At the seaside outpost of this renowned British gallery, exhibitions celebrate the work of artists who have lived and worked in St. Ives.
Overlooking the rolling waves of Porthmeor Beach is a distinctive art deco-style building with an eye-catching curved façade, the Tate St. Ives. Inside is an array of modern and contemporary art, including works from major artists associated with the town. Study the output of famous modernist artists who created art here during the interwar and post-World War II periods.
The gallery opened in 1993 and was the fourth Tate gallery to open in Britain. Other arms of the Tate can be found in London and Liverpool. That the Tate chose to operate a gallery here in this small Cornish town speaks volumes of its artistic connections.
The gallery does not hold a permanent collection, instead it features special exhibitions that change three times a year. Typically, they celebrate the work of 20th-century artists who resided in St. Ives.
Wander through the galleries and you may see pieces by Naum Gabo, a Russian sculptor who came to St. Ives following the outbreak of World War II. Ben Nicholson, the painter and former husband of sculptor Barbara Hepworth has also had his work exhibited here. Among the locals whose work is sometimes on show is Alfred Wallis, an influential artist who didn’t pick up a paint brush until he was in his late 60s.
To learn more about the gallery and its collections, join one of the free guided tours that take place in the late morning and early afternoon. Then go up to the top floor café where you can eat while admiring superb views of the very landscapes that inspired many of the artists featured inside the gallery.
Tate St. Ives is situated on Porthmeor Beach within easy walking distance of the town center. It is open daily and admission charges apply with discounts for students and seniors over the age of 60. Children get in for free. Purchase a single ticket for entrance to the gallery or choose the combined ticket for admission to the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, also owned by Tate.