Press releases 2007
EDINBURGH’S NEW GLASGOW BOYS
In collaboration with The Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent arts charity, the National Galleries of Scotland are delighted to announce the recent purchase of two of the most important Glasgow School pictures from the outstanding private collection of Andrew McIntosh Patrick.
The two grant-aided purchases, A Cabbage Garden (1877) by Arthur Melville and A Herd Boy (1886) by E A Walton, build upon the Galleries’ previous acquisitions of three masterpieces from the McIntosh Patrick collection in 1999. The Art Fund awarded a grant of £15,000 towards the purchase of A Cabbage Garden by private treaty sale for a total price of £35,747. For the Walton, The Art Fund awarded a grant of £25,000 towards the special discounted price of £80,000.
For the 1999 purchases from the McIntosh Patrick collection, Miss Sowerby (1882) by James Guthrie, A Daydream (1885) by E A Walton and St Agnes (1889/90) by David Gauld, The Art Fund awarded one of the largest grants for Scottish works ever allocated to the National Galleries of Scotland, contributing £90,000 towards the total purchase price of £455,471. Collectively these, and the two new acquisitions, have raised the Gallery’s nineteenth-century Scottish collections into a new dimension of international distinction. McIntosh Patrick, the former Managing Director of The Fine Art Society, and doyen of dealers in Scottish art, began collecting the work of the Glasgow Boys in the late 1960s. Over the past 40 years he has continued to play a key role in the critical reappraisal of their achievements.
Arthur Melville was one of the most significant Scottish painters of the late nineteenth century. He often accompanied James Guthrie, George Henry and E A Walton on painting excursions to Cockburnspath in East Lothian in the 1880s – the most innovative phase of their careers. But his immediate artistic origins lay in East Lothian and Edinburgh where, in 1877, he began studying at the Royal Scottish Academy. In 1878 he made his London exhibition debut with A Cabbage Garden. With its dramatic spatial effects, vibrant experimental colourism and vigorously expressive brushwork, Melville’s pioneering composition in the Scottish “kailyard” genre was probably a model for Guthrie’s A Hind’s Daughter. Painted near Cockburnspath in 1883, the Guthrie is one of the Galleries’ best-loved nineteenth century pictures and an icon of the Glasgow School. The sale of A Cabbage Garden to the Lasswade paper manufacturer James Hunter Annandale financed Melville’s studies in Paris from 1878 to 1880.
E A Walton was born in East Renfrewshire and was one of the leading Scottish painters of his generation. He specialised in both landscape subjects and portraiture, and was a founding member of the influential group of painters known as the “Glasgow Boys”, who set out to establish a distinctly Scottish type of rustic realism in their work. A Herd Boy, a vibrant watercolour, is one of his most outstanding works, and dates from 1886 when he was working at his studio in Cockburnspath.
Although the subject appears to have been painted directly from life, Walton would have carefully conceived the composition from a series of small sketches and worked these up later in his studio. In 1890 A Herd Boy was shown at the Second Annual International Art Exhibition in Munich, where it won a gold medal. This stunning watercolour also relates to Walton’s painting, A Daydream, which the Galleries purchased from Andrew McIntosh Patrick’s collection in 1999, also with the assistance of The Art Fund. The figure of the herd boy is the same in both this new acquisition and the painting which is on display nearby.
The final sale from the McIntosh Patrick private collection in June was managed by The Fine Art Society and attracted international attention and queues of would-be purchasers forming overnight before the sale’s opening in London.
Those attending the photocall on 22 November will include Katrina Clow, The Art Fund’s Volunteer Chairman for Scotland; Patrick Bourne, Managing Director of The Fine Art Society plc; Michael Clarke, Director of the National Gallery of Scotland; Lady Kingarth, The Art Fund’s representative in Edinburgh; Emily Walsh, Director of Bourne Fine Art, Edinburgh; Helen Smailes, Senior Curator of British Art, and Valerie Hunter, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at the National Galleries of Scotland.
NEW DIRECTOR OF MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART APPOINTED AT THE NATIONAL GALLERIES OF SCOTLAND
The Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland announced today, 21 June 2007, the appointment of Dr Simon Groom as the new Director of Modern and Contemporary Art for the NGS. He will begin his position in Autumn 2007.
Simon Groom has been Head of Exhibitions and Collections at Tate Liverpool for the past four years and he was previously Exhibitions Organiser for Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge. He graduated from Edinburgh University with a First Class MA in English Literature and went on to graduate from the Courtauld Institute with an MA in Art History and a PhD.
John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland said: “Simon is an extremely talented and dynamic curator and manager with a wide knowledge of contemporary art and culture. We are delighted that he will be joining the Galleries to provide the leadership for our ambitious plans to promote Scottish and international modern art in this country."
Simon is a member of the Senior Management team at Tate Liverpool, as well as contributing to various Tate-wide bodies, and he has worked with the local council and other organisations and businesses in the lead up to the celebrations of Liverpool as European Capital of Culture in 2008. He has curated numerous exhibitions of modern and contemporary, British and international art, most recently the critically acclaimed “The Real Thing: Contemporary Art from China”, and is curating the Turner Prize this year.
Commenting on his new position, Dr Simon Groom said: “I am absolutely delighted to be returning to Edinburgh, and to be given the chance to lead one of Europe’s pre-eminent galleries at a time when Scotland is seeing such an explosion of creativity.”
The National Galleries of Scotland will announce today, Tuesday 13 March 2007, that it is in the process of acquiring A Girl, 2006 by the Australian born, London-based sculptor Ron Mueck.
The acquisition has been made possible by a grant of £50,000 from The Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent art charity.
A Girl was unveiled in the Ron Mueck exhibition organised by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in August 2006. According to figures published in the latest edition of The Art Newspaper, this was the most popular exhibition of work by a contemporary artist in Britain in 2006 and the ninth most popular in the world. It was seen by nearly 130,000 visitors between 5 August and 8 October 2006. A Girl was acquired from the artist via Anthony d’Offay.
Richard Calvocoressi, Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, commented: “I am delighted that Mueck’s gigantic painted fibreglass baby has found a home in Scotland. We have an outstanding collection of super-realist sculpture and I am sure she will become as iconic and familiar as Duane Hanson’s life-size “Tourists”.”
David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund said: “Last year Edinburgh took Ron Mueck’s extraordinary sculpture to its heart, and it’s wonderful that it will now be going on permanent display in the city for which it was made. Like all of Mueck’s work, “A Girl” is a very powerful sculpture – breathtaking in its technical mastery. It will astonish all who see it, old or young.”
Made especially for the exhibition in Edinburgh last summer (and given its final touches shortly before the opening), A Girl measures more than five metres in length. It depicts an enormous newborn baby in precise detail including wispy hair, flecks of blood and umbilical cord. Although confrontational, A Girl moved visitors to the exhibition in a way that could not have been anticipated: of the ten works in the show it was the sculpture that people of all ages spent most time looking at.
The figures Mueck sculpts originate from people the artist knows, from chance encounters or from images he comes across. But however accessible, Mueck’s sculptures can be extremely disturbing. Never life-size, they incorporate subtle distortions which heighten their realistic qualities and give them an uncanny, almost magical presence.
Ron Mueck was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1958. Significantly, his parents, originally both from Germany, were toymakers. From 1979-83 he worked in children’s television. He moved to London in 1986, working on special effects for film and television. He collaborated with David Bowie on the film Labyrinth and also worked for Jim Henson on Sesame Street and The Muppets. In 1990 he founded his own production company to make props and models, mainly for the advertising industry. During this period he began to use fibreglass resin to make highly realistic models.
In 1996 Mueck began to work as an independent sculptor. The first public exhibition of his work came when the artist Paula Rego (his mother-in-law) included his sculpture Pinocchio, 1996 among her paintings in the exhibition Spellbound: Art and Film at the Hayward Gallery, London. Charles Saatchi, one of Rego’s main collectors, began buying Mueck’s work, including Dead Dad, 1996-1997 which was one of the most memorable works in the exhibition Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection at the Royal Academy, London in 1997. Mueck had his first solo exhibition at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London, the following year, and in 2000 became an Associate Artist at the National Gallery in London, a two-year post.
NATIONAL GALLERIES BANK MAJOR SPONSORSHIP
Andy Warhol: A Celebration of Life…and Death
4 August - 7 October 2007,
ROYAL SCOTTISH ACADEMY BUILDING
Admission £8 (Concession £6)
15 November 2008 – 18 January 2009,
ROYAL SCOTTISH ACADEMY BUILDING
Bank of Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland today announced the biggest ever sponsorship of modern art in Scotland. Over the next two years, Bank of Scotland will invest over £400,000 in Bank of Scotland Total Art, a series of two major modern art exhibitions at the Royal Scottish Academy, featuring Andy Warhol and Joseph Beuys.
By working in partnership, Bank of Scotland and the National Galleries aim to ensure that modern art reaches the widest possible audience, creating educational and inspirational experiences for all. The Bank’s support will create an innovative education programme with a special focus on young people, targeting, for example, nursery-school children as well as their parents and carers.
Benny Higgins, Chief Executive, Retail, HBOS, said: "Bank of Scotland has a long history of major support for the arts in Scotland and we are delighted that our new partnership with the National Galleries, Bank of Scotland Total Art, will bring such iconic modern artists to new audiences."
John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland commented on the sponsorship: “In differing ways, Warhol and Beuys smashed through traditional preconceptions of the nature of art and its relation to society. Thanks to the hugely generous support of Bank of Scotland Total Art we will be able to mount two superb exhibitions, creating a dynamic dialogue between these artists whose work still seems incredibly vital and relevant today."
Patricia Ferguson, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, said: “I’m delighted that the Bank of Scotland has linked up with the National Galleries of Scotland. The importance of sponsorship of the arts by Scotland’s business community cannot be underestimated. A vibrant cultural scene is crucial to a creative and profitable economy.”
The title for the series, Bank of Scotland Total Art, is very apt to describe the art of both Warhol and Beuys. For both of them the world in its totality is the subject of their work. In the early 1960s, they both began to use their art to engage with the world about them. Warhol did this by using photographic images - portraits of film stars and other celebrities; consumer products such as Campbell's soup cans and Brillo boxes; newspaper photographs of car crashes and other disasters; and, later on images of well-known works of art, such as Leonardo's "Last Supper"-as the basis of his paintings, drawings and prints. He showed that art had a vital role in drawing our attention to the changing world about us and to the way that we are manipulated by the media world of images.
Beuys confronted the world in a very different manner. For him the very substance and objects of the world about us could be used as vehicles for personal (and group) expression. The most humble of materials and objects have acquired social meaning through history and human interaction and through careful and precise choice and juxtaposition they could be made to "speak". Beuys was at the forefront of what has come to be known as environmental or installation art, which can be seen in exhibitions all over the world today.
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Bank of Scotland invests around £4 million per year in an award-winning programme of sport and arts sponsorship. Partnerships include Scottish Ballet, Bank of Scotland Children's International Theatre Festival, Bank of Scotland Fireworks Concert and the Edinburgh International Festival.
- In 2007, twice as many young people, over 34,000 will be able to get involved in Bank of Scotland supported arts project.
Examples of some of the key Bank of Scotland Total Art Education Initiatives:
- To transform the Clore Education Centre into a ‘Festival Factory’ bringing the exhibition directly into the education area. This will be modeled on Andy Warhol’s studio named the Silver Factory in New York. It will be a lively place where all audiences can investigate and experiment with ideas and techniques relating to work in the exhibition
- A new nursery school programme including parents and carers
- A series of lectures and talks featuring key experts, to complement the exhibition
Andy Warhol: A Celebration of Life… and Death will be the most comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the work of this artist in Scotland and will cover both floors at the National Galleries of Scotland’s world-renowned temporary exhibition space, the Royal Scottish Academy Building in Edinburgh. This exhibition aims to show how a life/death duality runs through all of Warhol’s oeuvre.
Much has been written over the years about Andy Warhol’s fear of death and about the frequency that the theme of death occurs in his art. Conversely, Warhol himself often spoke about his Pop aesthetic that embraced life in all its facets and was non-judgemental in its affirmation of the modern world. This does not represent a contradiction in his art, indeed the two aspects are very much complementary and intimately connected. After Marilyn Monroe’s death, Warhol chose to depict her in bright, even gaudy colours using an old publicity photograph. Her death only served to heighten her celebrity status, her glamour and her sex appeal.
The show will present a broad range of Warhol’s work from the early 1960s to 1986 and look at most of the mediums he used – painting, sculpture, film and photography. Many of the works are being lent by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and there will also be loans from other museums and private collections in the US, Britain and Europe. The exhibition title also relates to two anniversaries: Warhol’s birth (in 2008 Warhol would have been 80 years old) and his death (Warhol died twenty years ago on 22 Feb 1987).
Joseph Beuys had a long association with Scotland, thanks to Richard Demarco who brought him here first in 1970. Beuys’ impact on contemporary art in Scotland was profound. Beuys was a Luftwaffe pilot during the war. He related how he was shot down over the Crimea and was saved by Tartars. Barely alive, he was wrapped in felt and fat to preserve his body heat, and taken to safety on sledges pulled by dogs. This by now mythical incident, and these particular elements, informed much of his art, which has a redemptive, spiritual and ritualistic character.
Beuys was arguably the most important German artist of the second half of the twentieth century and one of the most influential figures internationally. His shamanistic ability to give the most mundane objects a spiritual significance, his espousal of the imaginative, creative faculties in all human beings prepared the way for today’s all-compassing approach to art and the need for art to embrace the whole community. Beuys was nothing if not a fervent political advocate of human rights. This exhibition is to be held in autumn 2008 and will encompass installations, sculpture, drawings and multiples loaned from institutions and private collections all over the world.
Each exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive and fully illustrated catalogue.