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Lithograph by Paul Cezanne depicting 4 nude figures in a landscape with a stream running from lower right into background. Distant hills, pale grey/green. Trees in middle ground.

The Kearley Bequest

A bequest from businessman Charles Kearley in 1989 gave our collection a more international flavour with examples of continental modern art by artists such as Paul Cézanne,  Paul Klee, and Gino Severini.

Charles Kearley (1904–1989) inherited his father’s property development business and undertook a number of projects in the 1930s including flats by the architects Myerscough-Walker and Maxwell Fry that are recognised as important examples of modernist housing. Kearley took Fry’s open plan penthouse flat in Kensal House in Ladbroke Grove for himself and his need to furnish it prompted the start of his art collection.

Many of his purchases were bought on the advice of the art critic R H Wilenski, a champion of Modern British art who helped Kearley develop his taste. With a budget of around £700 a year spent mostly at auction houses, the collection grew to include key works such as John Piper’s painting of a bombed-out church in Bristol, commissioned by the War Artists Advisory Committee, and Ben Nicholson’s ‘1946 (still life – cerulean)’, a work showing the influence of the Cubists and, in particular, Juan Gris. These works by British artists complement those in the Gallery’s founding collection, the Hussey Bequest. He also collected works by European artists including Paul Cézanne, André Dérain, Le Corbusier, Paul Klee, Fernand Léger and Gino Severini.

Kearley displayed his collection at his house at Hathill Copse just outside Chichester. He commissioned architect John Lomax to build it in 1975 and it is now the home of Cass Sculpture Foundation. Kearley’s approach had an aesthetic sense of purpose and the artworks complemented the modernist interior and vice versa. With no immediate family to whom to leave his collection, his gift to Pallant House Gallery, made through the Art Fund in 1989, was prompted by nothing more than an interest in the public good.

Lithograph by Paul Cezanne depicting 4 nude figures in a landscape with a stream running from lower right into background. Distant hills, pale grey/green. Trees in middle ground.

Les Grands Baigneurs (The Large Bathers) (1898)

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Kearley Bequest, through The Art Fund, 1989)

Painting by Ben Nicholson depicting coloured shapes based on abstract still life of bottles & glasses against a grey background.

1946 (still life - cerulean)

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Kearley Bequest, through The Art Fund, 1989) © Angela Verren Taunt

Painting by Ivon Hitchens depicting abstract shapes of various colours, the centre having a prominent red shape.

Red Centre (1972)

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Kearley Bequest, through The Art Fund, 1989) © Estate of the Artist

Painting by Georges Lemmen painted in pointalist style, slight abstract appearance, view of a beach.

Georges Lemmen, Heyst sur Mer (Beach at Heyst) (c.1891)

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Kearley Bequest, through The Art Fund, 1989)

Painting by Graham Sutherland depicting ruined buildings with a slight abstract appearance in sombre greens, greys and black.

Graham Sutherland, Devastation 1941: City Panorama (1941)

Painting by John Tunnard of imaginary abstract objects - one white and one black oval suspended in a framework and devised to exist in a 3-D space with a brown landscape beneath it and a blue background.

John Tunnard, Abstraction at Noon (c.1941)

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Kearley Bequest, through The Art Fund, 1989)

Painting by Robert MacBryde in an abstract style with green apple shapes set against a dark red and brown background.

Robert MacBryde, Apples on Paper (n.d.)

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Kearley Bequest through The Art Fund, 1989) © The Estate of the Artist

Painting by Mark Gertler of a view of a distant headland, out to sea, with a garden with a path in foreground and a conifer tree to right of picture.

Mark Gertler, Near Swanage (1916)

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Kearley Bequest, through The Art Fund, 1989) By Permission of Luke Gertler