Contemporary from the Froehlich Foundation and sculptures from the friends to swell ranks at Tate

Austrian industrialist Joseph Froehlich is loaning major works of German and American art to the museum while Friends of the Tate contribute several new gifts


A new relationship struck between the Tate Gallery and the private foundation recently created by leading contemporary art collector Joseph Froehlich and his wife, Anna, will be revealed in “New Displays” (20 May-8 September), the museum’s annual rotation of its permanent collection.

In a conversation with The Art Newspaper, Mr Froehlich revealed that there were no other institutions outside Germany with whom he had seriously considered making a similar arrangement. “The Tate is the place in Europe”, he said.

During each of the next four years, the Froehlich Foundation will loan to the Tate Gallery a changing selection of works by the ten American and nine German artists in its collection. Carl Andre, Richard Artschwager, Bruce Nauman, Blinky Palermo, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter have been chosen to launch the agreement, with Warhol and Joseph Beuys, the collection’s strongest card, pencilled for 1998.

In total, the foundation owns 320 paintings, drawings and sculptures by these nineteen artists, including some of the most significant works of their careers. It is a collection which has been formed during the last fifteen years with the fortune accumulated by Mr Froehlich from his business as a supplier of machine tools to the automotive industry, and is intentionally restricted in its range. As a result, each of the artists is represented in depth in a way that no museum of modern art would be able to justify, although there are other privately-funded candidates, such as the Dia Center for the Arts and the Saatchi Collection, which have followed the same approach.

The relationship between Mr Froehlich, described by Mr Serota as a partnership, will completely transform the museum’s coverage of contemporary art in the areas in which Mr Froehlich has been involved. Although both partners have politely emphasised the suitability of marrying their collections during the four years of the agreement, the truth is that, while the Tate Gallery owns single masterpieces by eight or nine of the artists represented by the foundation, it simply cannot hope to match the range or quality of the material which Mr Froehlich is putting at its disposal.

Although no decision has been taken, Mr Froehlich is confident that his arrangement with the Tate Gallery will be extended when the proposed gallery of modern art is completed in 2000.

To mark the programme of loans to “New Displays”, the Tate Gallery will publish the English language edition of the catalogue of the Froehlich Foundation Collection, which will be shown in its entirety in three locations in and near Stuttgart (8 September-24 November), the Staatsgalerie, the Württembergischer Kunstverein and the Kunsthalle, Tübingen; and subsequently at the Deichterhallen and Kunsthalle, Hamburg (23 January-13 April 1997). A selected version of the exhibition will take place at the Kunstforum, Vienna (20 May-17 August 1997).

o Tim Knox , former assistant to the late Architectural Adviser of the National Trust, Gervase Jackson-Stops, has been appointed his successor. He will be known as the Architectural Historian to the National Trust.

A time for gifts: financial muscle from new patrons

The recently released list of new gifts which have been made to the Tate Gallery demonstrate the collective muscle currently being flexed on its behalf. The Friends of the Tate Gallery have purchased Epstein’s bronze portrait bust of Iris Beerbohm Tree and have contributed to the acquisitions of Sickert’s “Brighton Pierrots”; a diptych by Gillian Ayres; and “L’Ouragane”, a bronze sculpture by Germaine Richier. The Patrons of New Art, who have grown to 299 members paying annual dues of £500 under the astute chairmanship of Howard Karshan, have acquired “Remarks on Color”, a video installation by Gary Hill of his daughter reading passages from Wittgenstein; Miroslaw Balka’s group of five sculptures which were recently shown in the museum’s Art Now room; and a painting by Bernard Frize.

But the most exciting development concerns the Special Purchase Fund, a subsidiary activity of the Patrons of New Art, twenty-three of whose members raised £25,794 by paying a minimum stake of £1,000 a head in order to fulfil Mr Karshan’s vision of a commitment to buy emerging, as well as more established, contemporary art for the museum. In the face of initial scepticism, he invented the Special Purchase Fund in 1994, when it acquired works by Dorothy Cross, Andreas Gursky, Lubiana Himid and Cornelia Parker. In the last twelve months, the fund’s members, who include Placido Arango, Nancy Balfour, Ivor Braka, Michael Hue-Williams, Anne Faggionato, Edward Lee, Elena Marano, Mary Moore Danowski and Oliver Prenn, have purchased Steve McQueen’s “Bear”, the video film exhibited at the ICA in 1995 and currently being screened in “British Art Show IV” in Edinburgh; a new painting by Lisa Milroy exhibited at Chisenhale in 1995; and “Corridor: Springfield Hospital”, a set of eight illuminated transparencies by Catherine Yass also featuring in “British Art Show IV”.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Big German art to boost the Tate'