Curatorial relfection by John Wilson, in preparation for the exhibition THE ART OF COLLECTING:
THE ART OF COLLECTING An exhibition of paintings from the permanent collections of the Newport Museum and Art Gallery | Roger Cucksey, Keeper of Art, Newport Museum and Art Gallery and John Wilson, Guest Curator | July 2007
Newport's art collections - in painting, drawing, print and sculpture - have benefitted from their fair share of good fortune, sheer luck, and judicious collecting judgment over a hundred years and more of collecting. And whilst the art market is notoriously turbulent and hard to play, the Newport Museum and Art Gallery has quietly built up a collection of which it can be proud.
The exhibition The Art of Collecting affords us an opportunity for enjoyment, reflection and further conversation:
- we may indulge in a public airing of works by some the the better known artists in the Newport Museum and Art Gallery's collection.
- and reflect upon over one hundred years of collecting, highlighting the unique historical value of a public art collection.
- which leads us on to current concerns for the future of collecting in a changing world of art.
Whilst all collectors secretly dream of acquiring the best available artists to boost or round-off their collections, any art collection is really an unending quest for perfection. Collecting is an art in itself. And public art collections have been subject to changing fortunes and patterns of taste over the decades.
When we travel abroad we naturally wish to learn more of the history and the culture of the place we visit, and museums and art galleries are an obvious attraction for us. Maybe we need to adopt more of this tourist attitude at home, to begin to view our own habitat afresh and perhaps come to a new valuing of our own location and identity.
In the Connoisseurship or Modern Art collecting stakes -- no one would claim that Newport has ever really been up there. But where it has won out is in building a unique archive of works of historical interest, related to Newport, its region, and indeed the wider Wales context. Perhaps in the final assessment, we may one day appreciate Newport's collection of local topographical works as a unique archive; or else its collection of art works connected to the Newport College of Art as a likewise unique archive for a provincial British art college.
Further | Project web-page The Art of Collecting
THE ART OF COLLECTING | An exhibition of paintings from the permanent collections of the Newport Museum and Art Gallery | Roger Cucksey, Keeper of Art, Newport Museum and Art Gallery and John Wilson, Guest Curator | July 2007