Contemporary Art Society Report 1975

4 August 2015
Cover for the 1975 Contemporary Art Society Annual Report
Cover for the 1975 Contemporary Art Society Annual Report

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
Executive Committee
Peter Meyer
Alistair McAlpine
Nancy Balfour OBE
Lord Croft
Caryl Hubbard
Max Gordon
Sir Norman Reid
Neville Burston
Anthony Diamond
Norbert Lynton
Peter Moores
Marquess Dufferin and Ava
Catherine Curran
Joanna Drew
Gabrielle Keiller
Pauline Vogelpoel MBE
Vice Chairman
Honorary Treasurer
Honorary Secretary
Organising Secretary
Committee Report for the year ended 31 December 1975
During the year Alan Bowness and Carol Hogben retired from the Committee by rotation. Marquess Dufferin and Ava, Catherine Curran, Joanna Drew and Gabrielle Keiller were elected to the Committee. Bryan Montgomery and Geoffrey Tucker 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 A r t Collections in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. The Society’s activities during the year resulted in a surplus of £2,514. The accumulated fund amounted to £11,156 at 31 December 1975.

Peter Meyer

June 10 1976

Chairman’s Report
In January 1975, at long last, we held our Art Fair in the Mall Galleries, as I mentioned briefly in my report last year, showing one work by each of 150 artists chosen by our Sub-Committee from dealers’ stocks. The show was beautifully hung by our Organising Secretary and there were many compliments from exhibitors, the Press and the public. Thirteen pictures were sold, seven to museums, four to private buyers and two to our Buyers for the year and a point that was particularly appreciated was the fact that every work was priced, a procedure that is all too rare in dealers’ galleries today. Some visitors thought that we should not have included established artists such as Bacon, Lowry, Moore and Nicholson on the ground that the few museums who could afford to buy their works would know where to find them. I am sure that this criticism was misplaced and, by showing them, we set standards of comparison for the younger, lesser known, artists. The organisation of the Fair proved extremely expensive and could not have been contemplated but for generous contributions from Nancy Balfour, Alistair McAlpine and Neville Burston to whom we are greatly indebted. So successful was it that many people suggested we should make it an annual event. However, investigations later in the year showed that costs had already risen considerably and it was clearly out of the question to make further calls upon the generosity of our benefactors. Reluctantly, therefore, we had to abandon the idea.

In July at the Royal College of Art we showed our latest acquisitions. The preview party for members was well attended, but few members of the public came to the exhibition and it was totally ignored by the Press. It cost over £600 to transport and hang the pictures and to pay for the exhibition space and staff, but we have found no other way to display over 100 works of art, many of them very big, in such a way that museums can make a proper choice. The works have now been distributed and full details appear later in this report.

A large number of museum directors attended a special meeting when the opportunity was taken to discuss general matters of policy including the level of their subscriptions, which I pointed out had been unchanged for five years. Despite the stringent financial conditions under which all museums operate, there was general agreement that the benefits they obtained from the Society were substantial and that we were abundantly justified in asking for an increase. After a wide-ranging discussion, it was considered that to double the existing minimum levels to £30 and £60 respectively would be acceptable, although it was realised that there might be resignations. In the event, only two museums have resigned and, in response to my stressing that the figures were to be regarded as a minimum, several have agreed to subscribe larger amounts.

Among the donations we received during the year I must draw special attention to the sum of over £4,000 from the Trustees of the New Art Centre when it was wound up as a charity. It was made on the understanding that it would be used primarily to purchase works by artists from the Royal College of Art, because the New Art Centre was so greatly helped and influenced by Robin Darwin. We have therefore placed the money in a special fund to be known as the ‘Darwin Fund’ which will be spent by Caryl Hubbard who was formerly associated with the New Art Centre.

Our social activities during the year were extensive. Two of the most successful were the preview parties for the Art Fair and the Recent Acquisitions Exhibition, the last named being preceded by a buffet supper in the Senior Common Room at the Royal College of Art . In November we were particularly pleased that Claes Oldenburg was present for a showing of a film of his work; he then answered questions, after which he was our guest at dinner. Other evenings in London were a sherry party at the Morley College Art Gallery to see the McVeagh Collection of Contemporary Spanish Painting, dinner at the Victoria and Albert Museum following a private view of the Liberty Exhibition, and two separate visits to artists’ studios incorporated in the Space scheme. The most popular occasion was the showing of six remarkable private collections of members on an October Saturday in Belgravia. Miss Nancy Balfour, Mrs. Catherine Curran, Miss Helen Fesenmeier, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Jaffe, Mr. Neville Burston and Mr. Max Gordon opened their homes throughout the day and a number of members have told me how much they appreciated the kindness of their hosts.

Outside London there was a weekend trip in July to Southampton and the Isle of Wight. A visit was made to Mr. Ralph Dutton’s house at Hinton Ampner, and Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cooper entertained members to drinks in their garden in the close at Winchester before lunch. An evening reception was held at the Southampton Art Gallery and in the Isle of Wight the party went round Osborne House and the Ruskin Galleries at Bembridge School, finishing with tea and drinks with Brigadier Sir Michael and Lady West who showed their interesting modern collection. Overseas visits were made to Prague and to private collections and artists’ studios in the South of France. The latter was so successful that it was repeated and Mrs. Sam Jaffe sent a special donation of £100 as a mark of her appreciation.

I never cease to be amazed at the endless trouble that is taken by so many people to entertain members every year. Their generosity is remarkable and it is a great pleasure to know how much goodwill towards the Society exists, both in this country and abroad. During the year we co-opted on to the Committee Mr. Geoffrey Tucker, a long standing member of the Society with particular expertise in public relations, and Mr. Bryan Montgomery, well-known as an architect, collector and organiser of exhibitions. Their experience has already proved valuable and they now come up for formal election. We also propose the re-election of Mr. Alan Bowness and Mr. Carol Hogben who retired a year ago. They served on the Committee for many years and need no introduction from me; we have missed them enormously in the last 12 months and very much look forward to them rejoining us. Two members of the Committee are now retiring. One is Mr. Neville Burston who, I am sorry to say, is temporarily living in Canada, and the other is myself on completion of my five years as Chairman. I regret to report that Mr. Alistair McAlpine, the Vice Chairman, is unable to succeed me owing to pressure of other business, but he will remain as Vice Chairman and I am delighted that the Committee have chosen Nancy Balfour to be your next – what shall I say? – Chair Person. She has been an enthusiastic and effective Treasurer for the last five years and the Society could not be in better hands. She will be succeeded as Treasurer by Lord Croft and he in turn will be followed as Honorary Secretary by Caryl Hubbard.

I first joined the Committee in 1952 and became Treasurer in 1955. Old men, they say, forget, but my experience is that they reminisce at inordinate length. I will therefore resist the temptation to comment on the changes that have taken place in the art world and the Society’s activities during these years, and merely state two facts which illustrate them abundantly; in 1952 our total income was under £3,000 and, when I was first a Buyer in 1957, I was able to acquire a superb Moore drawing for £70. One aspect of the Society which seems impervious to change is the presence of our Organising Secretary, although I hasten to add that she was certainly not with us in 1952. But nothing in this world is immutable and I am sure all members will join with me in wishing every happiness to Pauline on her marriage to David Mann. Pauline is the inspiration of so much that we do and, like my predecessors, I could not have carried out my duties without her cheerful, incomparable support.

Honorary Treasurer’s Report

From a Treasurer’s point of view the most important event in 1975 was the receipt of over £4,000 for the establishment of the “Darwin Fund” as already reported by the Chairman. This meant that the year ended with a substantial surplus; but without this surprise and welcome bonus there would have been a deficit of about £1,500. Your Committee had calculated that this would be the case when allocating £10,000 for the purchase of works of art during 1975, believing that under present economic conditions the society should spend as much as possible of its reserve funds. This policy is being continued this year, during which it is also intended to spend most, if not all, of the Darwin Fund.

Also of importance from an accounting point of view is a change in the financial arrangements for the Society’s foreign travel schemes. These are now handled by Mrs Slagle of Grayson Travel Ltd., those members who have gone abroad with her know how efficiently and pleasantly she manages this. While the Organising Secretary still plans the tours, the change has given her more time for the Society’s other activities; it has also been of benefit to our funds and therefore to the artists whose work the Society buys. The Organising Secretary is to be congratulated on having once again minimised. the inflationary rise in the Society’s running costs. It should be emphasised, however, that these would be prohibitively high were it not for the help received from the Tate Gallery in the form of rent-free accommodation and other services, for which we are as always most grateful. I am happy to report that income from members’ subscriptions and donations rose in 1975 and that this year is showing an upward trend in the number of members – maybe because, unlike many other similar groups, we have not increased our minimum subscriptions to individuals. However, it would be welcome if they showed their appreciation of this by paying more than the minimum, as many do already, by giving us a special donation occasionally or by bequeathing money or works of art to the Society; legacies of this kind carry benefits under recent Finance Acts. The special contributions towards the cost of the Art Fair, to which the Chairman has referred, appear in the revenue account under “general bequests and donations”.

Your Committee has various schemes in the planning stages for increasing the Society’s membership and also its income from other sources, so that it may be more useful to artists and to public art galleries at a time when both are under great financial strain. I hope that we shall be able to report progress in these efforts next year.

As the Chairman has already reported, your Committee has asked me to follow him and I hope that I shall be as successful in furthering the interests of the Society during my period in office as he has been. His long experience of the Society’s affairs will be much missed; I know that I would often have been in difficulty as Treasurer if I had not had the benefit of his advice. I am sure that all members will j o in the Committee and myself in thanking him for all he has done for the Society and for contemporary art and in hoping that he will continue to interest himself in it even though his official responsibility is ended.

List of Purchases for the year 1975
Buyer: Marina Vaizey
Prunella Clough, Charcoal Drawing No 24; Charcoal Drawing No 13; Fence and Hedge 3 (ink); Iridescent Scrap (water-colour)
Barrie Cook, No 9, Continuum, 1975
Michael Craig Martin, Set of 9 drawings ‘.’Falling Knife”
Colin Crumplin, Set of 10 drawings “Homage a Quenau, 1971 to 1975”
Sylvia Guirey, No 17, February 1975 (pen and ink on canvas)
Garth Evans, Drawing No 2, 1974 (graph paper)
Helene Fesenmaier, From the construction — “Suggestions for Security, 1975”
David Leverett, Interspaces, 1974 (mixed media in resins)
John Loker, Landscape Extract 111 (drawing)
William Maclean, Northern Totem (collage); Predatory Voyage (collage); Decoy Drawing; Trap drawing no 1; Spent Fish (drawing)
Rory Mc Ewen, A Month in the Country, No 1 (water-colour); A Month in the Country, No 6 (water-colour)
Glen Onwin, Work No 5 (wax on canvas); Work No 13 (photographic work and colour)
Mary Potter, Reflected Pattern (oil on canvas)
Laurence Preece, Composition: Grey with Black (inks and water-colour)
Jack Smith, Interruptions, 1972 (collage/drawing); Intervals, 1972 (pencil/wash)
Patrick Symons, Mendelssohn Octet at Ryne Intrinseca (pencil); Japonica (pencil)
Elizabeth Vellacott, Foundering Island (graphite stick)
John Walker, Untitled Chalk Drawing, 1973

Buyer: Edward Lucie-Smith
Colin Cina, Study for “Scarp” 2, 1974 (coloured ink)
Bernard Cohen, Untitled, 1975 (gouache)
John Davies, Man Pulling Rope, 1975 (drawing)
Rita Donagh, After the Talbot Street Blast, 1974 (collage/pencil
Ian Gardner, Topiary Garden, Levens Hall, 1971 (water-colour)
Tim Head, Light 4, 1974 (acrylic/paper)
David Hepher, Drawing for Mr B, 1972
David Hockney, Don Crib, Lucca, 1973 (drawing)
David Inshaw, Girls Playing Badminton, 1973 (pencil)
Bill Jacklin, Untitled drawing, 1969
Robert Mason, East End Assemblage XVII (pencil/gouache/ink)
Anne Norwich, “Kite” (acrylic)
Carl Plackman, Untitled (drawing)
Bridget Riley, “Study for List Poster” (drawing)
Sean Scully, Drawing No 6, 1974 (acrylic/paper)
Ian Stephenson, “Ionic Variation” 1970-71 (water-colour)
Andre Wallace, “The Manager” (pencil/crayon)

Works Presented to Art Galleries/1975
Aberdeen: Roger Hilton/November 1964/oil
Adelaide, Australia: Howard Hodgkin/Saturdays, 1969/71/oil on board
Batley: Rita Donagh/After the Talbot Street Blast, 1974/collage/pencil
Bedford: Jeremy Moon/Painting, No 15, 1970/acrylic
Belfast: Patrick Heron/Ceruleum and Scarlet in ultramarine with emerald, 1970/gouache
Birkenhead: Jack Clemente/The Great Fossil, 1958/9/oil
Birmingham: Leon Kossoff/Children’s Swimming Pool, Friday Evening, 1970/oil
Blackburn: Howard Selina/One Earth, Shipley Moor, Yorkshire and four modified
house paint greens/acrylic
Bolton: David Leverett/lnterspaces, 1974/mixed media in resin
Bootle: Prunella Clough/Charcoal Drawing, No 24, 1972
Bournemouth: Richard Rush/Asghar Bahari, 1970/water-colour
Bradford: Sean Scully/Drawing No 6, 1974/acrylic
Brighouse: Michael Pennie/Ship of State, 1971 /Fibreglass
Brisbane, Australia: Prunella Clough/charcoal drawing 13, 1972
Bristol: Colin Self/Untitled drawing, 1966
Bury: Ian Gardner/Topiary Garden/water-colour
Cardiff: Michael Ginsborg/Bendick, 1972/acrylic
Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum: Robert Mason/East End Assemblage XVIl/pencil, ink, gouache
Cambridge, Kettle’s Yard Collection: Anthony Carter/Flag/acrylic painting in two parts
Cheltenham: Kenneth Armitage/Both Arms, 1969/bronze
Christchurch, New Zealand: Bernard Cohen/charcoal drawing, 1969
Coventry: Nigel Hall/Four Bars, 1973/charcoal
Darlington: Prunella Clough/lridescent Scrap, 1968/water-colour
Derby: Derek Jarman/Avebury Series, 2, 1973/acrylic
Dewsbury: Peter Sedgeley/Yellow Circle/acrylic
Doncaster: John Howlin/Staten/acrylic
Dudley: William Tillyer/Trellis, 1970, No 1/screen-print
Dumfries: John Napper/Pastoral Landscape 2, 1967
Dundee: John Houston/Sunset over Moorland/oil
Eastbourne: David Hepher/Drawing for Mr B, 1972/gouache, chalk
Exeter: John Knox/Big basket, pears and shadow/charcoal and oil
Glasgow Museum: Liliane Lijn/White Gnomon/perspex
Glasgow University: Michael Perton/Square, circle and triangle 2, 1972/acrylic
Hamilton, Ontario: Henry Mundy /Study for Painting B, 1971/coloured ink
Harrogate: Patrick Hughes/Drawing for collected works, Part 2, 1972
Huddersfield: Roger Hilton/Untitled Painting, 1966/oil
Hull: Nick Wyndham/Philosophers, 1974/glass and stainless steel
William Maclean/Predatory Voyage/collage
Hull University: Eric Gill/sculpture
Ipswich: John Howlin/Tedesco/acrylic
Kendal: Peter Kalkhoff/Space in Colour, Points in Space, 1974/Mixed media
Kettering: Rory McEwen/A Month in the Country, 1/water-colour
Kimberley, South Africa/Colin Cina/Study for Scarp, 2, 1974/water-colour
Kirkcaldy: William Scott/White Bowl, Black Pan or Brown/screen-print
Leeds: Michael Craig-Martin/”Falling Knife”/9 drawings
Leicester: Mike Gorman/Mr Treadwell meets the Critics/acrylic
Leicester Education Authority: Patrick Hughes/Pile of Discarded Rainbows/gloss on board
Lincoln: Rory McEwen/A Month in the Country No 1 /water-colour
Liverpool: Keith Milow/Untitled, 1972/resins and fibreglass
Liverpool University: Frank Bowling/Big Bird/oil on canvas
Luton: Lorri Whiting/Force 8-9 Detail, 1974/collage
Manchester City Art Gallery: Victor Newsome/A corner of the bathroom/acrylic on wood
Manchester Rutherston Loan: Garth Evans/Frill/drawing on graph paper
Manchester University, Whitworth Art Gallery: Sean Scully/Amber/acrylic
Melbourne: Bridget Riley/Study for List Poster/ink and pencil
Merthyr Tydfil: Leo Davy/Figure, 1965/oil
Middlesbrough: Kenneth Martin/Chance and Order 1/screen-print
Nelson, New Zealand: Bruce Naumann/Green, 1971/lithograph
Newark: William Tillyer/’Trellis No 11 “/screen-print
Newcastle, Laing Art Gallery: Paul Huxley/Untitled No 136/emulsion on board
Newcastle University, Hatton Gallery: Rita Donagh/Untitled, 1967/pencil
Newport: Kenneth Martin/Chance and Order V/screen-print
Northampton: Derek Jarman/Avebury Series 4, 1973/acrylic
Norwich: John Howlin/I’ll remember April, 1962/acrylic
Nottingham: Ian Stephenson/Diorama SS 1,67/2 panels in acrylic
Ottawa, Canada: David Hockney/Portrait of Cavafy/etching and acquatint
Perth, Australia: Edward Avedisian/Five, Five and Five, 1965/oil
Plymouth: Wilhelmina Barns-Graham/Card Table, 1967/69/oil on hardboard
Portsmouth: Agnes Martin/”On a Clear Day”/5 screenprints, Nos 13 to 17
Preston: Ian Mc Culloch/Near Quang Try, Vietnam, 1973/PVA
Reading: Peter Warwick/Untitled/oil on board
Rochdale: Anthony Jones/Site with Canopy/gouache
Rotherham: Kenneth Martin/Chance and Order 111/screen-print
Rugby: John Walker/Untitled Drawing, 1973/chalk
Rye: Roger Hilton/Lithograph, untitled
Salford Art Gallery: Graham Arnold/”August”/painting and collage
Salford University: John Edwards “Swing, Swing, Swing’Vacrylic
Scunthorpe: William Maclean/Trap Drawing and Spent Fish/pencil
Sheffield: Jack Smith/Sounds on Grey, 1972/oil on board
Southampton: David Hockney/Don Crib, Lucca/drawing
Southend: Robin Phillipson/Retablo/oil
Southwark: Stanley Spencer/The Choir Sketch, 1944/gouache and water-colour
Stalybridge: David Scott/Avenue, Boughton/oil
Sunderland: John Hoyland/Untitled, 1968/gouache
Swansea: Ceri Richards/”Hark, I trumpet the place’Vgouache and ink
Swindon: Terry Frost/Grey, Red and Black vertical, 1962/oil
Tate Gallery: Gillian Wise/Looped network suspended in pictorial space/oil
Brice Marden/Untitled, 1973/five acquatints and etchings
Richard Hamilton/Four Tyres Remoulded/set of 3 prints
Victoria and Albert Museum; Department of Paintings and Drawings: Tom
Phillips/”On taking part . . ” , 1968/water-colour
Roy Conn/Painting, 1971/gouache
Victoria and Albert Museum, Circulation Department: John Hilliard/10 and
12 Representations of Brighton Seafront/2 units with colour
Wakefield: John Walker/Untitled Drawing, 1971/chalk and paint
Wellington,.New Zealand: Graham Arnold/”My Summers Now’Vpainting and collage
Wigan: Ian Colverson/Rika Sarai No 1, 1971 and Night Colours, 1971 screenprints
Wolverhampton: John Judkins/Pop Star/oil on board
York: David Whitaker/Coney Island Boardwalk/acrylic

To download the Contemporary Art Society Report 1975 (pdf) click here


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