Press Release

Background Information on Works acquired from Serving Artist Trustees

Background Information on Works acquired from Serving Artist Trustees: Press related to past news.

Tate has a statutory obligation to collect the work of living artists and since 1955 has been required to have at least three artists on its Board. Many of these have been internationally recognised artists, including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Victor Pasmore and Anthony Caro. Their contribution to the development of Tate has been inestimable.

From the sixties to the eighties purchases of work by serving trustees occurred regularly with purchases being made from amongst others Ceri Richards, Roland Penrose, Adrian Stokes, John Piper, Howard Hodgkin and Patrick Heron. In the late eighties the Director and Chairman agreed that the practice of purchasing works by serving trustees should be limited only to ‘special circumstances’. Over the last 10 years, Tate has acquired a number of works from serving artist trustees and on each occasion the acquisition has been fully published in Tate Report as a matter of public record.


Michael Craig-Martin (Trustee 1989-1999 - renewed in 1994)
Knowing (1996)
Purchased 1997 at a cost of £20,000

Craig-Martin served as a trustee for an unusually long period and trustees felt that a major development in his work ought to be represented in the national Collection, especially as the most recent work in the Collection dated from seventeen years earlier

Bill Woodrow (Trustee1996-2001)
Wilson’s Phalarope (1994) and Untitled (1995)
Purchased 1997 at a total cost of £20,000 (£10,000 for each work)

The two drawings had been under consideration since his exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre in September 1995 and agreement to purchase was made in principle well before Woodrow was appointed to the Board in July 1996. However, following this commitment the works were lent by the artist to a travelling exhibition. In consequence, the formal acquisition only took place at the Board in March 1997

Peter Doig (Trustee 1995-2000)
Echo Lake (2000)
Presented by the trustees in 2002, in honour of Sir Dennis and Lady Stevenson to mark his period as Chairman 1989-98. The acquisition of this major new painting, at a cost of £19,600 was made using funds given by the trustees themselves

Gillian Wearing (Trustee 2000-2005)
Theresa and series 1998 and Signs series 1992-3.
Purchased 2000 at a total cost of £53,500

These two series of photographic works had been under consideration since Gillian Wearing’s exhibition at Interim Art in December 1998, well before the artist was appointed to the Board. The purchase was confirmed in November 1999 and reported to the Board in March 2000, which was also her first Board meeting

Chris Ofili (Trustee 2000-2005)
The Upper Room (1998-2002)
Purchased 2004 at a cost of £600,000 with support from Members, the NACF and a group of donors

The group of 13 paintings is clearly the most important work of Ofili’s career and would otherwise have been broken up or sold abroad


Christopher Le Brun (Trustee 1990-1995)
50 Etchings 1990
Presented by the artist and Charles Booth Clibborn in 1991

Richard Deacon (Trustee 1991-1996)
This, That and the Other 1985
Presented by Charles Saatchi in 1992

Bill Woodrow (Trustee 1996-2001)
Untitled 1992, a drawing, was presented by the artist in 1997

Peter Doig (Trustee 1995-2000)

Ten Etchings 1996.
Presented by the artist and Charles Booth Clibborn in 1997

Grasshopper 1997. Ten etchings
Presented by the artist and Charles Booth Clibborn in 1998

Blizzard ‘77 1997. Eight acquatints
Presented by the artist, Editions Salzau Kiel and Contemporary Fine Arts Berlin in 1998

Julian Opie (Trustee 2001- )
Escaped Animals (2002)
Presented by Baltic, Gateshead in January 2003


In 2004 a number of artists made pledges of major works to the Collection Campaign. Of these several were former trustees and Chris Ofili and Julian Opie, both serving trustees, made pledges of future gifts to the Collection that were warmly welcomed by trustees as part of the campaign to strengthen the Collection. In common with other pledges, these generous offers will be taken up when suitable works are available