BRITISH PAINTING AND SCULPTURE 1960-1970
An exhibition co-curated by the British Council and Tate Gallery comprising 59 paintings and ten sculptures. It marked the 50th anniversary of the English Speaking Union.
Artists: Francis Bacon, Peter Blake, Anthony Caro, Patrick Caulfield, Bernard Cohen, Alan Davie, Robyn Denny, Terry Frost, Richard Hamilton, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, David Hockney, John Hoyland, Allen Jones, Phillip King, Mark Lancaster, Peter Lanyon, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Eduardo Paolozzi, Victor Pasmore, William Scott, Richard Smith, Graham Sutherland, William Tucker, John Walker.
Reporting in the Washington Star (17 November) Frank Getlein wrote
The National Gallery of Art, of all places, has opened a big bouncy exhibition of British Painting and Sculpture, 1960-1970. Not only is the show at the National, but it's upstairs with the grown-ups instead of down on the ground floor usually reserved for visiting exhibitions, and is superbly installed, echoing faithfully in the hanging the quite assurance and authority so evident in the selection and for that matter in most of the works themselves.
With 26 artists, each represented by two, three or four works, the show is obviously not a compendium of everything that was going on in England in the decade just ended. But the show achieves a sense of continuity that would be very rare in an American equivalent.
We are haunted by the sense that everything always has to begin all over again. The British manage continuity better than we do. In art as in life, they broaden down from precedent to precedent, while we tend to move out of the place and build a new one next door, which is why we have slums and suburbs in such profusion.
Birth dates in the catalogue begin in the nineties and end in the very late 1930s, with so single decade skipped over. The result is an easy progression in which everything relates to everything else directly or through mutual relations and yet there is immense variety, originality and invention.
An article by Paul Richard which appeared in the Washington Post (15 November) received more attention. It began by comparing the exhibition unfavourably with the highly successful exhibition of British Romantic Painting held in Philadelphia two years before. Inevitably the influence of post-war American painting was remarked upon, while the stultifying effects of State-aided art school education and government sponsorship of art and artists were also invoked. Only the work of Hockney and to a lesser extent Caro were exempt from criticism. The exhibition received little attention from the press outside Washington, and the gallery reported visitors numbers at over 59,000.
USA, Washington, National Gallery Of Art
- 12 November 1970 − 03 January 1971