Contemporary Art Society Report 1971-72

17 August 2015
Cover for the 1971-72 Contemporary Art Society Annual Report. Image: Albert Irvin, Rider, 1969. Presented Blackburn Art Gallery 1971/2
Cover for the 1971-72 Contemporary Art Society Annual Report. Image: Albert Irvin, Rider, 1969. Presented Blackburn Art Gallery 1971/2

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

Executive Committee 
Office holders before Annual General Meeting, June 1971
Whitney Straight CBE MC DFC Chairman
Anthony Lousada Vice Chairman
Peter Meyer Honorary Treasurer
The Hon J D Sainsbury Honorary Secretary

Executive Committee after Annual General Meeting, June 1971
Peter Meyer Chairman
The Hon J D Sainsbury Vice Chairman
Nancy Balfour OBE Honorary Treasurer
Lord Croft Honorary Secretary
Bryan Robertson
Sir Norman Reid
David Thompson
Alistair McAlpine
Alan Bowness
Joanna Drew
Alexander Dunbar
Carol Hogben

Pauline Vogelpoel MBE Organising Secretary

Cover; Albert Irvin “Rider” 1969. Presented Blackburn Art Gallery 1971/2

Chairman’s Report June 1972
Although this meeting will be approving the accounts for the calendar year 1971, I am, as is customary, reporting on the events of the last twelve months. This has been an eventful period for the Society, so that for once the details of our parties and jollifications will have to take second place. Whatever our views may be on the Government’s decision to introduce museum charges, we were delighted to learn that our members would be exempt, provided that their annual subscription was at least £3. When considering raising the subscription to this level, we decided that we should take the positive steps to encourage the signature of Deeds of Covenant and Bankers Orders. As I have so often said in my reports as Honorary Treasurer, a Deed of Covenant entities us to reclaim income tax on the subscription and a Bankers Order saves us a great deal of administrative work. For these reasons we fixed the subscription at £4, with a reduction to £3 if both a Deed and an Order were completed. We did this with some apprehension, but I am delighted to say that it has been extremely well received.

You may be concerned at the fact that the introduction of museum charges, originally fixed for the 1st January, has been postponed, but I understand they will indeed start later this year.

In anticipation of the effective date being the 1st January, we held on the 6th December our first press conference In the history of the Society. Sir Norman Reid generously lent us the Board room of the Tate and went to a great deal of trouble to hang on the wails some of our most important gifts. As a result of this Conference we received some valuable publicity and this in turn led to a number of new members.

In furtherance of this membership drive we produced a most attractive new brochure and arranged for it to be circulated by Artsmail, but the results of this to date have been disappointing. More recently we were delighted to learn from the Budget that gifts and bequests to charities up to £50,000 would be free of Estate Duty and Capital Gains Tax, Although i naturally wish all our members the longest possible life, I would delicately draw their attention to this change in the law.

The Finance Bill also provides for similar exemption for gifts and bequests to public galleries in the UK, without limit in respect of works of art. Although it would be extremely optimistic to hope that anyone would ever give us more than £50,000, an extension of this provision to include the Society would not only obviate the need for any argument about valuations, but would also provide a useful channel by which owners of contemporary works of art could ensure that they go to the museum which is most in need of them. I have made representations to both the Chancellor and to Lord Eccles, pointing out that to include us would have no adverse effect upon the Exchequer, but I do not yet
know what the result will be.

It is not only members’ subscriptions that have been reviewed in the past year. Hitherto museums have been allowed to subscribe whatever sum they wished, but, in the light of the steadily increasing cost of works of art some of these subscriptions had become derisory. We therefore decided to introduce a minimum subscription of £15 which would entitle a gallery to a drawing or watercolour, while a minimum of £30 would entitle them to a painting or piece of sculpture. I announced this proposal to a meeting of gallery directors on the occasion of the exhibition of our recent acquisitions, and with one exception they all welcomed it. I pointed out that these figures were minimal, and in the allocation of works of art we always took Into account the amount which a museum subscribed. As a result I am pleased to say that in a number of cases the minimum has been exceeded.

I was very glad to have this opportunity of meeting museum directors and discussing various points of policy with them. We all of course appreciated the generosity of the Royal College of Art in making their Gulbenkian gallery available to us for this exhibition and the sadly few people who went there will have appreciated how well it showed off our acquisitions. Ths allocation has now been made and full details appear in this report.

Many years ago we presented to the Tate a plaster bust of Major Smythies by Gaudier Breszka. The Tate recently suggested casting this bust in bronze in an edition of five and after allocating one cast to themselves and one through Mr. H.S. Ede, an old friend and supporter of the sculptor, to Cambridge University, the other three were made available to us at the cost of casting. We were of course delighted to agree to this but in view of the exceptional value of these bronzes, decided we could not make a gift of them to museums. We have therefore offered them at a specially reduced price.

It will be recalled that in 1968 we purchased a sculpture by Philip King with the intention of giving it to an important site in London, following the successful placing of the Henry Moore ‘Knife Edge’ opposite the House of Lords. I am ashamed to say that over the last four years it has been impossible to find any suitable site. Two years ago we lent it temporarily to a new hospital in Oxford, where it has been admirably positioned in a small central court yard but where unfortunately it can only be seen by visiting doctors and students and expectant mothers and fathers. When therefore we learnt that the Kroiler Muller Museum in Holland was extremely anxious to acquire this particular work, we agreed with the artist that in view of the importance of their collection, it would be preferable
to sell it to them.

Let me now turn to our parties. We are extremely sorry that we can no longer have evening previews of special exhibitions at the Tate, because these are reserved for the Friends of the Tate. It would still be possible to have evening parties during the run of exhibitions, but in the past these have proved less popular and, now that we would have to pay for insurance of the pictures and overtime for the staff, the tickets would be extremely expensive. We were therefore particularly pleased to be able to make an arrangement with the Arts Council, whereby we can give evening preview parties for their exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery. In pursuance of this policy we have had extremely successful parties for the exhibitions of Miro, Rothko and Reitveld, Bridget Riley and, most recently, the French Symbolists. It may also be recalled that for the fishiest of reasons we failed at the last moment to have a party for the Los Angeles exhibition.

We also had a preview party before our Recent Acquisitions exhibition and were fortunate to be able to precede this with a buffet supper in the senior common room of the Royal College of Art. In January we had an evening preview of the British Sculpture Exhibition at the Royal Academy. On this occasion the President and Council of the Academy threw open their Council rooms and members greatly appreciated the opportunity of seeing not only the rooms themselves but also the Academy’s own collection of sculpture and paintings. In May this year those of us who are unable to visit the Bond Street area in the daytime were particularly grateful for a repeat of our 1970 visit to galleries In Cork Street which remained open from 6.00 to 8.00pm and in some instances generously provided wine.

Last week some of our members spent a most enjoyable day in Essex and Suffolk visiting Josef Herman in his studio, an exhibition at the Minories with Mr. Michael Chase as our host and finally Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bevan’s collection of works by Mr. Bevan’s father and other members of the Camden Town Group. We are most grateful to all these people for their kindness and in particular to Mr. and Mrs. Bevan for providing such a splendid tea.

In February Miss Vogelpoel took twenty members to Peru, Brazil and Bolivia, where they were able to meet local artists and see many items not on the normal tourist route, with as always the most valuable help of the British Council. Although by their nature these foreign tours are only undertaken by a small number of people, they provide useful additional funds for the Society and do much to foster goodwill w i t h artists in the countries concerned.

During the year our buyers were Miss Nancy Balfour and Mr. Alastair MacAipine who were allocated £5,000. I very much hope that the measures we have taken during the past year will result in future buyers having a great deal more to spend. I am sorry to say that the committee is forced to lose the services of Sir Norman Reid and Mr. David Thompson, who retire by rotation. Sir Norman has been a most loyal supporter of the Society and has generously made available the facilities of the Tate in a variety of ways. Mr. David Thompson’s knowledge and experience has also been of great value to us, in particular since he has been Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art. We shall miss them both enormously.

During the year we co-opted to the committee Mrs. John Hubbard and Mr. Max Gordon both of whom come up for formal election. Mrs. Hubbard has had a great deal of experience in managing a non-profit-making gallery and Mr. Gordon has a distinguished collection which we were privileged to see t w o years ago. They have already proved most valuable members of the Committee.

Honorary Treasurer’s Report June 1972
In 1971 we increased our allocation to buyers by £500 to £2,500 each, knowing that this would mean probably a deficit. In fact the deficit for the year came to £538. Your committee felt that our reserves were larger than seemed likely to be necessary in the immediate future and that part of them should be spent at once on the primary purpose of the Society which is to buy pictures by contemporary artists for presentation to public collections.

Our expenses were also higher than in 1970, by about £470, but this hardly seems excessive in view of the recent inflationary rise in all costs. Our income from subscriptions was slightly lower in 1971 than In the year before but all the indications are that it will go up substantially this year as a result of the increased rate of subscription and the welcome readiness of our members to use the advantage which we offer to them if they subscribe by Deed of Covenant.

The increase in income from bequests and donations in 1 971 is very welcome; it is accounted for in large part by a bequest of £500 from Miss Olive Atherton. The income from visits and parties was up a little in 1971; there was no long trip abroad during last year which explains why the total sales of tickets is so much smaller than in 1970. Altogether our income for the year was nearly £600 more than in 1970.

List of Purchases for the year 1971
Buyer: Nancy Balfour
Roy Conn, Painting, 1971
David Hall, Throwaway too, 1985 (painted welded steel)
Albert Irvin, Rider, 1969 (oil/canvas)
John Latham, P—(N) 2: 5/12, 1964 (oil/canvas)
Margo Maeckelberghe, Fall Tide, 1971 (oil/canvas)
Robert Medley, Untitled, 1969 (oil/canvas)
Michael Pennie, Ship of State, 1971 (Fibreglass)
Bridget Riley, Hanover I, 1971 (screen-print 72/75)
Bridget Riley, Dusseldorf, 1971 (screen-print 60/75)
Philip Sutton, View from Falmouth (oil on canvas)
Michael Vaughan, Blue Cross and Grey Block (oil on canvas)

Buyer: Alistair McAlpine
Peter Blake, Tattoed Lady, 1958 (collage, inks etc)
Patrick Caulfield, Inside a Weekend Cabin (acrylic/canvas)
Alfred Wallis, Two Masted Schooner off Coast (oil on board)
Alfred Wallis, Three Boats off the Shore (oil on cardboard)
Alfred Wallis, Ship off the Coast (oil on board)

Gifts to the Society
Presented by Mr Alistair McAlpine, a group of paintings by Patrick Heron, Terry Frost, Robyn Denny, and Roger Hilton

Loans made by the Society to Exhibitions
Four Bridget Riley prints to SCA Exhibition, Barcelona
Derek Southall painting “Compass” to Southall Exhibition, Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry.
Robert Adams sculpture “Circular Form and Bar” to Adams Exhibition, Camden Art Centre.
Groups of paintings to Senate House, London University.

Works presented to galleries 1971/2
Aberdeen: Alfred Wallis/Three Boats off the Shore/oil
Adelaide: Paul Huxley/Untitled No 90,1968/liquilite
Auckland, New Zealand: Bridget Riley/Dusseldorf, 1971/screen-print 60/75
Batley: Maude Sumner/Nettlebed, 1965/oil
Belfast: Mary Martin/Dispersal on Black, 1967/Stainless steel and wood
Birkenhead: John Hubbard/Untitled landscape 1969/70/oil
Birmingham: Bridget Riley/Final cartoon for pale green, blue, magenta, elongated triangles 1969/water-colour
Blackburn: Albert Irvin/Rider, 1969/acrylic
Blackpool: John O’Connor/August River/water-colour
Bolton: David Hockney/3 etchings from Brothers Grimm
Bolton: Friends of th e Art Gallery: Terry Frost/Red and Yellow/oil
Bootle: Michael Wishart/To Leave before Daybreak/oil
Bournemouth: Gwynneth Johnstone/Norfolk Farms/oil and collage
Bradford: Roger Hilton/December 1954/oil
Brighton: Peter Sedgeley/Video Disque
Brisbane: Terry Lee/lmpact/oil
Bristol: Norman Adams/The Sea No 65. 1966/oil
British Museum: Prunella Clough/four monotypes
David Hockney/two etchings from Brothers Grimm
Cardiff: Nicholas Georgiadis/Posts 1968/oil
Cambridge, Kettles Yard Collection: Patrick Byrne/Family Group, 1967/oil
Cambridge: Fitzwilliam Museum: Roger Hilton/Large Grange/oil
Canberra, Australia: Robyn Denny/Green and Blue/oil
Cheltenham: Frank Wilson/Composition/oil
Christchurch, New Zealand: Terry Frost/Red and Black/oil
Coventry: Peter de Francia/Two Disparates/pencil
Darlington: Antonio Freiles/Situations/oil
Derby: Oliver Bevan/untitled screen-print
Doncaster: Patrick Caulfield/Five small screen-prints
Dudley: Harry Seager/Opus No 28/glass and metal sculpture
Dumfries: Wilhelmina Barns Graham/
Assasination, Black, White and Orange/ oil
Dundee: William Scott/Angle, 1963/oil
Dunedin, New Zealand: Patrick Hayman/Cornish Coast, 1953/tempera
Eastbourne: Ian Hamilton Finlay/Drift/wood
Eccles: Prunella Clough/Untitled, 1967/oil
Exeter: Bryan lilsley/Green, Red, Black and Brown/oil
Glasgow: Malcolm Carder/Variations and inversions on a cube, 1966/perspex
Glasgow University: Bridget Riley/Screen-print on plexi-glass
Bridget Riley/Hanover, 1971/screen-print
Gloucester: Krishen Khanna/Musician with a Sarod, 1968/oil
Hamilton, Canada: Laurence Bigelow/Sundown, 1962/water-colour
Harrogate: Francoise Boudet/Portrait, 1967/oil
Hereford: William Gear/Gouache, 1950
Huddersfield: Mark Lancaster/William Wilkins/oil
Hull: David Hall/Throwaway Too, 1965/sculpture
Hull University: Jacob Epstein/pencil drawing
Ipswich: Roger Hilton/March 1955/oil
Kettering: Martin Lubner/Rowers/oil
Kimberley, South Africa: Bridget Riley/Two screen-prints on plexi-glass
Kendal: John Selway/The Rock. No 2, Low Tide, 1962/gouache/fabric
London, Canada: Patrick Heron/Silhouettes in Ceruleam/gouache
Leamington Spa: William Chattaway/Three Quinces, 1962/pencil
Leeds: Paul Huxley/Untitled, 1965/oil
Leicester: Norman Adams/Rainbow Painting 4, 1966/oil
Leicester Education Authority: Winston Branch/La Ju Ju / oil
Lincoln: T. P. Flanagan/Sand Dunes/oil
Liverpool: John Walker/Drawing 1969
Luton: Brendan Neiland/Boring, 1972/gouache and collage
Maidstone: Elinor Bellingham-Smith/Three small studies of fires/oil
Manchester City Art Gallery: Patrick Caulfieid/lnside a Weekend Cabin/oil
Manchester University, Whitworth Art Gallery: Peter Lanyon/Nude, 1954/water-colour
Manchester, Rutherston Loan: Bernard Cohen/Untitled Drawing, 1964
Melbourne: Adolphe Gottlieb/Drawing, 1965
Merthyr Tydfil: fan Lawrenson/Cyclists/oil
Middlesbrough: William Gear/Untitled, 1959/gouache
Newark: Bridget Riley/Two screen-prints on plexi-glass
Newcastle, Laing Art Gallery: Jules de Goede/Outer Space, 1969/oil
Newcastle, Laing Art Gallery Friends: Phillip Sutton/View from Falmouth/oil
Newcastle University, Hatton Gallery: Patrick Heron/Red Still Life, 1954/oil
Newport: Bernard Cohen/Two screen-prints, nos 2 and 4, 1985
Northampton: Henry Inlander/St Remy 1966/oil
Norwich: Patrick Heron/Blue and Brown going across, 1967/gouache
Nottingham: John Hoyland/Untitled gouache, 1967
Oldham: John Carter/Scatoia, 1966/Scuipture
Ottawa, Canada: Barry Flanagan/Rope 8. 1 968/SER/1 969
Barry Fianagan/”Grass” No 3/silkscreen 3/3
Oxford, Ashmolean Museum: Bill Jacklin/The Harvest. 1971 /pen
Bill Jacklin/Gfeaners Three, 1969/pen
Perth, Australia: Robert Medley/Untitled. 1969/acryiic
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: Alfred Wailis/”Ship off the C o a s f / o ii
Plymouth: Alfred Wa!lis/”Two Masted Schooner”/oil
Portsmouth: Rory McEwen/Glass sculpture
Preston: Michael Vaughan/Blue Cross and Grey Block, 1971/oil
Reading: Peter Kinley/Reclining Nude, 1957/oil
Rochdale: Bryan Wynter/Drawing, 1968
Rotherham: Edward Giobbi/Landscape, 1986/oil
Rugby: Craigie Aitchison/Head of Girl/oil
Rye: Robert Adams/Circular Form and Bar, 1962/Bronzed Steel
Salford: Guy Warren/Flag Day. 1968/oil
Salford University: John Wolseley/Maltese Landscape/oil
Scunthorpe: B. De Barros/Landscape/gouache
Sheffield: John Hoyland/12.1.1969/oil
Southampton: Patrick Heron/Green and Black/oil
Southend: Neil Lygo Baker/Landscape/oil
Bernard Cohen/Screen-print, No 3, 1965
Southwark: David Hockney/Six Stories from Brothers Grimm, 1969/
Bound Book—Edition c 53/100
Stalybridge: Adrian Stokes/Olive Terraces/oil
Stoke on Trent: Jack Simcock/Cottage and Head/oil
Sunderland: Terry Frost/Suspended Forms, 1967/oil
Swansea: Michael Ginsborg/Pinkert, 1970/oil
Swindon: Roger Hilton/November, 1955/oil
Tate Gallery: Terry Frost/Green and Black 1951 / oil
Torquay: Antonio Freiles/Colloquy/oil
Joseph Duncan/Coloured drawing, 1961
Victoria and Albert Museum: Peter Blake/Tattoed Lady. 1958/
inks and collage
Victoria and Albert Museum, Circulation Department: Barry Flanagan/
Sand Muslin. 2 1966/SER/68
Wigan: Margo Maeckelberghe/Falll Tide, 1971/oil
Wolverhampton: Carlene Brady/Untitled. 1968/oil
Worksop: Alan Wood/Kirkstall/gouache

To download the Contemporary Art Society Report 1971-72 (pdf) click here


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