To celebrate the PFA's centenary, Manchester Art Gallery opened The Beautiful Game exhibition, a selection of the association's art collection, including 20 significant works and a host of football memorabilia. The Beautiful Game sees over 20 significant works on loan from the PFA in celebration of its centenary year.
From posters to paintings and cartoons to ceramics, the collection includes a wealth of football related material acquired by the PFA under the leadership of Gordon Taylor.
Striking images to feature in the exhibition range from depictions of world famous football stadiums to scenes of amateurs having a kick about in the park. The works range from early 20th century pieces, such as a program and souvenir from the England Cup Final in 1906, through to a series of contemporary posters specially commissioned for the PFA's centenary year.
Among the exhibition highlights is Going to the Match, one of Lowry's best-loved works, portraying Bolton Wanderers fans on their way to a game. This prestigious oil painting is being shown alongside artworks by Glen Baxter, Willie Rodger and Peter Blake (perhaps still best-known today for his iconic cover design for Beatles' album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.)Speaking about the exhibition, the PFA's Chief Executive Gordon Taylor said: "For a long time we have been corporate members of Manchester Art Gallery and as such I am delighted to be celebrating our centenary year with this exhibition.
The exhibition includes the much celebrated Lowry picture Going to the Match. I bought this painting for the PFA because I thought it was important to keep it in the world of football, in the North West and in public view. It's not only painted at a golden age for football, but also shows Lowry at his best. It's full of anticipation and movement at the start of a match which, as an ex-footballer, I know gets the adrenalin going.
I very much hope that the gallery's visitors will also appreciate the many other examples from our collection that feature in this special exhibition. They have all been acquired for their ability to capture the feel of football throughout the ages, both at a professional and amateur level, in a classical and contemporary mode."
Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Arts and Leisure, Councilor Mike Amesbury said: "This free exhibition of artworks on a football theme looks set to be another great addition to the many significant sports events taking place in the city this year. I hope as many people as possible take advantage of this opportunity to see works of art from the PFA's collections. Especially given the number of generous art loans the gallery has received for this exhibition in celebration of the PFA's centenary year."
Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL, England
26 July 2008 - 09 November 2008