The first large-scale exhibition to be held at the Tate Gallery after the restoration in 1946 of the first six galleries of the seriously bomb-damaged building was American Painting from the eighteenth century to the present day.
This notable exhibition, assembled by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, gave the British public its first opportunity of seeing something like the full range of American painting, and of seeing with the fine American-owned paintings by West, Copley, Stuart and Whistler the British examples.
In this exhibition, however, although it included a number of works by contemporary artists, no attempt was made to cover the whole modern field.
These were, however, sufficient to arouse widespread interest and the hope that the opportunity would occur to show a more fully representative collection of modern American painting. Now that such an opportunity has presented itself, the Tate Gallery and the Arts Council are happy to welcome the first big exhibition devoted entirely to modern painting, sculpture and prints from the United States to come to Britain, an exhibition drawn almost entirely from works in the collection of that dynamic and adventurous institution, the Museum of Modem Art, New York.