Image: Rose Wylie, Palm Tree and Camel (Queen of Sheba) 2012. Courtesy of the artist and UNION Gallery, London
Rose Wylie (born 1934) makes large-scale paintings inspired by a wide range of visual culture. Her subject matter ranges from contemporary Egyptian Hajj wall paintings and Persian miniatures to films, news stories, celebrity gossip and her observation of daily life.
Wylie produces bold and loosely-painted canvases that are often made up of multiple panels. Her compositions and repeated motifs are informed by the cut-out techniques of collage and the framing devices of film, cartoon strips and Renaissance predella panels. Often working from memory, she distils her subjects into succinct observations, using text to give additional emphasis to her recollections.
Alongside images of footballer John Terry, the Queen of Sheba and Marilyn Monroe, Wylie paints everyday events such as a girl eating a chocolate biscuit. This display also includes a work that refers to the artist Mark Wallinger’s film Sleeper 2004-5 where he roamed Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie dressed as a bear, and paintings from her ongoing ‘Film Notes’ series. These pay homage to film directors admired by Wylie including Werner Herzog, Carlos Reygadas and Quentin Tarantino.
In weaving together imagery from different sources with elements personal to the artist, Wylie’s paintings offer a direct and wry commentary on contemporary culture.
BP British Art Displays
The BP British Art Displays are presented in several ways. Large areas are devoted to the presentation of historic, twentieth century and contemporary British art. Alongside these are special focus displays which look at individual artists or particular aspects of British art.
New Henry Moore rooms
The first permanent galleries in London dedicated to the work of Henry Moore open at Tate Britain on 14 May 2013. Two gallery spaces present around 30 works and focus on the story behind the Henry Moore collection at Tate and his large public commissions. The display includes film, photographs, maquettes, drawings and large-scale sculptures such as Recumbent Figure, 1938, the first to enter Tate’s collection in 1939.
The opening of the Henry Moore galleries coincides with the new chronological hang of Tate Britain’s collection displays. The Moore room sits alongside the new BP walk through British Art, and celebrates one of the most significant British artists of the 20th century. It is one of three displays offset by the chronological circuit that present a new focus on the legacy of three artists who have a special historic relationship with Tate Britain – J.M.W. Turner, William Blake and Henry Moore.
The first room reveals the history of Moore’s relationship with Tate and how the collection of his work was formed. Moore built a close relationship with the Gallery: he served as a Trustee for two terms from 1941-1956, and two large-scale retrospective exhibitions of his work were held in 1951 and 1968. The most recent show in 2010 at Tate Britain re-affirmed Moore’s status as one of the leading artists of the twentieth century.
Henry Moore’s friends and supporters were pivotal in shaping Tate’s collection of Moore’s work. Moore also donated sets of prints to the gallery in 1976 and his most significant act of generosity was the presentation of 36 sculptures in 1978. Today the Tate collection owns over 600 works ranging in date from 1921 to 1984, and including drawings, prints, and sculptures in wood, stone and metal.
The second room looks at a selection of Moore’s large public commissions and gives a fascinating insight into the process he used to make them. In the 1950s and 1960s, Moore worked almost exclusively in plaster to be cast in bronze and around themes of the body, landscape and nature. He saw the countryside as the best setting for his sculptures and became known for his large-scale works that were made for locations as diverse as new housing estates in London, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and Dallas City Hall. The major works in this new display, including Reclining Figure 1951, and Draped Seated Figure 1957–8, are exhibited alongside drawings and maquettes, as well as film and photographs of the artist at work in his studio.
BP Walk through British Art
A new Tate Britain will be unveiled during 2013. In May, a new chronological presentation of the world’s greatest collection of British art opens, and in November, the building project by Caruso St John Architects will be completed.
From 14 May, visitors can experience the national collection of British art in a continuous chronological display – a walk through time from the 1500s to the present day. BP Walk through British Art will comprise around 500 artworks over a newly configured sequence of over 20 galleries. The displays include works by major artists such as Francis Bacon, John Constable, William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough, George Stubbs, J.M.W. Turner, Gwen John, Stanley Spencer, L.S. Lowry, John Everett Millais, Bridget Riley, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, and Rachel Whiteread.
This display offers an extensive survey of art in Britain over the past 500 years. As it unfolds room by room, visitors will encounter well known favourites from The Cholmondeley Ladies c.1600–10, Sir Joshua Reynolds’s Colonel Acland and Lord Sydney: The Archers 1769 and Lucian Freud’s Girl with a Kitten 1947, to works made more recently such as Jake and Dinos Chapman’s The Chapman Family Collection 2002 and Chris Ofili’s No Woman, No Cry 1998 and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s 10pm Saturday 2012. These will be interspersed with less familiar artists including Mary Beale (1633–1699), George Dawe (1781–1829), Nathaniel Hone (1831–1917), Mary Sargent Florence (1857–1954), Evelyn Dunbar (1906–1960) and Jann Haworth (born 1942).
The new chronological approach offers a fresh perspective highlighting surprising juxtapositions of art created within a few years of each other but rarely associated. An early Gainsborough landscape hangs side by side with Hogarth’s satires. The frolicking female nudes of Alma Tadema’s A Favourite Custom 1909, the epitome of Victorian revivalism, are seen next to Walter Sickert’s gritty modernist icon La Hollandaise 1906. Often separated when hung by movement or genre, the chronological presentation allows a more neutral view of the range of art being produced at any one historical moment to emerge.
May 2013 will also mark the launch at Tate Britain of new permanent galleries devoted to two of the greatest figures in British art: William Blake and Henry Moore. Each of these artists, along with J.M.W. Turner, have a special historic relationship with Tate Britain. The new galleries aim to tell these stories. The Clore galleries continue to be dedicated to J.M.W. Turner with an additional focus on Constable.
For the first time, a substantial display of Henry Moore’s work has a permanent presence in London. These new dedicated Moore galleries open with displays which focus on the monumental public commissions of one of Britain’s most important 20th-century artists and on his relationship with Tate. Highlights will include dramatic large-scale pieces such as Recumbent Figure 1938, and Reclining Figure: Festival 1951 shown alongside maquettes and drawings.
Celebrating the life and legacy of the visionary artist William Blake (1757–1827), the new permanent dedicated Blake room will showcase a changing selection of works from the Tate’s unparalleled collection of paintings, watercolours and drawings including famous works such as The Ghost of a Flea c.1819–20 and Newton 1795/c.1805. To mark the launch, new research on landscapes in Blake will form a temporary special display on an overlooked aspect of his art.
Alongside the chronological circuit around the outer perimeter of the galleries, a new series of seasonal BP Spotlight collection displays form the inner core of the collection displays. These displays, offer more depth on particular artworks, artists or themes. Highlights of this new and regularly changing programme include a room exploring Constable’s The Cornfield and another on the impact of painting on early cinema. Further displays include The Image of the British School, which showcases some of theearliest acquisitions from Tate’s collection, and one on the role of Basic Design in art education. There are also BP Spotlights on recent artists including Keith Arnatt, Rose Wylie and an ARTIST ROOMS: Douglas Gordon display.
The final strand of the new displays are temporary exhibitions which offer a transhistorical approach to Tate’s collection of British art. The current BP Exhibition is Looking at the View, which explores the ways British artists have framed the view in their work.
New Blake room
A new gallery dedicated to the art of William Blake (1757-1827) opens at Tate Britain on 14 May 2013. The only permanent display in the world showing Blake’s works in depth, it features over 40 of his finest watercolours, paintings and prints, including The Ghost of a Flea c.1819-20, The Spiritual Form of Nelson Guiding Leviathan c.1805-09and Newton 1795/c.1805.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the first ever exhibition of Blake’s work in a public gallery at Tate in 1913 and one which established his modern reputation. On the anniversary of this pivotal moment, the new room at Tate Britain will once again provide a showcase for a changing selection of works from the collection and will show his works in depth.
To mark the opening of this new gallery, a temporary display alongside the Blake room showcases new research on Blake and landscape as an overlooked aspect of Blake’s art. Although he is known as an artist primarily interested in the figure and as denouncer of nature, it repositions Blake within the development of landscape painting. It includes some rare outdoor landscape sketches alongside the striking landscape imagery so prominent in some of the artist’s most familiar and important art works. Offering an alternative perspective on these much-loved works, it also includes Blake’s illustrations to Virgil, the Book of Job and Dante’s Inferno.
William Blake is admired today as one of Britain’s greatest artists and poets but was little appreciated in his lifetime. Trained as an engraver in his native London, he was employed by commercial publishers to undertake mundane engraving work. But he developed radical new approaches to painting and printmaking to explore highly personal interpretations of Christian themes. These challenged the political, sexual and social values of the establishment and have inspired generations of artists, musicians and poets.
Blake has long been central to the historic collection of British art at Tate Britain. A number of works originally acquired by the National Gallery were transferred to the Tate in the early twentieth century. The gift and bequest of more than twenty of Blake’s works by the writer and artist W Graham Robertson (1866-1948) together with many other individual purchases and gifts means that the Tate now holds one of the world’s most important collections of Blake, with unrivalled representations of his ‘Large Colour Prints’, biblical watercolours and tempera paintings.
The opening coincides with the new chronological hang of Tate Britain’s collection displays. The Blake room sits alongside the new BP Walk through British Art, and celebrates the range and originality of this unique and inspirational artist. It is one of three displays that present a new focus on the legacies of Turner, Blake and Moore.
Hours: Open daily 10.00–18.00