Following extensive ongoing research to enhance the representation of women artists across British art history, Tate has acquired a rare painting, Portrait of an Unknown Lady 1650-5 by Joan Carlile, thought to be the first woman in Britain to work as a professional portrait painter in oil. The portrait is one of only a small number of surviving works known to be by the artist. This new acquisition is the earliest work by a woman artist to enter the collection.
The work is one of a group of major acquisitions of British art for Tate’s collection announced today.
An exceptional work of early British Impressionism by William Stott of Oldham, Le Passeur (The Ferry) 1882 has been acquired with funds provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Art Fund and The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation. Stott was a central figure in the early phase of British Impressionism and this work is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of his career. The painting will be displayed at Tate Britain in April 2017 and will then tour to three UK-partner galleries: Gallery Oldham, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery, thanks to funding from the HLF and Art Fund.
Sir Joshua Reynolds’s glamorous, swaggering full-length portrait Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle 1769has been acquired thanks to the acceptance in lieu scheme administered by Arts Council England and has transformed Tate’s holdings of this artist.
British artist Mark Wallinger has generously gifted State Britain 2007 to Tate. The work was created for the Tate Britain Commission series supported by Sotheby’s. It is one of the most politically charged works of recent years and shows a reconstruction of the Parliament Square peace campaign by the late Brian Haw.
Tate has also acquired another work originally devised in response to the Duveen galleries at Tate Britain, War Damaged Musical Instruments 2015 by Turner Prize winner Susan Philipsz, shown last year as part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.
Tate has also acquired an outstanding watercolour by James Tissot, who worked in Britain, The Wounded Soldier 1870, depicting a young man wounded in the Franco Prussian war. This work will be on display in Tate Britain’s The EY Exhibition: Impressionists in London in autumn 2017 alongside works by other French artists who sought refuge in London during and after the conflict.
Derek Jarman’s Blue 1993 joins Tate’s growing collection of artists’ film. The work, which was completed only a few months before this death, will be shown in spring 2017 to coincide with the Queer British Art exhibition at Tate Britain, which will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales.
Further modern and contemporary British acquisitions which have enhanced the collection this year include: one of Peter Lanyon’s most significant paintings, West Penwith 1949; two plaster reliefs by Eduardo Paolozzi from the estate of Eugene and Penelope Rosenberg; Helen Marten’s Guild of Pharmacists 2014; Bob and Roberta Smith’s Letter to Michael Gove 2015; and Antony Gormley’s large installation work The Model Room 2006-12 which comprises 89 sculptural models and twelve drawings.
In 2017, Tate Britain will stage major solo exhibitions for two of the UK’s most celebrated living artists. The most extensive exhibition of David Hockney’s work ever held will open in February 2017, spanning six decades of his career and bringing together iconic paintings with works never before seen in public. This will be followed in September 2017 by a mid-career retrospective of Rachel Whiteread, one of the most respected sculptors working today.
It was also announced today that Cerith Wyn Evans will undertake the Tate Britain Commission 2017 for the Duveen galleries.
Director of Tate Britain, Alex Farquharson said: “We have the greatest collection of British art in the world and it gets better every year. As our latest acquisitions and exhibitions reveal we can look at the most powerful, topical and relevant issues in society from both historic and contemporary perspectives. Tate Britain is where we can tell an unending story of British art both by giving British artists a platform on the world stage and by showing how international artists have played their part in our own art history.”
Image credit: Joan Carlile - Portrait of an Unknown Lady, 1650-5