Painting coup for Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

  • 14 March 2008

In a coup for the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, a painting entitled 'Still Life with Aspidistra' (1926) by Mark Gertler goes on display on Saturday, 15 March. The gallery was given the work last year by The Art Fund, who had received it under the will of Maurice Farquharson.

This important modern British painting will be displayed as part of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s upcoming exhibition ‘From Sickert to Gertler: Modern British Art from Boxted House.’


Farquharson, who was Secretary of the BBC (1957-1963) died aged 94 in 1993, and under his will left three important paintings to The Art Fund on the condition that his widow Nancy, who died last year, would be able to continue to enjoy them for her lifetime.  Before he died Farquharson, whose family was originally from Scotland, in discussions with The Art Fund, chose to donate ‘Still Life with Aspidistra’ to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s collection. 

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund said: “I’m delighted that The Art Fund has been able to present Gertler's ‘Still Life with Aspidistra’ to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, thanks to the generosity of the late Maurice Farquharson, a devoted supporter of The Art Fund.  It will make a highly appropriate addition to the gallery and is a reminder of the enormous importance of bequests in enhancing our public art collections.”

Simon Groom, Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, said: “Mark Gertler was a major figure in twentieth-century British painting, but until now we have had no works by him.  Thanks to The Art Fund we have been able to acquire this major piece which is a really important addition to the collection.”

Exhibiting the painting in connection with ‘From Sickert to Gertler: Modern British Art from Boxted House’ is of particular significance as the content of the exhibition comes from the collection of Bobby and Natalie Bevan who were friends both with Mark Gertler and Maurice Farquharson. The exhibition will celebrate the colourful character of Boxted House, its hosts, its guests and the works of art which filled its walls. It is held in memory of Natalie Bevan, who died in 2007.

Mark Gertler is considered one of the most talented and original British painters of the early 20th century. Although born into a poor Polish-Jewish family in London’s east end, Gertler displayed a precocious artistic talent, which gained him a place at the prestigious Slade School of Art, where he studied with Paul Nash and Stanley Spencer. Influenced by French Post-Impressionism, Gertler’s scenes of Jewish life, distinctive nudes and vivid still-lifes impressed critics and fellow painters alike.  His talent and good looks brought him into the Bloomsbury circle where he became involved with the painter Dora Carrington.

Maurice Farquharson’s bequest of three paintings to The Art Fund included another work by Mark Gertler.  Entitled ‘Flower Piece’ (1937) the painting was given to, and is currently on display at Southampton City Art Gallery.

-Ends-

Notes to editors:

The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections and campaigns widely on behalf of museums and their visitors.  It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members.  Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections.  In January 2007 The Art Fund successfully led the public appeal to save JMW Turner’s Blue Rigi for Tate, and in July 2007 was instrumental in putting together a unique funding package to ensure Dumfries House in Ayrshire was secured for the nation.  Independent of government, The Art Fund is uniquely placed to campaign on behalf of public collections across the UK.  Visit the charity’s website at www.artfund.org
 

‘From Sickert to Gertler: Modern British Art from Boxted House’ is at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art 15 March – 22 June 2008. Admission is free.
 

For further information about the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art please contact: National Galleries Press Office on 0131 624 6325/ 332/ 314 /247; pressoffice@nationalgalleries.org and www.nationalgalleries.org