5 Great Ways to Learn About Art

The art world can be a mystifying place to a lot of people but the thing I love most about my job is demystifying it for them! Here, I thought I would share some of my favourite places that I have found over the years that have helped me on my journey learning about art.

  1. The Year Courses at the V&A

This is how I started my art career – by completing the year course at the V&A, which at the time covered the period ‘Rococo to Modernism’. These courses are absolutely wonderful introductions to art history, taught by some of the best tutors out there and you get to meet wonderful engaged people doing the course too. Start at the end of art history and work back, start at the beginning and go forwards or just pick the period you fancy. Which ever one you do, you’ll be in great hands. This was an amazing year and it gave me the context for the contemporary art that I then later specialised in.

Learn all about art history at the V&A. Pictured here ‘The Swing’ by Fragonard

2. Gallery Tours with the Contemporary Art Society

The Contemporary Art Society is an incredible group that donates work to around 70 museums and public galleries in the UK per year. These guys really know their stuff and operate on the cutting edge of emerging and contemporary art. Their CAST days are brilliant – they take you round a number of galleries and places that are off the beaten track and give you access to artists and studios that you would not normally get access to. The talks on the tours are of the highest standard. They used to have a membership for collectors interested in collecting art which is now sadly discontinued but still worth looking out for the tour days.

From the CAS February 2020 CAST tour:
Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Mirror Study. Sepuya is represented by Team Gallery, New York who will be hosted by Modern Art, Vyner Street during CONDO. © Paul Mpagi Sepuya

3. Any course at the Royal Academy of Art

I did the course on printmaking here several years ago. I entered a novice and came out a print geek! It is an absolutely brilliantly taught course that opens up your eyes to the incredible world of print making. A number of my clients have gone on to do the course and by the sounds of it, it gets better and better every year. I can still barely talk to the client who did it last year who got to keep her very own Ben Eine print that he printed in front of her last year! If print making doesn’t take your fancy then have a browse here for one of the many other courses the RA offers here. I have my eye on the “Women and Patronage: An Overlooked Art History” if I can escape the kids that weekend (the irony is not lost on me).

Ben Eine. Get a wiggle down to the next course on printmaking at the RA and it could be your lucky day.

4. London Art Studies

I used to attend very good lectures on art history with London Art Studies so I looked them up to include on here. They have gone all modern and now offer “award winning online classes for art lovers’. This all looks rather fabulous to me and surely has to be worth a look. They have varying levels of membership ranging from a £5 ‘Discovery Pass’ to a membership costing just £88 per year that gives you full access to their extensive portfolio. Looks brilliant.

5. Do an accompanied shop with an art consultant (Louisa Warfield of course!)

Did you honestly think I would do a list without putting myself on it?! Some of my clients want to learn about art but don’t have the time or inclination to sit through all the lectures. Instead they pay me (£75 per hour) to cut through all that and tell them what they want to know. We can do an accompanied shop round an art fair for a couple of hours (Art London, The Affordable Art Fair, Photo London and The London Original Print Fair are some of my favourites) or I can come to your house and just advise you what I think would look great on your wall. You’ll be getting all the knowledge as if you had sat through those courses yourself and whilst I think you will have missed a great joyous trick, you may think you have dodged one hell of a boring bullet. It’s different horses for different courses and I love working with clients who sit on both sides of the fence.

If you can’t be bothered to sit through art history classes, just ask me.

Louisa Warfield is an art consultant with over 15 years of art experience. She loves nothing more than passing on her art world knowledge to her clients in whatever way they want it. Call her on 07855 803509.

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