Contemporary Art Society Report 1974

18 August 2015
Cover for the Contemporary Art Society Annual Report 1974
Cover for the Contemporary Art Society Annual Report 1974

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
Executive Committee
Peter Meyer  Chairman
Alistair McAlpine Vice Chairman
Nancy Balfour OBE   Honorary Treasurer
Lord Croft  Honorary Secretary
Alan Bowness
Carol Hogben
Caryl Hubbard
Max Gordon
Sir Norman Reid
Marina Vaizey
Neville Burston
Anthony Diamond
Edward Lucie-Smith
Norbert Lynton
Peter Moores
Pauline Vogelpoel MBE    Organising Secretary

Committee Report for the year ended 31 December 1974
During the year The Hon. J.D. Sainsbury and Alexander Dunbar retired from the Committee by rotation. Neville Burston, Anthony Diamond, Edward Lucie-Smith, Norbert Lynton and Peter Moores were elected to the Committee. Joanna Drew, Lord Dufferin and Ava, Mrs Catherine Curran and Mrs Gabrielle Keiller were co-opted to the Committee and now come up for formal adoption.

The principal activity of the Society is to acquire contemporary works of art for presentation to Public Art Collections in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. The Society’s activities during the year resulted in a deficit of £76. The accumulated fund amounted to £8,642 at 31 December 1974.

June 30 1975

Chairman’s Report
I am very glad to be able to report that in 1974 we received a grant from the Arts Council for the first time. The amount was only £2,000, but it is a practical recognition of the role which we play in encouraging young artists by the purchase of their work and I hope it will be a regular occurrence in the future. A society such as ours, which relies on voluntary subscriptions, faces extremely difficult problems in time of high inflation. By exercising stringent economies we limited the rise in our overheads to under 1 2%, but our funds remain inadequate to buy sufficient pictures for distribution to museums at the regular 2 – 3 year intervals to which we have been accustomed
in the past and this Is causing us very real concern. We are urgently examining ways in which our Income can be increased.

During the year we were actively engaged in organising our Art Fair, originally planned for January 1974 but postponed owing to the electricity restrictions. It opened in January 1975 and therefore fails outside the scope of this report, I shall only say here that it was a great success with artists, dealers, Museums and the general public, and evidently-filled a gap in the existing range of exhibitions.

Our social activities continued as splendidly as usual. I reported last year that staff difficulties had made it impractical to hold evening parties at the Hayward Gallery. A similar situation has now arisen at the Tate which no longer has the late evening openings which we were able to combine with private dinners in the Rex Whistler room. Our last one was in June in connection with the Richard Dadd exhibition and its success made the termination of these event particularly regrettable.

To take the place of our parties at the Tate, we have had a variety of parties in London; in February at the Serpentine Gallery for the Roger Hilton Exhibition; in April at Morley College for the Ambrose McEvoy Exhibition combined with a visit to the nearby Imperial War Museum; in June at the Victoria and Albert Museum for the Byron Exhibition; and in December at the Royal Academy for the Turner Exhibition. The last two were combined with dinner in the Museum and Burlington House respectively and were particularly successful, especially the Turner party which drew an attendance of 500.

Members always enjoy visiting artists’ studios and in October we appreciated seeing the work of Peter Logan and Keith Milow in their warehouse at Tower Bridge, after which we dined in a nearby pub in Southwark. We were also able to visit six dealers’ galleries in Bruton Street and Davies Street in June, when they gave us an evening viewing of their exhibitions and generously provided us with wine.

We had three weekend visits outside London and a week’s stay in the South of France. In May over 50 members visited St, Ives, where we were welcomed by Dame Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Alathea Garstin, Margo Maeckelberghe and Bryan Wynter in their studios. We also went round the Leach Pottery and were entertained by the Penwith Society and the Newlyn Art Society. Our visits to St.Ives are always popular and I am sure all members will share our sadness at the deaths of Dame Barbara Hepworth and Bryan Wynter who were staunch supporters of the Society.

In July a small party of members went to Manchester to see the Rouault Exhibition at the City Art Gallery where the Director and his wife entertained us, as did the Director of the Whitworth Art Gallery who showed us round the collection. A visit was paid to Norwich where the Mayor gave us drinks before an evening viewing and dinner in the Castle Museum; on the following days we were entertained by Sir Edmund and Lady Bacon, Mr and Mrs Timothy Colman and Mr and Mrs Chester Williams and saw an exhibition at the Ellingham Mill Art Society, in September 40 members went to the South of France where they visited a number of museums and were given lunch by Mr and Mrs Frank Wilson at their house near Grasse.

This rather curt summary does less than justice to the generosity of our various hosts and the tremendous trouble taken by them and the directors of the museums concerned. It is difficult to say how much we appreciate the way so many people put themselves out for the benefit of our members and I am sure that this is one of the main attractions which makes people join us.

I am sorry to report that at the Annual General Meeting Mr Alan Bowness and Mr Carol Hogben retire from the Committee by rotation. They have untiringly supported our work in so many ways over the past few years and their expert advice has been invaluable. We shall miss both of them more than I can say. Recently we have co-opted four new members on to the Committee and they now come up for formal election. Miss Joanna Drew is now the Exhibitions Organiser for the Arts Council and has served on our Committee in the past, while the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, Mrs Catherine Curran and Mrs Gabrielle Keiller have interesting private collections. All of them have a valuable knowledge of contemporary art and I am delighted that we have been able to persuade them to join us.

Honorary Treasurer’s Report
As the Chairman has pointed out, under present conditions the Society’s income is not nearly enough to enable it to fulfil its purpose of presenting contemporary works of art to public galleries on the scale which it would like. In 1974, however, it was possible to allot £5,000 to each of the Society’s two buyers, a total increase of £4,000 over 1973’s spending on pictures and sculpture. This increase was covered almost entirely by the welcome grant from the Arts Council and the final payment on the sale of the Phillip King sculpture (explained in the report for 1971/72). As a result there was only a small deficit on our operations in 1974, But our reserves are likely to be run down substantially in 1975, even though the Arts Council grant has been, repeated, since your Committee has decided that our spending on works of art should continue at, or above, last year’s level.

The Society’s parties and outings maintained their popularity in 1974, as the Chairman has reported, even though the price of tickets had to be increased. Not only do these events give pleasure to our members but they also add to the Society’s income and enable it to buy more for museums. So we hope that our supporters will still come to these affairs and, even more important, that they will continue their membership, in spite of today’s financial stringencies.

The success of these activities depends largely on the imaginative and economical efforts of the organising secretary, as indeed does all the work of the Society. Extra demands have been made on her during the last few months as our new auditors, Messrs. Sayers Butterworth, familiarised themselves with our operation. They have made helpful suggestions for the future.

Sadly our income from subscriptions was down somewhat in 1974, partly because a few museums and corporate subscribers dropped out. Another factor was that a number of those who joined in 1973, when membership of the Society covered entrance fees to museums, did not renew their subscriptions, presumably because these fees had been abolished. New members, however, almost made up for those who left the Society and our total number remained at over 1200 — but it should be twice that. We are grateful to the many members who subscribe more than the minimum and also to the corporations, trusts and art dealers who contribute to the Society’s funds. But we wish there were more of these too.

Buyer: Max Gordon
Stephen Buckley, Broken Glass, 1973 (Mixed media)
Anthony Carter, “Flag” Painting in two parts
Chris Fisher, Settlement, 5 (Tapestry)
Tim Head, Disappearance, 1973. Ed 8 (Print)
John Golding, Untitled B, 1973 (Pastel)
Peter KaIkhoff, Space and Colour Q, Points in Space, 1974 (mixed media/paper)
Brice Marden, Painting Studies 1 and 2, Ed 50 (Silkscreen, wax application and graphite)
5 Untitled etchings and aquatints, 1973, Ed 50
Agnes Martin, “On a Clear Day” Nos 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 (Screenprint)
Keith Milow, Four, Four XXII, 1974 (Resin, Fibreglass and Pastel)
Bruce Naumann, “War”, 1971. Ed 30/100 (Lithograph)
Bruce Naumann, “Green”, 1971. Ed 30/100 (Lithograph)
Dorothea Rockburne, Untitled drawing, 1972 (gummed labels/paper)
Antony Scherman, Untitled (Encaustic)
Richard Serra, Untitled, 1972 (Screenprint)
Nick Wyndham, Philosophers (Glass, stainless steel etc)

Buyer: Caryl Hubbard
Graham Arnold, My Summers Now (Painting/collage)
Graham Arnold, “August” (Painting/collage)
Prunella Clough, Charcoal drawing, 1972
Terry Frost, Grey, Red and Black Vertical, 1962 (Oil/canvas)
Knighton Hosking, “Earth, Sky and Water I V ” , 1974 (Acrylic/canvas)
Knighton Hosking, Study for Earth, Sky and Water IV (Graphite wash, pencil)
Paul Huxley, Untitled, No 136, 1974 (Oil/canvas)
John Loker, Coastal Horizon 3, 1973 (Drawing)
Kenneth Martin, Chance and Order I, 1971. Ed 75 (Screenprint)
Kenneth Martin, Chance and Order III, 1972. 39/70 (Screenprint)
Kenneth Martin, Chance and Order V, 1972. 33/70 (Screenprint)
Victor Newsome, “A Corner of the Bathroom”, 1973 (Acrylic on wood)
Jack Smith, “Sounds on Grey”, 1972 (Oil on board)
William Tillyer, Screenprints, Nos I and II, 1973. Ed 100
John Walker, Juggernaut, 1974. Ed 35. (Screenprint)
David Whitaker, Coney Island Boardwalk, 1974 (Acrylic/canvas)
Gillian Wise, Looped Network Suspended in Pictorial Space, 1974 (Acrylic/canvas)

Additional Purchase
Derek Jarman, Shad Thames Series 2 (Acrylic on canvas)
Derek Jarman, Shad Thames Series 4 (Acrylic on canvas)
These paintings costing £1,000 were acquired with an anonymous donation received for this purpose.
Gifts to the Society
John Edwards, “Swing, Swing, Swing”, 1966 (Acrylic/canvas)
Presented by J. Dudley, Esq. through the Rowan Gallery.

To download the Contemporary Art Society Report 1974 (pdf) click here


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