Looking for an awesome London exhibition this March? Here’s our roundup of must-see shows in the capital.
1. Sea life: The Van de Veldes at Queen’s House, Greenwich
Fires raging, ships lilting, stormy seas – the Willem Van de Veldes, Elder and Younger, were superb painters of maritime life whether it be capturing raging naval battles or calmer times upon the water. They had a studio at Queen’s House in Greenwich, and 350 years later their works have docked back there so we can admire their spectacular paintings, tapestries and drawings.
The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea at Queen’s House, Greenwich. 2 March-14 June, free.
2. Double exposure: A Hard Man is Good to Find & Deutsche Börse Prize at The Photographers’ Gallery
There’s double the photography pleasure in this pair of eye-catching exhibitions. A survey of 60 years of queer photography features plenty of ripped physiques and lots of tight clothing, and alongside it is the annual prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize, where four shortlisted artists take on heavy topics including race, sexuality and a missing person.
3. Heavy metal: Anthony Caro at Pitzhanger
Here’s a chance to see late masterful sculptor Anthoy Caro’s painted metal works in a stunning and historic setting. The exhibition explores Caro’s innovative use of materials and forms, as well as his contribution to the evolution of modern sculpture. It includes several large-scale installations, including ones that feature steps and doors, and it’s a unique opportunity to experience the beauty and depth of Caro’s sculptures and how they crossed over into architecture.
Anthony Caro: The Inspiration of Architecture at Pitzhanger. 9 March-10 September, £9.90.
4. Gold, gold: Evelyn De Morgan at Leighton House
Femininity, spirituality and the rejection of material wealth — all created using gold pigment. This series of work by Evelyn de Morgan marked her out from the other Pre-Raphaelites as she used an innovative technique that none of her contemporaries used. What better place to show some gold drawings than the opulent interior of Leighton House Museum?
Evelyn De Morgan: The Gold Drawings at Leighton House. 11 March-27 August, £20 (also includes entrance to Sambourne House)
5. Beautiful world: Sebastião Salgado at Flowers Gallery
The king of black and white photography has returned with highlights from across almost five decades of capturing stunning landscapes, intimate portraits of indigenous persons, and man’s impact on the world around us. We’ve been wowed by previous exhibition of Sebastião Salgado’s spectacular photographs, including a five star show at Science Museum, and here’s a chance to gaze in awe once again.
Sebastião Salgado: Magnum Opus at Flowers, Cork Street. 16 March-15 April, free.
6. Last impressions: After Impressionism at The National Gallery
Everyone loves the waterlilies and landscapes of Monet and his peers — they’re beautiful works in their own right. But what Impressionism did was light a fire for art to transform into something more expressive, bequeathing the likes of Cézanne and Van Gogh who came shortly after, and then on to Cubism and Abstraction, which took things one step further. The National Gallery has charted this evolution by bringing together dozen of works that tell us about arguably the most important period of art history. The gallery also has a free one-room display looking at beauty and the satire in the Renaissance, including the famous Quinten Massys painting known as ‘the Ugly Duchess’.
After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art at The National Gallery. 25 March-13 August, £24-26.
The Ugly Duchess: Beauty and Satire in the Renaissance. 16 March-11 June, free.
7. Who’s a good boy?: Portraits of Dogs at The Wallace Collection
The Wallace Collection has literally gone to the dogs, as canines take over the exhibition space. While getting a portrait of your dog today may feel like an indulgence, it’s got a long history, and artists such Gainsborough, Leonardo da Vinci, David Hockney and Lucian Freud have all painted our faithful friends. It’s a chance to see some beautifully captured canines… and some cuteness overload too.
Portraits of Dogs: From Gainsborough to Hockney at The Wallace Collection. 29 March – 15 October, £14.
8. Got Milk?: Milk at Wellcome Collection
Growing up, I remember being told I needed to drink a lot of milk for healthy bones and teeth. Now that there are plant-based alternatives to milk, the narrative is swinging in the opposite direction. Wellcome Collection has turned its gaze to how the science and marketing of milk is woven into our cultural history, from ‘breast is best’ to the advertising of milk’s nutritional value, and whether milk moustaches will become a thing of the past.
Milk at Wellcome Collection. 30 March-10 September, free.
9. Clash of the Titan: Titanosaur at Natural History Museum
When is a dinosaur more than just a dinosaur? When it’s the biggest creature to have ever walked the Earth, that’s when. A cast of Patagotitan lets us imagine a remarkable creature that would have dwarfed beloved former Natural History Museum resident Dippy. The exhibition also includes information on how this giant lived, what it ate, and a recreation of its skull that visitors can touch. My inner seven year old has never been so excited.
Titanosaur: Life as the Biggest Dinosaur at Natural History Museum. 31 March-7 January 2024, £16 (£9 children).
10. Female Impressionist: Berthe Morisot at Dulwich Picture Gallery
Talk about Impressionists and most people think of male painters. In fact, one of the founders of the Impressionist movement was a woman, Berthe Morisot. Bringing together 40 of her works depicting everyday life, fashion, interiors and intimate scenes, this exhibition is a rare chance to admire the artworks of this hugely talented painter and learn about her life.
Berthe Morisot at Dulwich Picture Gallery. 31 March-10 September, £16.50.
11. Pop textiles: Andy Warhol at Fashion and Textile Museum
Pop Art genius Andy Warhol may be best known for paintings of Marilyn Monroe and Campbell’s Soup, but before that he was a designer and illustrator and created an array of textile designs. With ice cream sundaes, pretzels and clowns on his designs, the Fashion and Textile Museum is showing us how it all began, before he became an art world star.
Andy Warhol: The Textiles at Fashion and Textile Museum. 31 March-10 September, £12.65.
Short run events
March is the month when art fairs return to London’s scene, with affordable works available at all of them. Somerset House is hosting Collect (3-5 March, £25), a fair filled with beautiful objects by over 400 artists working with ceramics, glass, lacquer, art jewellery, precious metalwork, textiles and fibre, wood and paper. If craft and design is what gets you going, this is where you’ll find it.
If fine art is more your thing and you’re looking for that signature piece, the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea Park (9-12 March, £11-14) is the place to head. As the fair title suggests, there’s lots of affordable art for you to choose from, all under one giant marquee. If you’d rather buy directly from the artists then head to The Other Art Fair at Old Truman Brewery (9-12 March, £12). It’s where you find great emerging artists and I’ve bought dozens of works from this fair.
London Original Print Fair at Somerset House (30 March-2 April, £15) specialises in editions of works, so expect to see prints and artworks by everyone from Rembrandt and Picasso, through to emerging artists. As they are editioned works they hold their value, but are more affordable than originals can be.