City Art Centre

Image of City Art Centre
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In the heart of the city, next to Waverley station, the City Art Centre is one of Edinburgh’s main public art galleries, with a vibrant programme of temporary shows.

It is home to the city’s collection of historic and contemporary Scottish art, one of the best in the country, showcased in a series of changing displays. The gallery hosts a wide range of temporary exhibitions in different media by local, national and international artists.

There are guided tours for visitors, regular family activities, and the ArtSpace activity area for hands-on creativity. The Shop will entice you with its variety of art books, postcards, jewellery and gifts, while the Café will welcome you with delicious food, home-baking and coffee, making the City Art Centre a wonderful venue for a great day out.

Venue Type:

Gallery

Opening hours

Monday to Sunday 10am - 5pm

Admission charges

Free. Admission charges may apply to some exhibitions.

The City Art Centre is an impressive nine-storey former warehouse located in the heart of Edinburgh. Originally constructed between 1899 and 1902, it was converted into gallery use in 1980. As well as mounting a busy programme of temporary exhibitions, it houses the City of Edinburgh's nationally recognised collection of Scottish art. With over 4,500 works, it includes paintings by the majority of Scotland's greatest artists from the seventeenth century onwards, including Allan Ramsay, Sir Henry Raeburn, William McTaggart, the Scottish Colourists, and Joan Eardley, as well as a fine collection of contemporary Scottish art.

Collection details

Archives, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Photography

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Mid 19th century photograph of a woman in a shawl, turned away from the camera.

In Focus: Scottish Photography

  • 7 July 2018 — 12 May 2019 *on now

Scotland has played a central role in the history of fine art photography since the mid 19th century. The pioneering work of David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson helped to lay the foundations of this art form in the 1840s, inspiring subsequent generations to explore both its documentary potential and aesthetic possibilities.

'In Focus: Scottish Photography' showcases the City Art Centre’s photographic collections, charting the development of fine art photography in Scotland from the 19th century to present day. The exhibition features work by a range of historic and contemporary artists, including Hill and Adamson, Thomas Begbie, Joseph McKenzie, David Williams, Maud Sulter, Wendy McMurdo, Calum Colvin, Christine Borland and Dalziel + Scullion.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free admission

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/focus-scottish-photography

Surrealist view of the interior of Princes Street Railway Station

Edwin G. Lucas: An Individual Eye

  • 4 August 2018 — 10 February 2019 *on now

Edwin G. Lucas (1911-1990) was one of the most unique Scottish painters of the 20th century. Born and raised in Edinburgh, he channelled the influence of Surrealism in his work, cultivating an original and highly imaginative style of painting during the 1940s and 1950s that set him apart from his contemporaries. Today, however, he is virtually unknown.

'Edwin G. Lucas: An Individual Eye' is the first major exhibition to focus on this unusual and enigmatic artist. Featuring over sixty artworks from public and private collections, including loans from the artist’s estate and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, it traces the untold story of Lucas’s life and career.

This exhibition will be accompanied by the forthcoming illustrated catalogue 'Edwin G. Lucas: An Individual Eye', written by Helen E. Scott and due to be published by Sansom & Co in August 2018.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free admission

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/edwin-g-lucas-individual-eye

Black and white photograph of childhood friends

Robert Blomfield: Edinburgh Street Photography | An Unseen Archive

  • 24 November 2018 — 17 March 2019

Robert Blomfield practised street photography across the UK from the 1950s to the 1970s, beginning in Edinburgh, where he studied medicine. He adopted an unobtrusive fly-on-the-wall approach, seeking interesting or amusing scenes in the rapidly changing post-war period.

A subsequent medical career meant that Blomfield’s vast collection of images - which carry echoes of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Vivian Maier - remained largely unseen, until a stroke forced him to put down his camera in 1999.

The exhibition displays a selection of this stunning private archive, documenting the dramatic shifts taking place in Edinburgh’s urban landscape during the 1960s. It includes candid shots of children playing amongst crumbling tenements, student life and evolving architecture, offering a rare opportunity to reappraise our understanding of Scottish culture at that time.

Exhibition in partnership with Robert Blomfield and Family.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/robert-blomfield-edinburgh-street-photography

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Black and white self-portrait of the artist and his late wife

The Early Life and Times of Robert Blomfield: The Making of a Street Photographer

  • 30 November 2018 2-3pm

An illustrated talk by Johnny Blomfield, Robert Blomfield's brother, showcasing this stunning private collection and through personal anecdotes offering an insight into the man behind these evocative black and white photographs of Edinburgh in the 1960s on display at the City Art Centre.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Free, but booking is essential. To book, please contact the City Art Centre on 0131 529 3993.

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/early-life-and-times-robert-blomfield-making-street-photographer

Photographic view of the Royal Mile at night time.

An Audience with ‘Dark Edinburgh’

  • 1 December 2018 2-3pm

Robert Blomfield documented the dramatic shifts taking place in Scotland’s urban landscape during the 1950s and 60s. Similarly, Scott Liddell, the man behind ‘Dark Edinburgh’, documents hidden and changing aspects of the city today. Join Liddell to hear more about his intriguing work.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Free, but booking is essential. To book, please contact the City Art Centre on 0131 529 3993.

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/audience-dark-edinburgh

Black and white photograph of Edinburgh at night.

Edinburgh: A City of Contradictions

  • 2 December 2018 2-3pm

To complement the exhibition 'Robert Blomfield: Edinburgh Street Photography - An Unseen Archive' Lynn and Paul Henni (henni.photo) will give an illustrated talk about their work. They use black and white photography to capture their home city and look for less conventional views of beautiful Edinburgh.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Free, but booking is essential. To book, please contact the City Art Centre on 0131 529 3993.

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/edinburgh-city-contradictions

City Art Centre
2 Market Street
Edinburgh
Lothian
EH1 1DE
Scotland

Website

City Art Centre

http://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk

E-mail

Administration

museumsandgalleries@edinburgh.gov.uk

Telephone

Reception

0131 529 3993

Fax

0131 529 3977

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.
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