Leeds Art Gallery is to close its doors for more than a year next month to allow “major repairs” to be carried out.
The gallery, founded in 1888, is to shut when the present exhibition ends on January 10 and reopen in spring 2017.
Essential repairs to the original roof of the Victorian building will be carried out during this time.
While the gallery is closed, more than 150 paintings and sculptures from its collections are to go on loan including to international venues.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds city council, said the gallery attracted about 430,000 annual visitors and that its current display, British Art Show 8, has been an “unqualified success”, with 100,000 visitors.
She said: “As the show now begins to draw to a close, it’s time for us to look to the future and focus on how we can ensure visitors can continue to enjoy Leeds Art Gallery’s magnificent collection in the years to come.
This investment in repairing the roof is a demonstration of our commitment to a building that is clearly part of the bedrock of Leeds’s artistic heritage.Judith Blake, Leeds city council
“Part of that will mean carrying out essential work on the gallery’s original Victorian roof which is in need of major repairs.
“Last year alone, the gallery attracted more than 430,000 visitors and, as we bid to be named European Capital of Culture 2023, this investment in repairing the roof is a demonstration of our commitment to a building that is clearly part of the bedrock of Leeds’s artistic heritage.
“It’s also exciting to think the work will allow us to share some of our many outstanding exhibits with other galleries, giving us another opportunity to showcase these remarkable works of art to people who may never have seen them before.”
The council says that despite the closure, the gallery “will maintain an active profile through extensive loans from its art collections and seek to engage audiences through external programmes”.
Education and engagement activity will be carried out off-site, while The Picture Library, allowing people to borrow original artworks, will continue to be available.
The council says work from its art collection will go out on loan for the first time to other galleries and museums across the world.
These include Edward Armitage’s huge canvas ‘Retribution’ and Francis Bacon’s ‘Painting 1950’, which will be loaned to Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain and Grimaldi Forum Monaco.