Art at Glyndebourne
Learn more about the connection between Glyndebourne and visual arts
Situated on a site of great architectural interest, Glyndebourne now curates year-round exhibitions of contemporary art and sculpture drawing together art and music, alongside displays of fascinating archival material drawn from the collection.
The publication of the first Festival Programme in 1952 encouraged the first collaborations with visual artists. Inspired by the season-long programme book of the Aix-en-Provence Festival, industrialist Miki Sekers suggested to opera manager, Moran Caplat, that something along similar lines would be ideal for Glyndebourne. Cover designs were initially created by in-house designers, from Oliver Messel and Osbert Lancaster to Hugh Casson, and often illustrated the stage sets or characters from the productions that year. More recently, eminent artists including Howard Hodgkin, Eileen Cooper, Anish Kapoor, David Hockney, Grayson Perry, Fiona Rae and Chris Ofili have created designs for these collectables covers.
As well as artists, Glyndebourne has also worked in association with galleries and curators, including a two year partnership between 2015-2017 with world-renowned contemporary art gallery, White Cube. During this time, London-based architectural studio Carmody Groarke created a temporary structure on site that housed temporary exhibitions of works by Georg Baselitz (2015), Raqib Shaw (2016) and Rachel Kneebone (2017).
Gallery 94 is Glyndebourne’s purpose-built exhibition gallery. Renamed in 2019 in honour of the building’s foundation year, the gallery presents an annual programme of curated contemporary exhibitions and displays that are open during the Festival season. Now in its 25th year, the gallery is well known for exhibiting the work of British artists, from celebrated figures such as Mary Fedden OBE and Ken Howard OBE RA to works by local Sussex-based painters and printmakers. As the gallery grows and develops, it continues to commission work on a yearly basis that reflects on Glyndebourne’s history and culture. This year it has also introduced an exhibition catalogue for the first time. All works are for sale through the Glyndebourne Shop.
The gardens and walkways of the theatre building have always been home to sculpture and numerous leading sculptors have had works exhibited on site, including Peter Randall-Page, Tony Cragg, Barry Flanagan, Anthony Gormley, Lucy Unwin and Nick Hornby. Alongside temporary installations, the grounds are also graced with Nic Fiddian-Green’s Horse at Water, acquire by Glyndebourne in 2011 and Draped Reclining Woman (1957-8) by the pioneering 20th century sculptor Henry Moore, which has been on long-term loan from the Tate since 1994.
This year, Glyndebourne has worked with Nicholas Hare on three monumental sculptures for the gardens, as well as a series of bronze tabletop pieces that can be found in the Foyer.
Image: Nicholas Hare sculptures in the gardens during Festival 2019, photo by Ben McKee
Between Worlds: Exhibition theme for 2019
This year Glyndebourne is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the opera building. In response, the entire visual arts programme this summer is united under one title: Between Worlds. This not only draws inspiration from this year’s opera productions – stories of transformation and change – but reminds us that the architecture of the theatre building is a place of imagination and magic, where art and music are closer than we first think.
Image: Other Worlds by Tom Homewood (2019)