13 November 2004 – 3 April 2005
Kenneth E Tyler is one of the most celebrated and distinguished American printmakers and publishers with a career spanning the last four decades. He enjoys world renown for the technical expertise he has brought to the profession, accepting no boundaries in either technique or materials. This year Tyler has made a gift to Tate of over 400 prints created during the second half of his career in collaboration with many of the most celebrated artists internationally. This is the largest gift to the Collection since the print collection was established in the mid 1970s. Tate is the only European museum to hold a significant group of prints published by Ken Tyler and the Gallery was selected as a recipient of this major gift in honour of Pat Gilmour – the print specialist who was the first Curator of Prints at Tate. The works are being split between two displays to run concurrently at Tate Liverpool and Tate Modern.
There are many highlights among the spectacular prints Tyler has included in the donation; most were made after 1980 and the most recent were published in 2001. The focus of the display is on internationally recognised figures who worked at his workshop such as Frank Stella, James Rosenquist and Roy Lichtenstein. The range of Tyler’s activities will be represented by examples of prints by lesser known printmakers with a more regional or national reputation, including Steven Sorman, Terrence La Noue, John Newman and Ed Baynard. Many of them used innovative techniques and a wide variety of paper in their printmaking.
Established artists evolved a distinctive language in their prints created in collaboration with Tyler, and many are both technical and aesthetic masterpieces. Large, colourful near-abstractions by Frank Stella and James Rosenquist form the centrepiece of the display. Many of these prints are three to four metres in height; the largest Rosenquist is twelve metres long. To complement this group are works by artists working in a more gesturally abstract mode, rooted in the experience of the natural world, including works by Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler and Robert Motherwell. These artists worked with Tyler towards the latter part of his career when he became very interested in paper making. There will also be significant works by other distinguished artists, such as John Walker, Malcolm Morley, David Salle and Donald Sultan.