Contemporary Art Society Report 1925

9 September 2014
Cover for the Contemporary Art Society Report 1925
Cover for the Contemporary Art Society Report 1925

For the Acquisition of Works, of Modern Art for Loan or Gift to Public Galleries.


Bourton House, Shrivenham

Honorary Secretary:
70 Grosvenor Street, WI. 1

Charles Aitken
T. G. Blackwell, O.B.E.
Muirhead Bone
Samuel Courtauld
A. M. Daniel
Campbell Dodgson, C.B.E.
Mrs. Campbell Dodgson
Roger Fry
St. J ohnHutchinson
Edward Marsh, C.B., C.M.G., C.V.O.
Ernest Marsh
Roderick Meiklejohn, C.B.
The Hon. Jasper Ridley
Sir Michael Sadler, C.B., K.C.S.I.
The Earl of Sandwich
The Honorary Secretary
Assistant Secretary: MR. H. S. EDE

In the conviction that much of the finer artistic talent of our time was imperfectly or not at all represented in the National and Municipal Galleries, the Contemporary Art Society was initiated in the year 1909. Its aim is to encourage, by the purchase and exhibition of chosen examples of their work, painters who in other countries would enjoy a certain official patronage.

During the last century little or no attempt was made to secure for the nation specimens of such vital contemporary painting as has since proved to stand the test of time, and to take a few instances it is almost entirely due to private foresight and munificence that Alfred Stevens, the Pre-Raphaelites and the Impressionists are represented at all in the public collections This Society, on whose committee a wide range of opinions is represented, hopes to obviate a similar reproach against the present age, and by discriminating purchase to fill up what would seem to posterity an inexcusable gap in our museums and galleries, overloaded as they are with ephemeral work of the time preceding our own.

Side by side with the enrichment of the collections, the Society has the further aim, in the interests of the artists themselves, of supplying, so far as its means allow, the falling off in private buying which has resulted from the present financial stringency. These are difficult times for young painters and sculptors who have to live on the
proceeds of their work, and the need for some form of public patronage was never greater than now.

The method of purchase is as follows :- .
A single member of the Committee is appointed as buyer for twelve months, and has the spending of the Society’s income, less 25 per cent., which is put into a Reserve Fund. The purchases are either retained by the Society and lent from time to time for exhibition, or presented outright to some public gallery. After a certain number of years it is in the power of the Committee to sell pictures which for any reason they no longer wish to keep, and buy others with
the proceeds.

The present Report contains a list of the acquisitions of the Society during 1925, a balance-sheet showing its financial position, a Statement of subscriptions and donations for 1925. During the last year the Society organised a very successful musical soiree at the Spring Gardens Gallery, at which H.R.H. The Duchess of York was present. Madame Suggia and the late Mr. Leonard Borwick very kindly gave their services. Pictures have been lent to The National Gallery, Millbank, the Whitechapel Gallery, the Welsh Eisteddfod, and the Society of Scottish Artists Edinburgh.

A fund was started in 1919 in connection with the Society for the purpose of acquiring original modern prints and drawings, both British and Foreign, which should remain in the possession of the Society for a certain period, and should subsequently be presented to the British Museum. This fund is organised and administered by Mr. Campbell Dodgson, the Keeper of Prints and Drawings, British Museum, who kindly arranged, in 192 5, an exhibition at 22 Montagu Square, W., for the benefit of the Fund, and thanks to his untiring energy, considerable results have been achieved. A separate Report of this Fund may be obtained from the Secretary.

The Committee has started a separate fund for the purchase of work by contemporary artists of foreign nationality. It is felt that the public galleries in England are very deficient in representative works of foreign schools, and they appeal for additional subscriptions, which can be earmarked for this purpose. A very generous offer has been made anonymously of £1,000 provided the Committee can raise another £1,ooo. Up to date we have received about£ 700 of this amount, and it is earnestly hoped that those who are interested will do their best to further the interests of this section.



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