 100 works will be featured in the exhibition in a variety of media including sculpture, painting, works on paper, photography, film and important archival material.

A significant component of the exhibition will be dedicated to Giacometti’s impact in Britain and feature works by artists including Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Henry Moore, William Turnbull, Eduardo Paolozzi, Frank Auerbach, Elisabeth Frink and Isabel Rawsthorne.

Discover the influence Talbot’s revolutionary technology, techniques and practices had on his contemporary practitioners – Anna Atkins, Hill and Adamson, and Calvert Jones – and see original prints from his seminal publication 'The Pencil of Nature' alongside the oldest surviving daguerrotypes by fellow photography pioneer Louis Daguerre.

Book your ticket now to explore the life and work of the man who defined what was possible in the formative moments of photography.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


£12/£10.50, Free for Members and Patrons


Looking Beyond: Conversations Between John Berger and John Christie

  • 7 May — 27 November 2016 *on now

This new exhibition brings together previously un-exhibited letters and handmade booklets of renowned writer John Berger and artist John Christie with photographs, video and works of art from the Centre and Christie’s own collection.

Looking Beyond is curated by UEA postgraduate Museum Studies students and aims to encourage visitors to reflect on their own responses to the Sainsbury Centre collection.


photograph of whale ivory necklance

Fiji: Art and Life in the Pacific

  • 15 October 2016 — 12 February 2017

The most comprehensive exhibition about Fiji and Fijian art ever assembled, Fiji: Art and Life in the Pacific will highlight exceptional collections from the UK and elsewhere, including the Fiji Museum.

The exhibition will bring together beautiful historic objects such as wood sculpture, bowls, canoes, weapons, large painted barkcloths
and newly crafted objects made of shell and whale ivory, as well as examples of contemporary art.

Continuity of artistic practice in Fijiwill be explored. Among the highlights will be a specially commissioned 26-ft sailing canoe and barkcloth wedding dresses. Over 250 objects, paintings, drawings and historic photographs will celebrate Fijian creativity and the important place of art in Fijian culture.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
University of East Anglia




01603 593199


01603 591053

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.