A Hayward Gallery Touring / British Museum Partnership UK exhibition.
Matisse to Freud: A Critic's Choice is an exhibition drawn from the art collection of late Alexander Walker (1930 - 2003), which was bequeathed to the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum in 2003. Walker, one of London's most highly regarded film critics, amassed an outstanding collection of over 200 works on paper by some of the best known artists of the twentieth century.
The Alexander Walker bequest demonstrates one man's dedication to modern British and North American art. Lucien Freud, David Hockney and Bridget Riley stand alongside Chuck Close, Jasper Johns and Philip Guston. Many of the most famous movements of the twentieth century are represented: the School of Paris, (Picasso, Matisse, Miro) the English avant-garde (David Bloomberg and Edward Wadsworth) as well as 1960s figuration, geometric, abstraction, minimalism and photo-realism.
For Walker, collecting art was like film-making. 'The first response is emotional/aesthetic. The end result is sometimes a revelation of oneself and one's tastes, which shows an intention that wasn't conscious at the time.' He found collecting 'difficult pictures' challenging and life-changing.
Matisse to Freud consists of approximately sixty works including drawings, aquatints, etchings, lithographs, screenprints and woodcuts. It is selected by Stephen Coppel, Curator of Modern prints and drawings at the British Museum, where it was first shown to great critcal acclaim. Alexander Walker's acquistions towards the end of his life were influenced by the contemporary artists whose work he encountered in the Print Room of the British Museum.
This exhibition toured to the following venues:
21 Oct – 18 Mar 2006
Usher Gallery, Lincoln
27 Jan – 18 Mar 2007
New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester
24 Mar – 13 May 2007
Harewood House Trust, Harewood, Yorkshire
21 Jul – 2 Sep 2007
Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead
Top image: Chuck Close, Phil spitbite, 1995. Spitbite aquatint with etching. © Chuck Close. Courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York. Reproduced courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.
Bottom image: Lucian Freud, Self-portrait: Reflection, 1996. Etching with heavy plate tone. © the artist 2006. Reproduced courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.