Glasgow is about to receive the most significant gift of modern art to the city’s collection in recent times thanks to the Contemporary Art Society. The donation of 15 works by Niki de Saint Phalle will build Glasgow’s holding of her work into the most significant publically held collection in the UK. The donation includes sculptures, a print, wallpaper and rare archive material with an exhibition planned for the autumn of 2013 at the city’s Gallery of Modern Art.
The gift, presented by the Contemporary Art Society, from the collection of Eric and Jean Cass adds to the two sculptures and two installations by Niki de Saint Phalle that Glasgow already owns.
Niki de Saint Phalle was born in 1930 in France and died in 2002. She began producing her first paintings in 1950. This led to assemblages in plaster and her "shooting paintings". These pictures were plaster with containers of paint beneath the surface which would explode when she shot them. More sculptural work followed and in 1965, she created her first "Nana". These large, voluptuous and brightly painted female figures were made originally in papier mache and later in polyester. Niki de Saint Phalle also designed stage sets and costumes, created movies, graphic work, chairs and a sculptural playground. In 1988 Niki de Saint Phalle designed the world-famous "Stravinsky Fountain" at the "Centre Georges Pompidou" together with Tinguely.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council said: “This extraordinary and generous donation is unprecedented for GoMA so it’s hard to properly express just how grateful we are. The support from the Contemporary Art Society coupled with the incredible generosity of Eric and Jean Cass has allowed us to once again grow Glasgow’s collection of international modern art. These works are unique and beautiful and will captivate and thrill our visitors to GoMA when they are displayed in the Autumn of 2013.”
Paul Hobson, Director of Contemporary Art Society said: “We are delighted to be able to make this gift to Glasgow Museums. Working with Eric and Jean Cass and learning more about the collection that they have so carefully developed over the years has been inspirational. The Contemporary Art Society has a unique view of public collections across the UK and this gift is one of many initiatives that we are championing in museums across the UK. We look forward to seeing the works displayed within the collection at GoMA and hope that audiences will enjoy this exceptional group of works for years to come.”