Organisers looking for an art-related venue in the Norwich area can consider the Modern Life Cafe of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

Based at the University of East Anglia this modern area with high ceilings accommodates up to 160 theatre-style, or 250 standing, and is available to hire evenings from 6.00pm.

The Centre itself is a modern building by Norman Foster, opened in 1978 to house the large 1,000+ collection of art and artefacts assembled over 40 years and from over the world by Sir Robert and Lady Lisa Sainsbury, and donated to the University of East Anglia in 1983. Works by such as Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Jacob Epstein, Amedeo Modigliani and Alberto Giacometti are permanently featured, along with the University’s Abstract and Constructivist Collection and the Anderson Collection of Art Nouveau.

For those particularly interested in art nouveau there is currently an exhibition of works by Czech painter and decorative artist Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) who specialised in portraying beautiful young women, dressed beautifully (usually) and surrounded by lavish floral patterns, often as a halo and all rendered in beautiful pastels. Many of his finest pieces were produced to promote cigarettes, perfume, liqueurs, bicycles, biscuits and beer in Paris but his first work in the city, and the one that kick-started his career was an 1884 poster promoting the theatrical production Gismonda, a job that Mucha got by accidentally being at the printer’s premises when the urgent call for a poster came through.The play starred actress Sarah Bernhardt, who also produced and directed it, and was so pleased with Mucha’s efforts, completed in two weeks, that she gave him a six-year contract. Gismonda is one of the many Muchas featured in the exhibition, which runs till 20th March at the Centre, and is planed to be at the Kelvingrove Gallery in Glasgow later this year.

From April 23 till August 29 the Centre is staging a major exhibition of 150 works by painter, sculptor and draughtsman Alberto Giacometti, to commemorate his death in 1966. Exploring the artist’s theme of isolation the works are drawn from galleries and private collections all over the world and complement the Centre’s own collection.

Tel 01603 593199 Web:

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