The show is part of a carefully curated programme of exhibitions throughout 2016 celebrating the 140th anniversary of The Fine Art Society and highlighting its prominence and connoisseurship in the history of the British art market.
The nearly 40 significant artists showcased in the exhibition will include: Edward Bawden, Prunella Clough, Sir Alfred Gilbert, Walter Richard Sickert, Anne Redpath, James McNeill Whistler, Henry Herbert La Thangue, John Piper, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Edward Lear, Eric Gill, Katsushika Hokusai and Eric Ravilious. There will be a whole section dedicated to Samuel Palmer featuring four landscape paintings and ten rare etchings.
Founded in 1876, The Fine Art Society is one of London's oldest art dealerships. Described as "The Best Shop in London" by Walter Sickert, the crowds attending the most popular shows in the nineteenth century were often so big that the traffic in Bond Street was brought to a standstill.
The gallery has always championed living artists, holding historic exhibitions that have since entered the canon of art history. In the early days, the gallery supported avant-garde artists such as James McNeill Whistler and Walter Sickert, playing a fundamental role in the promotion of their art. At the turn of the twentieth century, the gallery showed its commitment to modernity by promoting the then-radical New Sculpture movement and supporting avant-garde female artists such as Gluck and Ithell Colquhoun.
In the second half of the twentieth century The Fine Art Society played a pioneering role in the revival of interest in the New English Art Club, the Glasgow Boys, the Birmingham Group, the Aesthetic Movement, the Arts and Crafts Movement, inter-war sculpture and post war design.
Contemporary artists represented by the gallery today include the renowned light artist Chris Levine and Chinese artist Jacky Tsai, who will be exhibiting new work alongside the birthday show.
Today, The Fine Art Society enjoys a unique position in the historical and cultural landscape of the city as London’s oldest art dealership still based in its original location - a Grade II listed, five storey townhouse on New Bond Street, Mayfair, with a façade designed by the prolific Victorian designer-architect E. W. Godwin (1833 -1886) in 1881.