2024's Top Summer Art Exhibitions in the UK: Must-See Drawings and Works on Paper

03 Jun 2024

by Suzie Jones

Get up close and personal with drawings and works on paper. Encompassing a wide range of media from charcoal and pastel to lithography and other print techniques, this summer's exhibitions demonstrate the enduring appeal of drawings and works on paper.

Across the UK, view incredible pieces by historic heavyweights such as Matisse and Michelangelo, alongside striking works by post-war and contemporary artists using innovative and expressive techniques. Offering magical insight into an artist's mind, drawings can be intimate, exploratory or expressive. Refined prints and works on paper reveal how artists harness specific media or techniques to enhance or distil their practice. Read on to find out about the best exhibitions to see this summer.

A Painter in Paris: Albert de Belleroche (1864 – 1944) at Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth

This is the first major retrospective of artworks by painter and lithographer, Albert de Belleroche. Born in Wales in 1864, Belleroche grew up in France and immersed himself in the vibrant Parisian art scene, forging friendships with luminaries including Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, and Pierre Auguste Renoir. He formed a lifelong friendship with John Singer Sargent, with whom he shared studios throughout his career. This rich, new exhibition features over 60 oils and lithographs by Belleroche, many of which have never before been on public display. On view until 22 September.

Tickets: Adults £9.50, children £5

Sukaina Kubba: Turn Me Into a Flower at DCA, Dundee

In Dundee, multidisciplinary artist Sukaina Kubba is presenting an ambitious new body of work, alongside existing works. Ranging from drawings made from latex, embossing, and laser engraving to screen prints produced on DCA’s large-format press, these works are ambitious in scale and often push the boundaries of drawing and the print format. On view until 4 August.

Tickets: Free admission

Michelangelo: the last decades at the British Museum, London

This exhibition explores the last 30 years of Michelangelo's remarkable life when his return to Rome brought him new commissions and reunited him with some of his closest friends. Forceful preparatory drawings for the monumental Last Judgement fresco, as well as the newly conserved cartoon of the Epifania, will be displayed alongside studies for Michelangelo's grand architectural projects, including the rebuilding of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Intimate letters, poems, and drawings will offer powerful insights into his faith, relationships, and experiences of old age. On view until 28 July.

Tickets: Adults from £18, Members and under-16s free.

Henri Matisse: Prints and Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London

Located in central London, Bernard Jacobson Gallery presents an expansive new exhibition of work by Henri Matisse, charting his dedication to portraiture through line, light, and shadow. Featuring works from the 1910s through to his later years, these pieces capture the artist’s life and muses through mediums such as aquatint, etching, linocut, and lithograph. A must-see for fans of this 20th-century master. On view until 29 June.

Tickets: Free admission

Judith Bernstein, Truth and Chaos at Emalin, London

The exhibition presents historical works from Bernstein's 1990s 'word drawings' series alongside the maximalist phallic screw drawings that she has been creating since 1969. These works initiated her complicated relationship with censorship and popular recognition amid 1970s second-wave feminism. Direct and confrontational, they draw inspiration from outrage and violence, the American military-industrial complex, and the private scribbles found in the Yale University men's bathroom stalls. On view until 15 June.

Tickets: Free admission

Drawing Biennial 2024 at Drawing Room, London

Held biennially, this exhibition is a major highlight for anyone interested in drawings and works on paper. This year’s Biennial showcases the expansive nature of contemporary drawing practices in 2024. It also serves as a fundraiser that provides vital income for the gallery and offers art collectors the opportunity to bid online. On view until 3 July.

Tickets: Free admission

→ More exhibitions and events in London, Berlin, New York, and Los Angeles

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