Celebrating the act of looking and drawing from life: New English Art Club presents latest annual exhibition

Created to counteract the 'stuffiness' of the Royal Academy, the New English Art Club nurtured and encouraged some of Britain's best artists. The group's latest exhibition begins this week, with plenty of works for sale.

What do Walter Sickert, Augustus John, Stanley Spencer, John Singer Sargent and Paul Nash all have in common? Apart from being very fine artists, they were all members of the New English Art Club (NEAC), which is having its annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London, from June 13–July 22.

Marylebone High Street with Christmas Lights, Rain by Peter Brown

The NEAC was founded by a group of artists in the late 19th-century who were ‘dissatisfied with the entrenched attitudes of the Royal Academy’. They went on to embrace the Parisian avant-garde, and held their first show in 1886, with 50 artists, including Sargent, Sickert, George Clausen and Stanhope Forbes, showing their work. 

Richard Bawden’s Picking Apples.

The annual exhibition is a showcase for not only NEAC members, but also aspiring artists. This year, the exhibition will feature more than 400 works, with most available for sale, and some starting at prices of £300. 

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Francis Bowyer’s The Young Gardeners.

‘At its core, the NEAC celebrates the act of looking and drawing from life. In a world increasingly dominated by digital art and conceptual pieces, our exhibition reaffirms the timeless value of observation and interpretation in the artistic process,’ says Patrick Cullen, NEAC president. 

Patrick Cullen’s Earth Has No Reset Button.

‘This is combined with an approach which promotes innovation. The NEAC was born in reaction to the stuffiness of the Royal Academy and, in the same way, the work we show isn’t enslaved to restrictive principles when it comes to what and how artists interpret their view of the world. It is this freedom which gives our Annual Exhibition its energy and breadth.’

Knights in Armour by Andrew Hitchcock

As well as having plenty of work on display, the NEAC will be running a number of free events throughout the exhibition, including guided tours by member artists, sketching in the gallery (including a chance to draw a ballet dancer) and NEAC artist demonstrations. Full details can be found here.

Works can be purchased both online and at the exhibition.