Press Release: Contemporary Art Society to display early David Hockney prints bequeathed by philanthropist

6 June 2013 By
David Hockney, ‘Bedlam’, A Rake’s Progress (portfolio of 16 prints), 1961-63, etching, aquatint, edition of 50, 17 3/4 x 11 1/2in, © David Hockney

6 June 2013

Public Display: 5 June – 16 August
Curator Talk: 13 June, 19.00

From 5 June, the Contemporary Art Society will display a selection of early etchings from the 1960s by internationally celebrated British artist David Hockney, which the organisation donated to the Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester in early 2011. The display at the Contemporary Art Society will feature the full set of 16 prints comprising Hockney’s early  work, A Rake’s Progress (1961-3), which were originally bequeated to the Contemporary Art Society by collector and philanthropist Dr. Ronald Lande.

Hockney began to explore printmaking in 1961. After winning prize-money of £100 for his early etching, Three Kings and a Queen, he was able to fund a trip to New York, which was to prove one of the most formative times of his life and directly inspired A Rake’s Progress. The semi-autobiographical work is based on William Hogarth’s 1735 suite of prints of the same title, but in Hockney’s narrative, the rake arrives not in London but New York, making money, dying his hair blonde, finding himself impoverished, and ultimately residing in a modern-day version of Hogarth’s Bedlam.

Sophia Bardsley, Deputy Director of the Contemporary Art Society, said: “We are thrilled to be able to display the entire set of 16 prints comprising A Rake’s Progress at the Contemporary Art Society this summer. The prints are some of Hockney’s earliest works and exemplify his incredible skill at this stage in his career. It is vitally important that the Contemporary Art Society is able to display works that have come to us as generous gifts and bequests – both to encourage further gifts from our networks of supporters, which are crucial to the ongoing development of public collections in this country, as well as to fulfil the wish of philanthropists such as Dr. Lande that their private art collections are enjoyed by public audiences.”
For all press enquiries, please contact:
Jenny Prytherch, Communications Manager, Contemporary Art Society
+44 (0)20 7017 8412


Notes to Editors:


The Contemporary Art Society is a national charity that encourages an appreciation and understanding of contemporary art in the UK. With the help of our members and supporters we raise funds to purchase works by new artists which we give to museums and public galleries where they are enjoyed by a national audience; we broker significant and rare works of art by important artists of the twentieth century for public collections through our networks of patrons and private collectors; we establish relationships to commission artworks and promote contemporary art in public spaces; and we devise programmes of displays, artist talks and educational events. Since 1910 we have donated over 8,000 works to museums and public galleries – from Bacon, Freud, Hepworth and Moore in their day through to the influential artists of our own times – championing new talent, supporting curators, and encouraging philanthropy and collecting in the


David Hockney was born in Bradford in 1937. He graduated from the Bradford School of Art in 1957 and studied at the Royal College of Art from 1959-1962. While there he met RB Kitaj and became instrumental in the founding of the British Pop Art movement. Hockney settled in Los Angeles in 1978. He has been the subject of countless solo exhibitions worldwide including a major touring retrospective held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Royal College of Art and the Tate, London in 1988.


The edition of A Rake’s Progress on display at the Contemporary Art Society was purchased by Dr. Ronald Lande from Lewis M. Kaplan in 1973 and came to the Contemporary Art Society in 2010 to be gifted to a museum in memory of his life partner Walter Urech. Along with A Rake’s Progress, Dr. Lande had a collection which included works by Roger Hilton, Francis Bacon, John Piper, Patrick Procktor, Barbara Hepworth, Tom Merrifield and seven paintings by Keith Vaughan. The works by Vaughan were presented by the Contemporary Art Society to Abbot Hall Gallery (Lakeland Arts Trust), National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, Towner (Eastbourne), York Art Gallery and Brighton Museum & Art Gallery in 2012.


Whitworth Art Gallery is part of the University of Manchester. It is home to internationally renowned collections of modern art, textiles, watercolours, prints, drawings and sculpture. Created in 1908 as the first English gallery in a park, the Whitworth is today developing a new vision for the role of a university gallery, and is forging stronger connections between park, community and landscape through its development and extension opening in 2014.

The Whitworth holds one of the largest and most important print collections in the country, with around 15,000 single sheet prints and 500 illustrated books dating from the origins of European printmaking in the mid-15th century through to the present day. The museum boasts the largest collection of single sheet prints by William Hogarth outside


[PREVIEW: TUES 3 SEPTEMBER, 18.30 — 20.30]

British artist John Stezaker uses collage to explore the subversive within found images such as film magazines, vintage postcards and illustrations. Fall XII and Fall XIII (both 1992) were recently bought for York Art Gallery through the Contemporary Art Society with support from the Art Fund and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. The male and female collages explore traditional artistic training such as anatomical study and life drawing, by referencing the source material of Arthur Thompson’s book Anatomy for Art Students, a core text for students at the Slade School of Art until the 1970s. Fall XIIand Fall XIII are on display at the Contemporary Art Society alongside a selection of other works from York Art Gallery’s collection. John Stezaker discusses his work at the Contemporary Art Society on 12 September.

The Eric & Jean Cass Gift WED 16 OCTOBER – FRI 22 NOVEMBER
[PREVIEW: TUES 15 OCTOBER, 18.30 — 20.30]

In early 2012, private collectors Eric and Jean Cass donated over 300 modernist artworks to the Contemporary Art Society for gifting to UK museums. The Cass Gift is one of the largest philanthropic donations in the Contemporary Art Society’s 100 year history, totalling over £4million. Amassed over almost 40 years and previously housed in the interiors and gardens of ‘Bleep’, Eric and Jean’s spectacular modernist Surrey home, the couple’s collection was one of the most unique and significant collections of modern and contemporary art in the country, comprising works by, amongst others, Karel Appel, Michael Craig-Martin, Barbara Hepworth, Joan Miro, Henry Moore, Eduardo Paolozzi, Victor Pasmore, Pablo Picasso and Niki de Saint-Phalle.

In 2012, the Contemporary Art Society invited seven UK-based museums to research Eric and Jean Cass’s donation and to pitch to receive clusters of works that complement or enliven their current collections. The successful museums were Gallery of Modern Art (Glasgow), Hepworth Wakefield, Leeds Art Gallery, National Museum of Wales (Cardiff), Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Edinburgh), The Royal Pavilion and Museums (Brighton) and Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Through the gift, the Contemporary Art Society oversaw the donation of the largest number of works by Niki de Saint Phalle to ever enter a UK collection, and the first works by Michael Craig Martin enter a collection in Scotland.

From 16 October – 22 November, the Contemporary Art Society will display a selection of Pop works from the Eric & Jean Cass Gift that were donated to Wolverhampton Art Gallery.