Back Then and Now: What Became the Modern Art Gallery

Dora Aguero
January 7, 2023

Publicly displaying art in museums and galleries is a concept many of us are familiar with. Walking around a plethora of exhibits, we are hypnotized by the works dating back decades and centuries and are full of rich history. Do you ever wonder how museums and art galleries came to be?

Going Back a Century or Two

Art’s presence in history dates to when the early humans drew on cave walls. Over centuries, art evolved into paintings, sculptures, and photographs, and has continued to grow and develop in new mediums and techniques. Fine art was mostly commissioned by religious institutions and royalty to be visible only in palaces, temples, and churches. Only a select few were allowed to gaze upon these works. Over the years, art tourism boomed all over Europe. The social elite was opening the doors for the public to admire their collections and motivate the establishment of grand museums and galleries around the world. The first public art museum and gallery opened in the city of Basel in 1661. Which is the inspiration for the famous art fair, Art Basel. On every continent and in every city, art galleries and museums have a presence because there is an underlying desire in everyone to view art.

Art from Distant Places

Art was once a luxury only the highest royals were granted access to and has now turned has become available for all of us to enjoy and own. Once art became public leisure, there is the question of what is next for the art world. Thus, galleries were created to show different art movements, artists from certain regions, and new mediums. Galleries developed into a gateway for collectors to connect to the art they had never seen before or art they otherwise would have never discovered. Humans’ natural curiosity stems from the need to explore. Art galleries took this idea and manifested it into a growing industry available for everyone.

To the Present

No one can deny the art world has grown exponentially over the past centuries. What started in very few places in the world is now present in every major city. Your motivation for beginning your art collection is accredited to the exposure to all the cultural centers and institutions in your area. The opening of museums and galleries began because we realized everyone has one thing in common: we all admire art and we all want to own art. As you walk through the collections in various galleries, you can proudly say how you are taking part in history. The modern art gallery holds historical significance. There was a time when not everyone could possess art and have a private collection. Now we can.

Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of “Fräulein Lieser”

Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of “Fräulein Lieser”

Gustav Klimt's Portrait of Fräulein Lieser, a painting considered lost for a century, recently made a remarkable reappearance, and was auctioned for $32 million at Vienna's im Kinsky auction house. The sale of this long-lost masterpiece, though met with great...

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