Mapping Artists Around the World

Artists in Tate's Collection by Country of Birth

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For this assignment, we used Tableau to map where artists in the Tate collection were born. First, we made maps that show in which countries artists were born in by century (1500s, 1600s, 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s). Scrolling through these maps reveals how the scope of what the Tate collects changes over time: while art works by artists born in the 1500s and 1600s are limited to Europe, we see that the Tate represents artists born in the 1700s from the U.S., Canada, and Russia; that artists from the southern hemisphere begin to emerge in the 1800s; and that artists born in the 1900s represent countries from all over the world and from every continent. A final chloropleth map shows artists born in all centuries. The darker countries indicates those with more artists represented (the United Kingdom, unsurprisingly, is the most represented country in Tate’s collection); the lighter ones might only have a handful of artists in the collection.


Our goal is to give a macro-view of what is in the Tate’s collection. Often, when people are visiting museums, they focus on one object at a time; a visualization likes this can help visitors understand the larger scope of what a collection represents. Another goal is to reveal how a museum like the Tate represents the world and what biases they have toward certain geographic areas. Most of their holdings stem from the Western world (especially the United Kingdom and the United States), but we do see that more modern and contemporary art has begun to accept artists from all over the world.


People who are interested in art and artists. Visitors to the Tate (many of them international) might be interested in seeing if their country is represented in the collection.

Next steps?

We brainstormed other maps that we could undertake with our data sets but unfortunately did not have the time to fully clean the data, run scripts, and make new maps. On a very basic level, it would be great if the labels could allow you to dig into artists names per country (and possibly link you to information about them). It would be interesting to write some code that would allow users to type where they were born and be given an artist born close to them. Considering our team’s interest in analyzing color in works of art, we were thinking of finding the average or most dominant color per country and making a map that represents countries by these colors.

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