DERBYSHIRE.- A new exhibition of modern British masterpieces, many unseen in public for decades, has opened at Chatsworth today, 19 March 2012.
Frank and Cherryl Cohen at Chatsworth runs until 10 June and is drawn from their private collection, described by curator Robert Upstone as one of the finest and most definitive private collections of modern British art. Internationally known as major collectors of contemporary art, Frank and Cherryl Cohens collection of modern British paintings has never before been exhibited publicly.
More than 40 works from artists such as LS Lowry, Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff, William Roberts, William Scott, and Paula Rego as well as sculptures by Kenneth Armitage, William Turnbull, Eduardo Paolozzi and Reg Butler are on display with key works including:
Matthew Arnold Bracy Smith: Connie Martin, 1915, last exhibited 1960 Matthew Smith was a key member of the British avant-garde. His picture of Connie Martin subverts traditional stereotypes of portraiture by adopting the bright, pure colours of European Expressionism - highly unusual in Britain at the time.
Edward Burra: Striptease, Harlem c.1934, last exhibited 1985 one of the most distinctive of 20C British artists, Burra had a totally unique vision of everyday life and here he presents the gritty and the magical side-by-side in character studies drawn from his time in Harlem, New York in the 1930s.
Stanley Spencer: Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta: Conversation between Punts, 1955, last exhibited 1998 one of the major figures of 20C British Art and a key work from later in Spencers career, Cookham Regatta brings Christ into the modern world and is rooted in the artists vision of the spirituality of English rural/village life.
William Scott: Upright Abstract, 1957 Scott developed his style from figurative still lives into ever greater abstraction and this is one of his finest paintings, using minimal colouring and expressive modulation of the paint to render an abstract image of objects on a table top.
Paintings were selected by Frank and Cherryl Cohen in conjunction with curator Robert Upstone and include other rarely seen works such as William Roberts Primrose Hill, last exhibited in 1931, while L.S Lowrys Father and Two Sons and Walter Sickerts The New Bedford have not been seen in public for more than a decade.
A selection of prints by Jorge Lewinski (1921-2008), is being shown to complement the exhibition. Photographic portraits of artists represented in the Cohens collection include Eduardo Paolozzi, L.S. Lowry and Patrick Heron. The Lewinski Archive was acquired by his pupil, Lord Burlington, in 2002 and is now held at Chatsworth.
The first modern British painting acquired by the Cohens was My Family by LS Lowry, bought in the early 70s. The Cohens share a passion for modern British art with the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and having met at many exhibitions over the years the Duke suggested a display of their private collection at Chatsworth.
Frank Cohen said: Cherryl and I have spent some 40 years putting together our Modern British Collection so its very personal to us. We wanted a setting that would match the quality of the paintings the New Gallery at Chatsworth is a perfect fit.
Exhibition curator Robert Upstone was previously curator of Modern British Art at Tate Britain and is a Director of The Fine Art Society. Booker prize-winning author Howard Jacobson has written the introductory essay for the exhibition catalogue.
Matthew Hirst, Head of Art and Collections at Chatsworth said: Frank and Cherryl Cohen at Chatsworth is the first in a new programme of loan exhibitions that will give our visitors the chance to enjoy a wide ranging artistic offer alongside our permanent collections. We hope to stage at least one such exhibition every year.
Chatsworth has a long association with 20th-century art and the Devonshire Collection includes important works by artists such as Lucian Freud, David Hockney, John Hoyland, Michael Andrews, Allen Jones and Paula Rego. Works from the contemporary art collection are on permanent, rotating display, particularly in the North Sketch gallery at Chatsworth while other works are loaned for exhibitions around the world.
Entry to Frank and Cherryl Cohen at Chatsworth is included in the price of a standard House and Garden ticket.