Abstraction at the RBSA

5 Oct 2015 – 31 Oct 2015

Regular hours

10:30 – 17:00
10:30 – 17:00
10:30 – 17:00
10:30 – 17:00
10:30 – 17:00

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RBSA Gallery

England, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • The 101 bus runs from Birmingham City Centre down Newhall Street. For timetables and bus stops, please check National Express West Midlands.
  • The RBSA Gallery is in walking distance from St Paul's Metro tram stop
  • The RBSA Gallery is in walking distance from Snow Hill and Birmingham New Street train stations
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Curated by Undergraduate Archive Team Volunteers, Tate Gronow and Emily Robins, this exhibition highlights the range of abstract artworks within the RBSA Collection.


This exhibition explores the development of abstract artworks at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) through a display of examples from the RBSA Collection. Curated by Undergraduate Archive Team Volunteers, Tate Gronow and Emily Robins, Abstraction at the RBSA aims to show you how abstraction within the RBSA and in Birmingham has evolved since the mid-20th Century.

Abstract art as a legitimate form of expression was accepted gradually by the RBSA. The majority of the membership was suspicious of modernist concepts of art, particularly with regards to traditional ideas about artistic skill that did not seem apparent in abstract art. This apprehension meant that the first abstract artwork was not displayed by the RBSA until 1954, when a painting by Anthony Twentyman was accepted. As a result of this late acceptance of abstraction, the RBSA Collection holds a comparatively small number of completely abstract artworks. However, through their research for this exhibition, the curators identified a development in the style and extent of abstraction shown by artists represented by the RBSA.

The Curators would like to thank their fellow Archive Team Volunteers - David White RBSA, Carol White, Nigel Priddey RBSA, Nicola Onions, and Ayesha Hussain - for helping with the research and photography for this exhibition. The Curators would also like to thank the RBSA staff members, the RBSA Display Team, and the exhibitors for their support.

Please note that the exhibition will be closed on Thursday 22 October from 10.30am to 3pm. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

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