Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

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Stanley Cursiter (1887—1976) painter, museum director, and cartographer


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Edinburgh. Collection of 20th- and 21st-century art founded in 1960 as an extension of the National Gallery of Scotland. Before the Tate Gallery split up into Tate Britain and Tate Modern, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art was the United Kingdom's only national museum devoted solely to modern art. The original nucleus of the collection consisted of 20th-century paintings and sculptures that happened to be owned by the National Gallery of Scotland. They were nearly all by Scottish artists, but the gallery has since built up a wide-ranging international collection in which most of the major movements and many of the greatest figures are represented. It is particularly strong in Dada and Surrealism, and in 1994 its importance as a centre for the study of these movements was greatly enhanced by the purchase of Sir Roland Penrose's library and archive. The following year it bought twenty-five works of art from Penrose's collection. The original home of the gallery was Inverleith House, a modestly sized Georgian mansion in the Royal Botanical Gardens. This was always intended as a temporary measure, but it was not until 1984 that the gallery re-opened in its present premises, an impressive Greek Revival building dating from 1825 that was formerly John Watson's School. See also Cursiter.

Subjects: Art.

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