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Given London has some 1,500 galleries, its current art scene is one of the world’s biggest, with an international reach that now rivals, if not exceeds, that of New York and Paris.

At the centre of all this is Mayfair, London’s oldest art district. Here you will find prominent auction houses and Old Master specialists rubbing shoulders with contemporary modern art multinational mega-galleries, such as David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth and Gagosian Gallery.

And the reason they are all here can be found at Burlington House, Piccadilly, home of the Royal Academy, the first established art school in Britain.

Established in 1768, the role of the Royal Academy was to teach and promote art and design. The original 36 Academicians who started the Academy gained permission to do so from King George III by promising they would hold an open invitation show to which the public could submit work. This event became known as the Summer Exhibition — and has been held annually ever since it was first launched in 1769.

Today, the Summer Exhibition is an exuberant mix of outstanding amateur works coupled with those of big name artists in a joyous snapshot of contemporary art.

This year the Summer Exhibition runs from 10th June to the 12th August and coincides with the Mayfair Art Weekend. This is the weekend when over 40 galleries and auction houses in the area throw open their doors and stage a weekend of free art events, exhibitions, tours and talks spanning everything from the Old Masters to Contemporary Art.

The sixth edition takes place from Friday 28th June - Sunday 30th June 2019, during which internationally acclaimed galleries and institutions, along with a host of artists and artisans showcase the vibrant range of contemporary art, sculpture and antiquities on view in Mayfair.
Even Bond Street’s luxury fashion houses get in on the act, turning over their window displays to artists. You can also expect something spectacular at Burlington Arcade, if last year’s installation by Mathilde Nivet was anything to go by.

With so much going on all over Mayfair during this weekend our top tip is to plan ahead and browse the full Mayfair Art Weekend programme of events here. Also, when you are wondering around the area, look out for the MAW volunteers who will be milling around the RA and surrounding Mayfair streets, ready to answer any questions you may have.