17 December 2007
Sir Norman Reid (1915 – 2007)
Nicholas Serota said:
Norman Reid moved Tate into the modern world. In the late sixties, under his lead, the Gallery began a programme of immensely popular and influential exhibitions, including Warhol, Lichtenstein, Moore and Nicholson. He made important acquisitions of works by Picasso (The Three Dancers) and Giacometti (a group of sculptures and paintings) and as a result of his friendship with artists the Collection was enriched by gifts from amongst others, Moore, Nicholson and Hepworth. It was his long friendship with Rothko that brought the Seagram murals to London where they now form one of the high points of Tate Modern.
Norman Reid was Director of the Tate Gallery from 1964 to 1979. He joined the Tate staff on being demobbed from the army in 1946, and became John Rothenstein’s right-hand man, eventually taking over as Director when Rothenstein retired. A much needed expansion of the Gallery, the ‘North East Quadrant’ opened in 1979, vastly increasing the Tate’s exhibition space. Reid also strengthened the Collection, particularly in the area of early twentieth-century European art, acquiring outstanding works by artists including Brancusi, Mondrian, and Dali. He took a special interest in developing the Conservation Department at the Gallery and also made the first moves towards raising money from the private sector in organising the successful campaign to acquire The Haymakers and The Reapers by George Stubbs in 1977.