Trends & Ideas

2021's must see exhibitions


After five long months of closure the UK's museums and galleries have opened their doors, poised and ready with an impressive range of exhibitions to honour some of the most important artists and creatives in history. Here is our insider's guide to this year's 'must see' exhibitions.

We have long-standing relationships with the country's leading museums, and we produce a range of bespoke products for each institution to support these landmark exhibitions which you can buy from museum online shops or when you visit.

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

Victoria & Albert Museum

22nd May - 31st December 2021

Illustration from first published edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, illustrated by John Tenniel, 1866. Credit: V&A, London

Carrying over with a vengeance from 2020 after its opening was prematurely cut short, the V&A's anticipated Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser takes visitors on an immersive journey down the rabbit hole in an exposition of the story’s origins, brought to life by over 300 objects from the original manuscript alongside film, fashion, art and photography.

Our V&A collection features a series of Sir John Tenniel’s well loved illustrations of the Alice in Wonderland, taken from a vintage card game dating 1918.

David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020

The Royal Academy of Arts

23rd May - 26th September 2021

David Hockney, No. 147, 5th April 2020. Credit: RA, London

Born out of the pandemic, British artist David Hockney presents 116 new works created on iPad in praise of the natural world. The collection was created during a period of intense creativity at his home in Normandy in the spring of 2020, and documents the unfolding of the season in an optimistic and digital exploration. 

Throughout his career, Hockney has investigated new technologies and explored different ways to make art, however he distinctively resists being associated with any one movement. Explore the story behind Hockney's diverse career through our collection of rare posters.

Jean Dubuffet: Brutal Beauty


17th May - 22nd August 2021

Jean Dubuffet, 'Paysage aux argus (Landscape with Argus)', 1955. Collection Fondation Dubuffet, Foundation Dubuffet, Paris / DACS, London 2019. Credit: Barbican, London

Celebrated for his embrace of 'low art', Dubuffet (1901-1985) was a French artist who rejected traditional, sophisticated art forms in favour of ‘art brut’- a term he invented to describe the work of untrained artists. Brut⁠al Beauty is the first major UK exhibition of Dubuffet's work in over 50 years, from his early portraits to fantastical statues and butterfly assemblages, and includes works from Dubuffet’s own private collection of Art Brut, acquired throughout his life.

Begin your own ‘raw art’ collection by exploring our Dubuffet collection, or by purchasing one of the six reproductions prints that we have produced for the exhibition, available to purchase from the Barbican.

John Nash: The Landscape of Love and Solace

Towner Eastbourne

18th May - 26th September 2021

Oppy Wood, 1917 - Evening, John Nash. Credit: Towner Eastbourne

An artist who did not have formal art school training, Nash was greatly respected by his contemporaries, particularly for his production of one of the most highly regarded paintings of the Great War, Over the Top, 1918. The Landscape of Love and Solace will contextualise the artist’s life and work within the history of the 20th century, and in particular via his key relationships with Dora Carrington and Christine Kuhlenthal, who later became his wife. This marks the most comprehensive major exhibition of Nash's work in over 50 years. 

Often overshadowed by his brother and fellow artist Paul Nash, John Nash has not been the subject of a major exhibition since 1967. Our collection of art prints features Nash's most celebrated works.

The EY Exhibition: The Making of Rodin

Tate Modern

 17th May - 21st November 2021

Main droite de Pierre et Jacques de Wissant, Auguste Rodin, 1885–86 Musée Rodin, S.00332. Credit: Tate, London

In a presentation that evokes the atmosphere of the artist’s studio, Tate Modern will present the first major exhibition to examine the 20th century sculptor’s plaster work. Considered the founder of modern sculpture, plaster work was at the heart of Rodin’s craft and Musee Rodin have offered unprecedented access to their collection as part of this unique insight into his world.

Alongside plaster work, Rodin’s drawings are a well-kept secret that formed a crucial part of his practice. As Rodin himself said at the end of his life, "It's very simple. My drawings are the key to my work."

Turner’s Modern World

Tate Britain

17th May - 12th September 2021

Snow Storm - Steam-Boat Off a Harbour's Mouth, Joseph Mallord William Turner, exhibited 1843. Credit: Tate, London

Living and working at the peak of the industrial revolution, J.M.W Turner was an artist who painted the change of time. This major exhibition explores how Turner transformed the way he painted in order to better capture this new modern world; embracing change in order to document the social, political and technological movements that shaped society.

Renowned for his ability to reflect the ever-changing turbulence of the manmade and natural worlds in tandem, our collection of Turner prints celebrates his best loved works.

Lucian Freud: Real Lives

Tate Liverpool

24 July 2021 – 16 January 2022

Girl with a Kitten, 1947, Lucian Freud. Credit: Tate. © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

This exhibition peers into the personal life of this deeply private man and master of modern portraiture, showcasing paintings, etchings and photographs that feature the artist’s most recognised sitters including his first wife Kitty Garman, his friend and studio assistant David Dawson and performance artist Leigh Bowery.

Our unique collection of photography portraits includes rarely seen images of Freud the artist. Built in partnership with the UK's leading archives, galleries, and museums, these images offer a unique insight into the artist and man behind this iconic exhibition.

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