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Pallant House Gallery acquires 175 artworks from the estate of MJ Long
[ News )
A group of 175 modern and contemporary British paintings, prints and sculptures from the collection of architects MJ Long & Sir Colin St John Wilson have been acquired by the nation for Pallant House Gallery.
An outstanding collection of Pop art and British figurative art has been allocated to Pallant House Gallery from the estate of the architect MJ Long via the Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) scheme, run by the Arts Council.
The Wilson collection includes celebrated works by some of the most important figures in Modern British art, including Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach, David Bomberg, Anthony Caro, Patrick Caulfield, Prunella Clough, Richard Hamilton, David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin, R.B. Kitaj, Eduardo Paolozzi and Colin Self.
The Wilson collection was formed by renowned American architect MJ Long, Lady Wilson, OBE (1939 – 2018), and her husband, British architect Prof Sir Colin St John Wilson RA (1922 – 2007), who are best-known as the architects of the British Library and their 2006 extension to Pallant House Gallery.
Together they formed one of the most significant collections of post-war British art, reflecting their close friendships with the leading artists of the period. The 175 artworks represent Pallant House Gallery’s most important acquisition of the past fifteen years and join a previous notable donation of over 400 artworks by the couple through Art Fund in 2006.
Together these acts of philanthropy mean that Pallant House Gallery now has one of the most significant international public collections of British Pop art. The majority of the artists represented in the Wilson collection were personal friends of the couple and can be seen as embodying an approach to artistic patronage that spanned connections between art, architecture, literature and philosophy.
Born in New Jersey, MJ Long attended high school in Montreal before studying at Smith College and Yale School of Architecture, where she met Wilson. In 1965, she joined his architecture practice and they married in 1972.
In partnership with fellow architect Rolfe Kentish, as Long & Kentish, she designed museums, galleries and libraries including the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall, the Jewish Museum London and the award-winning extension to Pallant House Gallery, in association with Sir Colin St John Wilson. Long also renovated the Porthmeor Studios in St Ives, and wrote a notable book on the artist studios she had designed throughout her career.
We are thrilled to have acquired such an extraordinary collection of modern art for the nation through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme. MJ Long and Colin St John Wilson were much loved and respected figures in the worlds of art and architecture, leaving behind not only extraordinary public buildings and private studios, but amassing an astonishing collection of British Pop and figurative art. To be able to preserve this almost in its entirety is cause for great celebration at a very difficult time for public museums and galleries.
Simon Martin, Director, Pallant House Gallery
I’m delighted that this outstanding collection of Pop and British figurative art has been allocated to Pallant House Gallery. Few architects have been closer to artists than MJ Long and Sandy Wilson. Their enthusiasms and friendships are reflected in a collection that is highly personal but also a remarkable survey of some of the most important aspects of advanced British Art in the post-war period. It is especially fitting that the collection will have a permanent home in Chichester in the galleries that MJ and Sandy designed as an award-winning extension to Pallant House Gallery.
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of the Arts Council