Audiences will be transported back to the heyday of America’s print-making renaissance and experience works of art by some of the 20th century’s most exceptional artists in Lichtenstein to Warhol: The Kenneth Tyler Collection, which opens at the National Gallery of Australia on Saturday 7 September 2019.
Drawing on the National Gallery’s extensive collection of post-War American art – the most significant outside the United States – the exhibition showcases some of the giants of the period, including Anni and Josef Albers, Helen Frankenthaler, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Nancy Graves and David Hockney.
National Gallery of Australia Director Nick Mitzevich said the national collection had benefited from the foresight of inaugural director James Mollison, who made the first acquisition from Tyler in 1973, as well as significant subsequent purchases, and Tyler’s generous gifts to the Gallery.
“Kenneth Tyler wasn’t bound by convention. He offered these artists – some of the most talented of the era – almost limitless opportunities for creativity and experimentation at his workshop,” said Mr Mitzevich. “His vision helped re-establish print-making as a leading form of visual art.”
The exhibition is curated by the National Gallery’s Head of International Art, Dr Jane Kinsman, who has a professional relationship with Tyler spanning three decades.
“With his ethos of never say never, master printer and publisher Ken Tyler was able to entice to his workshop some of the most talented artists in America,” said Dr Kinsman said. “Working with Ken was an adventure for many artists and had a lasting impact on their career.”
Lichtenstein to Warhol: The Kenneth Tyler Collection will display exceptional works from the collection by major artists active in America in the post-war period in styles from Abstraction to Pop, from Minimalism to Maximalism.
Artists include Josef and Anni Albers, Helen Frankenthaler, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Sultan, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Claes Oldenburg, Nancy Graves and David Hockney.
The exhibition not only celebrates the great riches of the collection, but marks the beginning of an exciting new program that further builds on Ken Tyler and Marabeth Cohen-Tyler’s exceptional generosity of the past.
The establishment of The Kenneth E Tyler AO and Marabeth Cohen-Tyler Foundation will enable the NGA to continue maintaining an ambitious dedicated publication and exhibition program, whose most recent achievements include the shows California Cool and David Hockney: prints and their respective catalogues.
The Foundation will also continue to sponsor emerging curatorial staff, and support research and access to the collection through a variety of dynamic digital platforms. “Through their immense creativity and philanthropy, the Tylers have created a lasting legacy for the people of Australia and the National Gallery,” said Mr Mitzevich.
The acquisition of the Kenneth Tyler Print Collection in 1973 was a defining moment in the NGA’s collecting history. Combined with a major acquisition in 2002, the Gallery consequently boasts the most comprehensive collection of post-War American art outside the United States.
The collection includes over 7400 editioned prints, proofs, drawings, paper works, screens, multiples and illustrated books as well as a large collection of rare candid photography, film and audio. It directly reflects Tyler’s entrepreneurial innovation and passionate drive to collaborate with some of the twentieth century’s most brilliant artists.
Tyler was a pivotal master printer at the forefront of the American print renaissance. Having enticed major artists of the day to his print workshops on the West and then East coasts of America, Tyler orchestrated the move from printmaking as a minor artform to a leading visual practice.
The ambition was to create works on a grand scale, involving ground-breaking materials and techniques, explorations of both two and three dimensions, an emphasis on papermaking, and the adoption of a wide-ranging palette.
Lichtenstein to Warhol: The Kenneth Tyler Collection
National Gallery of Australia, Parkes Place, Parkes (Canberra)
Exhibition: 7 September 2019 – 9 March 2020
For more information, visit: www.nga.gov.au for details.
Image: Roy Lichtenstein, Reflections on Crash, 1990. Purchased 1991. © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein / Copyright Agency