Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: Paths to Abstraction

Now open at the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, Paths to Abstraction is a large-scale exhibition that explores the work of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, from her early works inspired by the Cornish landscape through to the abstract canvases she made during the 1960s and early 1970s.

11 February - 20 May | Hatton Gallery

Kings Road | Newcastle University

Newcastle upon Tyne


Largest Exhibition in 30 Years


It is the most significant exhibition of the artist’s work in recent years and a chance to engage with works including those rarely seen before by the public in a solo museum presentation for over 30 years.

In particular, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: Paths to Abstraction charts the crucial period of artistic progress during the first half of the artist’s career which saw her development from figuration to abstraction. The exhibition features around seventy paintings and drawings dating from 1935 to 1972, highlighting Barns-Graham’s significant contribution to British 20th century abstract painting.

Glasgow Airport, 1971, oil and acrylic on hardboard, BGT375

Exhibition Highlights


Highlights include Barns-Graham’s striking depictions of the Grindelwald Glacier in Switzerland, which have also recently been an inspiration for film maker Mark Cousins, in his critically acclaimed installation about Barns-Graham as well as his forthcoming feature film. For Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: Paths to Abstraction, two significant loans will also be included, from the National Galleries of Scotland and Camden Council Art Collection.

Further notable works that will be on display include figurative landscapes from St Ives, drawings and paintings from the artist’s exploration of the Grindelwald Glacier, and paintings from the abstract series entitled Things of a Kind in Order and Disorder.  Other works to be shown come from the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust and include The Road (1935), which has never been seen before in a public gallery. Another significant work, Wicca (1957), recently conserved will be seen for the first time.

The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust and includes over 60 works from our collection and a wide selection of material from our archive.

Left to right: The Road, c.1936, oil on canvas, BGT10535; Wicca, 1957, oil on hardboard, BGT459

See the Exhibition on Film

A short introductory film to Paths to Abstraction by Trust Director, Rob Airey

Paths to Abstraction Postcards

To coincide with the exhibition, we have produced a new selection of postcards now available from our online shop. We’ve selected six works from the exhibition to reproduce, including a vibrant untitled gouache painting from 1958, Box Factory Fire, 1948 and Ice Cavern, 1951 from London Borough of Camden’s collection.

Buy the postcards