Record numbers join in 2011!

  • 3 January 2012

We've had some great news to see the New Year in with … 18,000 new members have joined the Art Fund during 2011 which is an increase of 15%. Our almost 90,000 members have helped us place £18.5 million worth of art in UK museum collections.

Marcantonio Bassetti's The Dead Christ supported by the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene © Fitzwilliam Museum

Marcantonio Bassetti's The Dead Christ supported by the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene

We've had some great news to see the New Year in with - 18,000 new members have joined the Art Fund during 2011 which is an increase of 15%. Our almost 90,000 members have helped us place £18.5 million worth of art in UK museum collections.

Stephen Deuchar the Director of the Art Fund observed, “At a time when Britain’s museums are facing cuts of at least 15%, our success with the National Art Pass in bringing a 15% growth in membership this year has shown that the public’s appetite for great art remains undiminished"

During 2011 we committed over £4.4 million to support the acquisition of almost 150 works of art by museums and galleries in the UK, here are some of our highlights from the past year:

Marcantonio Bassetti’s The Dead Christ, Fitzwilliam Museum

This gloomily haunting work is an extremely rare intact example of Veronese oil on slate painting. Its gleaming surface and highly unusual composition together made it one of the most extraordinary Baroque paintings to become available in years.

The Nimrud Ivories, British Museum

Excavated in the 1940s and 1950s by Agatha Christie’s archaeologist husband Sir Max Mallowan, this collection of almost 1,000 exquisite carved ivories and figures dating from the 9th to 7th centuries BC are essential to the study of Assyrian civilization.

The Frome Hoard, Museum of Somerset

This is the largest hoard of Roman coins ever to have been found in a single container. It is also the second largest Roman coin hoard ever found, with 52,503 coins weighing 160kg.

Edward Ardizzone’s illustrations for Graham Greene’s The Little Train, Seven Stories

This complete suite of watercolour illustrations by one of Britain’s best-loved illustrators was created for one of only four picture books for children written by Graham Greene, and was acquired by the nation’s museum for children’s stories, based in Newcastle

Alex Katz’s Anna Wintour, National Portrait Gallery

Perhaps the last great pop artist working today, Alex Katz has been at the very forefront of painting since he began exhibiting in the 1950s. This 2009 portrait of American Vogue’s famously formidable Editor-in-Chief captures both the seriousness of the sitter, and a softer side that is less associated Wintour. The image is currently the bestselling postcard produced by the National Gallery.

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