90 Years of Collecting | The Usher Gallery at 90: Ninth Decade, Contemporary Acquisitions

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 by The Collection  | Category: Art 

2007 to the present: looking to the future

The beginning of the 21st Century has seen some interesting acquisitions for the Usher Gallery; a mix of the historic and the contemporary, as it has been throughout the Usher's 90 year history.  It was with immeasurable pleasure that we accepted the gift of a Miereveld portrait, with connections to a local family and a wonderful example of 17th Century Dutch art.  We acquired a pair of portraits by Joshua Reynolds, letters written by Mrs Harriet DeWint, and drawings by Edward Lear.  The 20th Century collection was enhanced with a great collection of lithographs and engravings by artists such as Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, John Piper and Anthony Gross, and we were fortunate in being able to acquire several studies and sketches by Duncan Grant to add to our visual archive of the Russell Chantry murals in Lincoln Cathedral, which Grant painted in the 1950s.

However it is important to look to the future as well.  We need to collect works being created today to provide a balance to the collections, representing new artistic ideas and media.  Often our contemporary collecting works in tandem with our contemporary exhibition programming.  We have acquired works commissioned by artists exhibiting with us, for example, Jess Flood-Paddock and Lothar Götz.  We were awarded the Contemporary Art Society Award for 2012, enabling artist Oliver Laric to work with our collections in a 3D scanning project, and he created a bespoke piece for the collection based on Gibson's sculpture the 'Hunter and His Dog'.  Other pieces specially commissioned for the Usher include 'Tide', a chandelier by Stuart Haygarth, created from hundreds of fragments of plastic debris found washed ashore, and the ceramicist Edmund de Waal created a piece for the Gallery, inspired by his early memories of living in Lincoln and visiting the Usher Gallery.  'across the sky' with its pale celadon glazes evokes the big skies of Lincolnshire as well as referencing much earlier Chinese porcelain.

So what about the future?  Focused collecting is essential.  Filling gaps where they are evident in the historic collections, and carefully selecting contemporary pieces to keep the collection relevant for now and for the future.  Let's look forward to another 90 years of collecting!

This brings to a close our blogs on 9 decades of collecting at the Usher Gallery but to find out more about our collections, take a look at the Explore our collections pages on this website and also the Resources page.


'Hunter and His Dog' by Oliver Laric

'Tide' chandelier by Stuart Haygarth

'across the sky' by Edmund de Waal



The Bailgate Independent is also covering this story in their monthly issue – http://www.bailgateindependent.co.uk/ Out now!


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