Frank Holl Emerging from the Shadows exhibition, Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate
PUBLISHED: 00:00 29 October 2013
Blockbuster Victorian art show comes to Harrogate
Artist Frank Holl emerges from the shadows this month with the first major retrospective of his work in more than 100 years. Emerging from the Shadows, which runs at Mercer Art Gallery in Harrogate from November 23rd to March 30th, champions the revered Victorian artist, renowned for his tragic social realism and penetrating society portraits.
Unfortunately, Holl was only 43 when he died, meaning he never fully received the acclaim his work merited in his lifetime. The last exhibition of his paintings was his memorial show at the Royal Academy in 1889 just after his death, making the Mercer display the first modern retrospective of this significant artist.
It brings together 35 major works and examines how, during his short career, the artist became a distinct and insightful voice in British painting.
‘I have admired Frank Holl’s paintings ever since I worked at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool which has in its collection The Fisherman’s Home, soon to be seen in this exhibition,’ said Jane Sellars, the Mercer’s curator of art. ‘It was my ambition to one day make Holl the sole subject of an exhibition that looks at the whole of his career. I hope visitors will enjoy discovering the work of an artist who is so little known today, but who in his lifetime was revered by both gallery goers and his fellow artists.’
Many of the paintings have never been on public display before, including a portrait of former Prime Minister William Gladstone, which has hung on the walls of his stately home, Hawarden Castle, for over 90 years.
Frank Holl: Emerging from the Shadows has been curated by Mark Bills and his team at the Watts Gallery in Surrey, working alongside Jane in Harrogate. The exhibition, which has also attracted assistance from curator Peter Funnell at the National Portrait Gallery in London, explores the significance of Holl’s output and his renewed relevance today.
Entry is free and the gallery in Swan Road is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm, and from 2-5pm on Sunday. It’s closed on Monday (except bank holidays). For more information, phone 01423 556188 or visit harrogate.gov.uk