As mima’s 5th birthday approaches in January 2012, this new exhibition celebrates a group of remarkable people who have contributed a great deal to the cultural life of Middlesbrough by forming the first Friends of Middlesbrough Art Gallery in 1952. They not only established a permanent art gallery for Middlesbrough, but also the beginnings of an art collection for the town. The Middlesbrough Art Gallery evolved into mima, which continues to look after and develop on the collection that the Friends helped to build.
This special birthday exhibition showcases works of art which were bought for Middlesbrough’s collection, alongside documents relating to the inaugural president of the Friends of Middlesbrough Art Gallery, Nancy Dugdale, 1st Lady Crathorne. The remarkable archive of documents, letters, press cuttings and speech notes, generously gifted to mima by Lady Crathorne’s son Lord Crathorne, tells the story of the impact that a group of individuals had on Middlesbrough, and the cultural legacy they left for future generations.
Works featured in the show include an oil painting by Lady Crathorne herself (then known by her maiden name of Nancy Tennant), Willow Trees, Wiltshire, 1936. One of the most popular purchases made by the Friends was LS Lowry’s painting The Old Town Hall and St Hilda’s Church Middlesbrough, 1959; this is shown alongside Lowry’s sketch of the Old Town Hall. Jacob Epstein’s Portrait Bust of Somerset Maugham c.1951 is on show, as are works by Victor Pasmore of the British Constructivist movement, ‘Kitchen Sink’ painter Edward Middeditch, Shelia Fell and Ceri Richards.
This exhibition has been made possible not only by Lord Crathorne’s gift of his mother’s archive, but also through the generous sponsorship of another group of art enthusiasts in Middlesbrough, the mimafriends.
To accompany the exhibition, there will be a free event on Thursday 1 December 10.30am-12. mima invites local people to come along to the Memories of Art coffee morning to reminisce and share stories of how art has been important in Middlesbrough. Refreshments will be provided. No need to book, just turn up! Event on Facebook
Enjoy fabulous exhibitions, Christmas at mima, In Conversation: DJ Simpson, talks, walking tour, mima's 5th birthday and much more!