isaac julien london exhibitions 2023
Isaac Julien, Once Again Statues Never Die, 2022

Works of art: The best London exhibitions to visit in 2023

09 Jan 2023 | Updated on: 10 Nov 2023 |By Annie Lewis

From fine art to history, kickstart this year’s cultural calendar by securing tickets to these must-visit exhibitions

London’s plethora of museums and galleries is one of the city’s biggest draws. Whether you’re craving a slow saunter around an ancient art exhibition, or are an avid fan of contemporary works, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the capital. 2023 promises to be another bumper year for culture, with must-see exhibitions to book now ranging from Pre-Raphaelite paintings by the Rossettis to mannequins adorned in some of Chanel’s most iconic creations. Get ahead of the curve with our essential guide to the best exhibitions in London in 2023.

The EY Exhibition: Cezanne at Tate Modern

cezanne still life with apples
Still Life with Apples 1893–1894. Image credit: J Paul Getty Museum

‘With an apple, I will astonish Paris’, proclaimed Paul Cezanne as a young artist breaking into his career in the 19th century. And that he did. His avant-garde approach to still life and landscapes changed the rule book, allowing other creatives to venture outside of the box. This exhibition follows the ambitious young painter from his hometown of Provence in the south of France to metropolitan Paris, which he hoped he would make his home. In reality, Cezanne spent much of his time flitting between the two regions, with both having a demonstrable influence on his works. Featuring many pieces shown for the first time in the UK, this collection provides insight into the life of one of the world’s most revered artists. 

When? Until 12 March 2023

Where? Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG


Spain and the Hispanic World at the Royal Academy of Arts

Girls of Burriana The Hispanic Society of America
Girls of Burriana. Image credit: The Hispanic Society of America

Through more than 150 fascinating works discover the rich story of Spanish and Hispanic art and culture from the ancient world to the early 20th century. This exhibition draws on the archives of the Hispanic Society Museum & Library: founded in New York in 1904, it’s home to the most extensive collection of Spanish art outside of Spain. Coming to the UK for the first time, this exhibition will offer visitors a chance to explore how the great diversity of cultures and religions – from Celtic to Islamic, Jewish and Christian – shaped and enriched Spanish culture as we know it today. Highlights include works from renowned artists El Greco, Zurbarán, Velázquez and Goya. 

When? 21 January – 10 April 2023

Where? Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD


Omar El Lahib at Saatchi Yates

Coinciding with the opening of its new 10,000 sqft gallery space in the heart of St James’s, Saatchi Yates is hosting a solo exhibition of new paintings by Lebanese artist Omar El Lahib. Bringing together 18 large paintings by the Cologne-based artist, El Lahib’s works are set in the nocturnal world where darkness reigns and mystery is around every corner, depicted through dark colours and unsettling central characters. Since opening in 2020, Saatchi Yates has gained a reputation for the strength of its solo exhibitions, including mixed-media artist Nokukhanya Langa and portrait creator Danny Fox. 

When? 26 January – 15 March 2023

Where? Saatchi Yates, 14 Bury Street, St James’s, SW1Y 6AL


The Morgan Stanley Exhibition: Peter Doig at The Courtauld Gallery

Peter Doig
Peter Doig’s Alpinist, 2022

As one of the world’s leading living artists, Peter Doig has been in high demand since he moved back to London from the sunnier climes of Trinidad in 2021. In partnership with The Courtauld and sponsored by Morgan Stanley, this exhibition celebrates an exciting new chapter in his career. Doig secured his reputation as an artist in the 1990s with his figurative paintings, producing large-scale immersive works often relating to places where he has lived and worked, including the UK, Canada and Trinidad. Inspiration also comes from album covers, films and artworks, with his pieces regularly achieving record-breaking prices for works by a living artist. 

When? 10 February – 29 March 2023

Where? The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 0RN


Alice Neel: Hot Off The Griddle at The Barbican

alice neel
Alice Neel’s Abdul Rahman, 1964

The largest UK exhibition to date of works by American artist Alice Neel, Hot Off The Griddle will feature private and public collections spanning her 60-year career. Based predominantly in New York, Neel painted figuratively when it was deemed unfashionable to do so. Labelled the ‘court painter of the underground,’ Neel portrayed individuals who were not typically fine art subjects, including pregnant women, labour leaders, Black and Puerto Rican children, civil rights activists and queer performers. She was ahead of her time in terms of helping all members of society feel seen and is internationally celebrated for her candour and humanity in art. 

When? 16 February – 21 May 2023

Where? Barbican Art Gallery, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS


The Rossettis at Tate Britain

rossetti art
Lady Lilith 1866-1868. Image credit: Delaware Art Museum

Charting the romance and radicalism of the artistic Rossetti generation – Dante Gabriel, Christina and Elizabeth (neé Siddal) – this one-of-a-kind exhibition at Tate Britain showcases the family’s revolutionary approach to life, love and art. Opening on 6 April, it will mark a few firsts in the exhibition world, including being the first full retrospective of Elizabeth Siddal for 30 years, featuring her rare surviving watercolours and important drawings. It is also the first retrospective of Dante Gabriel Rossetti at Tate and the largest exhibition of his iconic pictures in two decades. Moving through and beyond the Pre-Raphaelite years, the exhibition will feature 150 paintings and drawings as well as photography, design, poetry and more. 

When? 6 April – 24 September 2023

Where? Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1P 4RG


Style & Society: Dressing The Georgians at The Queen’s Gallery

Delve into the history of Georgian style via magnificent paintings, prints and drawings by artists including Gainsborough, Zoffany and Hogarth, as well as luxurious textiles, sparkling jewellery, and a range of accessories from snuff boxes to swords. From the practicality of a laundry maid’s uniform to glittering gowns worn at court, the Royal Collection explores society style at all levels to open up a new era of historical fashion. 

When? 21 April – 8 October 2023

Where? The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, SW1A 1AA


Isaac Julien: What Freedom Is To Me at Tate Britain

isaac julien
Isaac Julien, What is a Museum (Lina Bo Bardi A Marvellous Entanglement) 2019

In April 2023, the UK’s first-ever survey exhibition celebrating the influential work of British artist and filmmaker Sir Isaac Julien will arrive at Tate Britain. Julien is internationally acclaimed for his compelling lyrical films and video art installations and this solo show will chart the development of his work from the 1980s through to the present day, documenting a career that is fiercely experimental and politically charged. The exhibition will feature key works from Julien’s early years, immersive three-screen videos made for the gallery setting and the kaleidoscopic, multi-screen installations for which he is renowned today. 

When? 26 April – 20 August 2023

Where? Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1P 4RG


Luxury and Power: Persia to Greece at The British Museum

luxury and power british museum
Panagyurishte Treasure. Image: Todor Dimitrov, National Museum of History, Bulgaria

Exploring the relationship between luxury and power in the Middle East and south east Europe between 550-30 BC, this exhibition marks a unique and important move beyond ancient Greece to discover how luxury was used as a political tool across different continents. Displaying historical objects from Greece to Afghanistan, the exhibition will feature exceptional loans including the Panagyurishte Treasure – a stunning gold hoard accidentally discovered in Bulgaria in 1949 which was last displayed in the UK in 1976. This collection offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to see the Persian, Greek and Hellenistic luxuries which helped to shape the political landscape of Europe and Asia in the first millennium BC. 

When? 4 May – 3 August 2023

Where? The British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG


DIVA at the V&A 

whitney houston diva
Whitney Houston performing at Wembley Arena, London, May 1988. Image credit: David Corio

Celebrating all things diva, from opera stars of the Victorian era to today’s global icons, the V&A will be hosting an exhibition aiming to redefine and explore the meaning behind the label. The word ‘diva’ has become a societal buzzword in recent years, frequently attached to someone who oozes self-importance. However, the word originates from the Latin phrase for goddess, often referring to a talented woman in the world of opera, theatre and cinema. The V&A’s DIVA exhibition will feature fashion, photography, design, costumes, music and live performance drawn from the gallery’s collection and loans from across the world to examine how performers have impacted society and driven change through their voices and art.

When? 24 June 2023 – 7 April 2024

Where? V&A South Kensington, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL


Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto at the V&A 

gabrielle chanel exhibition
Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto. Image credit: Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This will be the first UK exhibition dedicated to the work of French couturière, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, charting the evolution of her iconic design style which inspired women across the world. Known for her visionary wardrobe accented by masculine shapes, the show will chart the rise of the house of Chanel under Coco’s leadership, from the opening of her first millinery boutique in Paris in 1910 to the showing of her final collection in 1971. Featuring over 180 looks, seen together for the first time, as well as jewellery, accessories, cosmetics and perfumes, the exhibition will explore Chanel’s pioneering approach to fashion design, how it paved the way for a new feminine elegance and why it continues to influence fashion today.

When? 16 September 2023 – February 25 2024

Where? V&A South Kensington, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL


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