A striking oil painting by one our most important post-war artists, Adrian Heath, will go on display at Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Victoria Art Gallery from 29 September.
‘Composition – Black, Pink, Yellow and Grey’ was painted in 1957, around the time that Heath started teaching at Bath Academy of Art, which he helped to establish as one of the most adventurous art schools in Britain.
This is the first oil painting by Heath to be acquired by the Gallery, which is run by Bath & North East Somerset Council. Its purchase was made possible by grants from the Arts Council England / V&A Purchase Grant Fund, the Art Fund and the Friends of the Victoria Art Gallery. The total purchase price was £41,000.
Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This is a wonderful addition to the Victoria Art Gallery’s collection. The painting will be on display in the permanent galleries, which are free for everyone to visit. We are grateful to Arts Council England, the Art Fund and the Friends of the Victoria Art Gallery for enabling us to bring ‘Composition – Black, Pink, Yellow and Grey’ to Bath.”
Julia Brettell, National Programmes Manager at the Victoria and Albert Museum, said, “The ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund is pleased to support this acquisition. The Gallery is building a coherent collection of works by staff at the Academy and this painting well represents Heath’s long association with both the school and the city.”
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “This is an attractive work by a well-respected figure in Post-War British abstraction. Heath’s connections to Bath make this acquisition particularly apposite, and the painting will complement the gallery’s existing holdings of works by his contemporaries.”
For your information:
Adrian Heath’s background.
Adrian Heath (1920-1992) was born in Burma and moved to England at the age of five. He studied painting as a pupil of Stanhope Forbes in Newlyn before entering the Slade School of Art. In 1940, he joined the RAF and spent four years as a prisoner of war in Germany, where he met fellow artist Terry Frost.
Heath returned to the Slade in 1945 to complete his course. After a spell in France, he settled in London, where he became a key figure in the revival of abstract art in England, notably the Constructivist artists who gathered around Victor Pasmore.
In 1956, Heath joined Bath Academy of Art, initially to take over the life class from Terry Frost. He progressed to become Senior Lecturer in Painting, joining the Board of Governors in 1969.
An active supporter of the art scene in Bath, Heath served as President of the Bath Society of Artists from 1976 to 1992.
Although living in London, Heath bought a cottage in Pickwick on the outskirts of Corsham and later maintained a studio at Freshford near Bath.
Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund:
The Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund is a government fund that helps regional museums, record offices and specialist libraries in England and Wales to acquire objects relating to the arts, literature and history. It was established at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in 1881 and continues to be part of its nationwide work.
The annual grants budget, currently £750,000, is provided by Arts Council England (ACE). Each year, the Purchase Grant Fund considers some 200 applications and awards grants to around 100 organisations, enabling acquisitions of over £3 million to go ahead.
Visit the website: www.vam.ac.uk/purchasegrantfund.
The Art Fund:
The Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. In the past five years the Art Fund has given £34 million to help museums and galleries acquire works of art for their collections. The Art Fund also helps museums share their collections with wider audiences by supporting a range of tours and exhibitions. It also makes additional grants to support the training and professional development of curators.
The Art Fund is independently funded, with the core of its income provided by 117,000 members who receive the National Art Pass and enjoy free entry to over 230 museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, as well as 50% off entry to major exhibition. In addition to grant-giving, the Art Fund’s support for museums includes the annual Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year, a publications programme and a range of digital platforms.
Find out more about the Art Fund and the National Art Pass at www.artfund.org.