Contemporary Art Society Report 1972/73

18 August 2015
Cover for the Contemporary Art Society Annual Report  1972/73
Cover for the Contemporary Art Society Annual Report 1972/73

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

Executive Committee
Peter Meyer Chairman
The Hon J D Sainsbury Vice Chairman
Nancy Balfour OBE Honorary Treasurer
Lord Croft Honorary Secretary
Bryan Robertson OBE
Alistair McAlpine
Alan Bowness
Joanna Drew
Alexander Dunbar
Carol Hogben
Caryl Hubbard
Max Gordon

Pauline Vogelpoel MBE Organising Secretary

Committee Report for the year ended 31 December 1972
During the year Sir Norman Reid and David Thompson retired from the Committee by rotation. Caryl Hubbard and Max Gordon were elected to the Committee. Sir Norman Reid having stood down for a year is eligible for re-election. Marina Vaszey was co-opted to the Committee and now comes up for formal adoption.

The principal activity of the Society is to acquire contemporary works of art for presentation to Public Art Galleries in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

The Society’s activities during the year resulted in a surplus of £3,492. The accumulated fund amounted to £7,583 at 31 December, 1972.

June 20 1973

Chairman’s Report
This year for the first time we are sending out the Annual Report before our Annual General Meeting. This means that we shall save the expense of a separate notice and also that the Report will appear much earlier. In the past the Chairman has reported verbally at the meeting on’the events of the previous twelve months, but my Statement in future will deal with the same calendar and financial year as the Accounts. On this occasion, therefore, I shall only refer to events between the AGM in June and the 31st December 1972.

The Treasurer will be reporting in detail on the effects of the new subscription rates for museums and members, but i must once again refer to the Government’s proposed museum charges. I reported last year that the reason for raising membership subscriptions was primarily to obtain exemption for members from the payment of entrance fees to museums. These fees were originally planned to start on 1st January 1972, but were later postponed until the autumn, when once again they had to be postponed in view of the Government’s freeze on prices. I understand that the idea has still not been abandoned, but, in view of the increasing costs of works of art and administrative expenses, we feel that the higher subscriptions are not only justified but essential.

During the second half of the year we were concerned about the impact of VAT on the Society. I had a long correspondence with the Chairman of HM Customs & Excise, who personally examined our case in detail and gave it the most sympathetic consideration,Ii pointed out that our members obtained no direct benefit from their subscriptions, with the exception of free entrance to museums when charges are eventually introduced, and also the occasional privilege of being able to buy prints at a discount. It was decided that in future we would abandon this last idea, which has not hitherto been particularly successful, and the Customs therefore agreed that members’ subscriptions would not be liable to VAT, except to the extent of £1 representing the cost of a museum season ticket, and then only from the time charges are introduced. On the other hand, museums clearly obtain tangible benefits from the gift of works of art and their subscriptions will be taxable from the 1st April 1973. We shall be charging museums this tax as an additional item on whatever their subscription happens to be and we are also having to charge it on tickets for parties and excursions. On the other hand we shall be able to recover VAT paid on our overheads and on the purchase of works of art from dealers and from artists who sell more than £5,000 worth of pictures in a year.

Last year I reported that I had made representations to the Chancellor and Lord Eccles, asking for exemption from estate duty and capital gains tax on gifts and bequests of works of art to the Society without limit as to the amount, I was unsuccessful in this, but as a charity we do still fall within the overall exemption of £50,000.

We were particularly pleased to receive from John Kasmin a group of fifteen paintings and two pieces of sculpture by young artists and are most grateful for this generous gift from one of London’s leading dealers. We are also grateful for gifts of a Stanley Spencer drawing from Mr H Ripszam; a Neil Williams painting from Mr Alan Power; paintings by Messenger, Keith Grant and Brian Robb from Mr Benn Levy and Miss Constance Cummings and a work by Krishen Khanna from Mr Anthony Lousada.

In conjunction with the Arts Council at the Hayward Gallery we continued our policy of holding evening parties there and had one in October for the exhibition of Islamic Carpets, We also started having dinners at the Tate Gallery after early evening viewings of important exhibitions – and very good dinners they are. The first one took place during the Charles I exhibition and was so popular that it had to be repeated. This formula gets over the problem of late evening parties at the Tate which have become prohibitive, due to the cost of overtime and insurance, quite apart from the fact that previews are now reserved for the Friends of the Tate.

Other successful parties were held in June for exhibitions at the Royal College of Art and the nearby Serpentine Gallery; also in June at the Whitechapel for Patrick Heron’s exhibition, which was preceded by a dinner party in honour of the artist at the Brasserie Benoit in the City; and in October, again at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, for the Arts Council’s 1940’s exhibition. We also had two special evening showings of the Tutankhamen exhibition in November.

In July we visited the West of England for the second time. The first afternoon was spent in Bristol at the City Art Gallery where we were able to see many of the works presented by the Society. This was followed by a wine party given by the Arnolfini Galiery in their remarkable warehouse. The following day we were fortunate in seeing Mr Jeremy Fry’s beautiful house in Bath with its fine collection and then the American Museum where a special lunch was arranged. In the afternoon we were given tea by Howard Hodgkin and his wife in their old farmhouse in Wiltshire, followed by drinks at Dick Smith’s house nearby.

In November fifty members spent the weekend in Yorkshire. They started at Leeds City Art Gallery, where they saw a special exhibition of works presented by the Society, and in the evening were entertained to drinks by Mr and Mrs Arnold Burton at their house in the country nearby. On Sunday they visited the potter, Geoff Doonan and went on to Farnley Hall, where Mr and Mrs Hawton Fawkes showed their fine collection of watercolours of the house by Turner. Mr and Mrs Ronnie Duncan then entertained them to drinks before lunch and took them round their interesting collection. Lunch was served in the Orangery at Harewood House, where a special tour was arranged, and in the afternoon Mr and Mrs Stanley Burton showed the party round their fine collection near Harrogate.

In October we paid our first visit to Switzerland. We were handsomely entertained and saw three superb collections in Zurich and another in Bern, We also saw major museums and art galleries in Zurich, Bern, Basle and Winterthur. This was a particularly successful trip, which we hope it will be possible to repeat.

I should like to express our gratitude to all the people i have mentioned for their generosity and the warm welcome which we received everywhere. I should also like to record our thanks to the Organising Secretary for her tireless enthusiasm in not only arranging all these visits and parties but personally going on them herself. I hear nothing but praise on all sides for the endless trouble which she takes.

During the year our buyers were Lord Croft and Mr Alan Bowness, who were allocated £6,000, an increase on the previous year which enabled them to make some interesting purchases. At this meeting Miss Joanna Drew and Mr Bryan Robertson retire from the Committee by rotation. Miss Drew’s experience at the Arts Council has been invaluable and it is thanks to her support that we have been able to hold our preview parties at the Hayward.

In Mr Robertson we lose one of the foremost champions of contemporary painting, who was frequently our host at the Whitechapel Gallery. During the year we co-opted Mrs Marina Vaizey to the Committee and she now comes up for formal election. Mrs Vaizey is the distinguished art critic of the Financial Times and has for long been an enthusiastic supporter of the Society, We are also proposing Sir Norman Reid for re-election to the Committee. Sir Norman needs no introduction from me. We have missed him considerably during his enforced absence from the Committee in the last year and we look forward to having him back with us again.

I am extremely sorry to have to report that since the end of the year the Hon John Sainsbury has had to resign as Vice-Chairman owing to pressure of other commitments, i am delighted that he has agreed to continue to serve on the Committee and am most grateful to him for his wholehearted support since I have been Chairman, I am very glad to announce that i have been able to persuade Mr Alistair McAlpine to take his place.

Honorary Treasurer’s Report
The first year of the higher subscriptions which were announced at the end of 1971 has brought an increase of £1,600 in income from this source when income tax recoverable on deeds of covenant is added in. During 1972 over 800 members including 220 new ones, paid £4 a year (or £3 under covenant and by bankers order). But at the end of the year there were still some 600 members who had either not amended their Bankers Orders or had not sent
their cheques and yet had not told us that they no longer wished to belong to the Society. Many of these have responded to reminders sent out during recent months but we cannot afford to keep on our books the names of
those who are not fully paid up. Some of those who are in arrears obviously appreciate the advantages of membership as they still apply for tickets for parties and other outings.

Art galleries and museums have shown themselves ready to pay the higher subscriptions promptly and we are especially grateful to those who have gone above the minimum — as we are to individual subscribers who have done the same. We are. also grateful to the art dealers, business corporations and charitable trusts which help us financially, although we wish there were more of them.

The sale of tickets for parties, visits and trips abroad brought in £400 more than in 1971, largely because of the Organising Secretary’s energy in arranging so many of these affairs. But the main reason for the increase of nearly £6,000 in income was the sale of the Gaudier Breszka casts and the Phillip King sculpture, both of which were explained by the Chairman in the annual report for 1971/1972. Together these non-recurring items added £4,300 to our revenue for 1972, which explains the year’s substantial surplus of nearly £3,500.

Since this unusual bonus arises from the sale of works of art, the money should be used for buying more such works for presentation to public collections, as this is the purpose for which the Society exists. Part of the sum has been invested as a reserve for future years but the extra revenue also encouraged your committee to give each of the two buyers for 1972, £3,000 to spend and to allow at least as much for the buyers for 1973.

Salaries and other expenses inevitably went up once again although the simplified form which has been given to this annual report means that it will cost less than the estimate in the 1972 accounts.

Buyer: Alan Bowness
W Barns Graham, Card Table 1967/89 (oil on hardboard)
Rita Donagh, Untitled drawing
Roger Hilton, Untitled, 1968 foil on canvas)
Roger Hilton, Lithograph 10/10, 1972
Gordon House, Quarter Arc 1985 (oil on resin panel)
Patrick Hughes, Drawing for Collected Works, part 2, 1972
Leon Kossoff, Children’s swimming pool, Friday evening, 1970 (oil on canvas)
Henry Mundy, Grid and Mesh, 1972 (acrylic on canvas)
John Murphy, Villefranche (oil on canvas)
Breon O’Casey, Still life (gouache)
Terence O’Mafley, Two untitled compositions (gouache)
Michael Perton, Square, circle and triangle 2 (oil on canvas)
Tom Phillips, Untitled 1964 (drawing)
John Walker, Untitled 1972 (drawing)

Buyer: Lord Croft
Garth Evans, Frill No 49 (Sculpture)
Patrick Heron, Ceruleum and scarlet, ultramarine with emerald and violet edges, February 1970. (Gouache)
Howard Hodgkin, Two screenprints
Margaret Mellis, Lilac Yellow 1970 (oil on canvas)
Henry Mundy, Study for painting 8, 1971 (drawing and coloured inks)
Jeremy Moon, Painting No 15, 1970
Ceri Richards, “Hark: I trumpet etc”, 1954 (water-colour, ink etc)
William Scott, Five Screenprints — Cups, Bowls and Bottles etc.
Colin Self, Contemporary Sculpture (coloured drawing)
lan Stephenson, Circumspect 2 spray study, 1964 (oil on paper with collage)

Bought jointly by Alan Bowness and Lord Croft
Keith Milow, Untitled 1972 (Resin)

Gifts to ths Society
From Mr John Kasmin: 17 works including paintings by Edward Avedisian, Bruce Tippett and John Howlin and sculpture by Robertson-Swan.
From Mr Alan Power: “Abstract 1964” (acrylics on canvas) by Neil Williams.
From Mr H Ripszam: Two water-colour sketches by Stanley Spencer and Ervin Bossanyi.
From Mr Anthony Lousada: “Figure composition” (oil on canvas) by Krishen Khanna.
From Mr Benn Levy and Miss Constance Cummings: A group of oil-paintings by A J Messenger, Brian Robb and Keith Grant.


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