London Art Fair Collaborates with Museum Partner Towner Art Gallery to Bring 'The Living Collection' to London

London Art Fair
Sep 25, 2018 2:22PM

EricRavilious, TheBedstead, 1939. Towner Collection.

Wolfgang Tillmans, End of Land I, 2002 (Detail). © Wolfgang Tillmans, courtesy Maureen Paley, London. Towner Collection.

John Nash, Disused Canal, Wormingford, Essex, c.1940s. © The Artists Estate. Towner Collection.

For  the  2019  edition,  London  Art  Fair  has  partnered  with Eastbourne’s  Towner  Art  Gallery  to present The Living Collection, an exhibition that celebrates the gallery’s rich heritage of collecting, exhibiting and championing contemporary art for almost a century.

Founded in 1923 with a bequest of 22 paintings by Alderman John Chisholm Towner, the Collection today features a wealth of important twentieth-century British artists as well as a significant collection of national and international contemporary art and moving image artworks. As the gallery moves towards its centenary in 2023, the collection will play an important role in interpreting the last hundred years of regional history and be used as a catalyst to talk about the future.  

Towner’s exhibition at London Art Fair 2019 will showcase a selection of works that are significant to the history of the gallery and its collection, and will look at the way it has been shaped by its dedicated and innovative curators, who have sought to promote and support the most significant living artists of their time.

Demonstrating the strength of the Towner Collection as an active, evolving body of contemporary art, the exhibition will feature modern and contemporary works by Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden, John Nash, William Nicholson, Duncan Grant, William Gear, Gertrude Hermes, Tirzah Garwood, and Wolfgang Tillmans.

This selection will not only highlight the role of Sussexas ‘The Artists’ County’, a place of inspiration which has nurtured artists and makers, but will also champion key figures from its history that promoted radical thinking and inspired social change throughout the twentieth century.

To celebrate their exhibition at London Art Fair 2019, Towner is commissioning a new wallpaper artwork responding to the collection, which will form the backdrop of Towner’s display at the Fair.

Joe Hill, Towner’s new Director since March 2018, said: “We are delighted to be the Official Museum Partner for the 2019 London Art Fair. It is a brilliant opportunity to showcase the work of Towner at one of the largest events on the cultural calendar, and as the gallery moves towards its centenary celebration, it is an ideal moment to highlight some of the important artworks that have been significant in its development. At a time when all galleries and museums are re-examining their role in a changing political and social landscape, it is essential that we look to our collections to interpret our context and develop new creative conversations for the future with artists, audiences and communities.”

Sarah Monk, Director of London Art Fair, said: “It is a privilege to be welcoming Towner as our Museum Partner in 2019 at such an exciting time for the Fair, as we launch our refreshed identity, and for the gallery as they approach their centenary in 2023. We share a mutual ambition to showcase the most exciting developments in modern and contemporary art both celebrating the past and championing the future and bring outstanding regional collections to a national and international audience.”

Towner’s Chairman, broadcaster David Dimbleby, said: “We are excited to be the Museum Partner for the London Art Fair. It gives us a chance to show what we do at Towner: a contemporary art gallery commissioning and showing new work by both British and international artists alongside our own extensive collection of mainly twentieth-century art. This allows our curators and staff to explore different combinations of exhibitions and events with an energy that entices new audiences to come through our doors. As Trustees, nothing thrills us more than to hear of visitors enthusing about the unexpected delights Towner offers. I hope after seeing us at the fair you will come to Eastbourne and experience the gallery for yourself.”

Towner Art Gallery © Rob Walker.


London Art Fair will return to London for its 31st edition in 2019, recognised as a platform for connecting the best galleries from around the world with both seasoned and aspiring collectors, providing a unique opportunity to discover and champion outstanding modern and contemporary art.  The Fair seeks to nurture collecting at all levels whilst providing expert insight into the changing international market. Sitting alongside the main Fair, curated sections Art Projects and Photo50 feature the next generation of artists, collectives and gallerists; showcasing increasingly innovative and interactive ways to engage with art. The Fair’s strong gallery line up is also complemented by an extensive programme of engaging talks, panel discussions, interactive performance art, and onsite activations from the Fair’s partners.  Taking place from 16 – 20 January 2019 (VIP Preview 15 January), London Art Fair is an unmissable opening to the international art calendar.


Towner Art Gallery presents exhibitions of national and international importance to audiences across the UK and beyond. Showcasing the most exciting developments in modern and contemporary art, Towner develops and supports artistic practice, and provides a place for experiencing, creating and discussing art and culture. The gallery welcomes over 150,000 visitors a year and collaborates with individuals, communities and organisations to deliver an inclusive and accessible associated public programme and learning offer. Their acclaimed Collection of almost 5000 works is best known for its modern British art - including the largest and most significant body of work by Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) - and a growing collection of international contemporary art. In 2014, Towner became an independent charitable Trust, supported by a Board of Trustees, chaired by David Dimbleby. Towner is supported by Eastbourne Borough Council and Arts Council England through its National Portfolio Programme.

Blackwall Green and Hiscox are delighted to support Towner Art Gallery and London Art Fair.

London Art Fair