The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) and Tate have formed an alliance in an attempt to jointly acquire the Anthony d’Offay Collection. The new initiative is designed to enhance the national collection of contemporary art for the benefit of young audiences across the UK.
Anthony d’Offay, whose London galleries played a key role in the promotion and understanding of 20th century art in the UK over a period of more than 30 years, has assembled one of the most important private collections of post-war modern and contemporary art in Europe.In an extremely generous gesture, he has offered his Collection to the two institutions on a part gift, part sale basis.
It was announced last year that Mr d’Offay was in discussion with a number of international museums and in particular with NGS about the future of his Collection. A joint acquisition by Tate and NGS would ensure that the entire collection remains in this country. The acquisition and partnership would dramatically improve the representation of modern and contemporary art in Edinburgh and London, and the Collection, would also be made available to other museums and galleries across the UK. The two institutions and Mr d’Offay particularly wish to use the Collection to encourage and inspire younger audiences to develop an interest in contemporary art.
The collection comprises major groups of works by individual artists, among them Diane Arbus, Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Vija Celmins, Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Jannis Kounellis, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ron Mueck, Bruce Nauman, Gerhard Richter, Ed Ruscha, Robert Therrien, Bill Viola, Andy Warhol and Lawrence Weiner.
The guiding principle behind the collection is the concept of individual rooms devoted to particular artists. Many of the works were conceived as specific installations by the artists themselves and have been assembled so that the work of important post-war artists can be seen and appreciated in depth.
Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said: ‘This is an extraordinarily generous gesture by Anthony d’Offay. The acquisition of the d’Offay Collection would transform the representation of recent art in the national collections and offer the possibility of displays of contemporary art across the country.’
John Leighton, Director-General, NGS said: ‘Scotland is already enormously indebted to Anthony d’Offay for the generous gift of works of art in the past for our collections and for initiating major exhibitions here, including the highly successful Ron Mueck show this summer. Thanks to Mr d’Offay’s continuing generosity we now have an opportunity with Tate to bring great modern art to a wide audience across Scotland and the rest of the UK.’
Details about how the new partnership would work in practice are still under discussion but it is envisaged that the d’Offay collection together with works from the collections in Edinburgh and London would form a single resource that would be made available to the public through loans and exhibitions in venues across Scotland and the rest of Britain.
The NGS and Tate are still in discussion with Mr d’Offay about the details of this plan and no further details are being made public at this stage.