Wolverhampton has a permanent collection of Georgian and Victorian Art. The contemporary collection is made of two major strands with an outstanding Pop Art collection and a remarkable selection of Northern Irish work.
Since the 1980s Wolverhampton has focused on collecting works from Northern Ireland that address the country’s political situation, including notable works by John Keane, Paul Graham, Jock McFadyen, Willie Doherty, Siobhán Hapaska and Anthony Davies.
Wolverhampton Art Gallery has an outstanding collection of Pop Art, one of the best in the UK, with works by Warhol, Peter Blake, Roy Lichtenstein and David Hockney. The display changes every six months focusing on a different theme found within the movement. The Eric and Jean Cass Gift to Wolverhampton will develop this particular strand of the collection with major works by British artist Allen Jones. The Gift will also help the collection to build a new focus drawing on the impact of European artists on the UK Pop movement, with works by Victor Vasarely, a print series by Julio Le Parc and a major works by Karel Appel, an artist currently underrepresented in UK collections.
The display of the Northern Ireland collection changes every twelve to eighteen months, with highlights including the recent purchases of works by Breda Beban, David Burrows and Seamus Harahan, the latter through the Contemporary Art Society’s acquisitions scheme.
You are greeted by a beautifully kept 18th century wooden stairwell on which works from the gallery’s historic collection are displayed. Beyond the staircase the gallery opens up into a contemporary interior, housing a rich collection of work.
Quirky additions to the gallery displays include Georgian bonnets and Andy Warholesque wigs for visitors to don as they view the exhibits.
Work from the Eric and Jean Cass Gift will go on display in Pop Highlights at Wolverhampton Art Gallery from 15 November 2012 – 15 May 2013