Press Release

Major Print gift from Kenneth E Tyler goes on display at Tate

Major Print gift from Kenneth E Tyler goes on display at Tate: Press related to past Tate news.

Tate Modern  Level 3
22 November 2004 – 1 March 2005

A display of forty key works from the largest gift to Tate since the founding of the print collection in the mid 1970s will go on show at Tate Modern on 22 November 2004. The gift is from Kenneth E Tyler (born 1931), one of the most celebrated and distinguished American printmakers and publishers of recent times, and includes works by Anthony Caro, Frank Stella, James Rosenquist, Robert Motherwell, Roy Lichtenstein, Helen Frankenthaler, Steven Sorman, Terence Le Noue and John Newman.

In all, the gift comprises 460 prints by twenty-eight artists, fifteen of whom are represented in Tate Collection for the first time. Forty of these will be in the show at Tate Modern and forty will be shown at Tate Liverpool from 13 November - 3 April.

Highlights of the Tate Modern show will be Time Dust 1992 by the American Pop Artist, James Rosenquist, and Flirting with Stone 1990 by the Abstract Expressionist, Helen Frankenthaler. In her prints, Frankenthaler created delicate colour veils and watercolour effects similar to those found in her paintings and the gift contains the most important results of her collaboration with Tyler.

Ken Tyler is one of America’s most distinguished print publishers. He began printmaking in Chicago in the early 1960s and moved to Los Angeles in 1963 to study printing at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop. He became technical director in 1964-5 before leaving to found Gemini Ltd and subsequently Gemini GEL. Over the following decade Tyler worked with some of the most eminent artists of the period, including Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg. This culminated in a major exhibition Technics and Creativity: Gemini GEL at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1971. Three years later he moved to the east coast, founding the Tyler Workshop Ltd (1974), followed by Tyler Graphics Ltd (1975).

He retired from printmaking in 2000. Encouraged by Pat Gilmour, the first head of Tate’s print department, he offered Tate this substantial group of prints, made principally after 1980, to complement bodies of his work held outside Europe. Kenneth Tyler said:

One of my most important missions as a printer and publisher of fine art editions has been to make sure that great prints are seen and appreciated by the greatest number of people possible and, to that end, I have established collections of my workshop’s publications at major museums around the world. Tyler Graphics Ltd is proud to have donated these particular works to Tate Modern. We hope that these artworks will enhance and expand the print department’s existing collection.

The gift significantly extends Tate’s holdings of the work of artists such as Malcolm Morley, Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein and David Salle. There are also several major contributions by important artists, including paper reliefs by Anthony Caro and Saint Martin Landscape 1979, a highly unusual motif by Ellsworth Kelly of a nude collaged over a landscape. New to Tate Collection are well known figures Joan Mitchell and Michael Heizer, as well as artists with strong reputations in the print field in America who are less well-known in Europe, among them Ed Baynard and Hugh O’Donnell.

There will be a catalogue to accompany the display, Print Matters - The Kenneth E Tyler Gift, edited by the show’s curator, Sean Rainbird. The catalogue also contains essays by Pat Gilmour and commentaries by Helen Delaney and Kathryn Rattee.