Lab 5 Bertram

New Life after Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust Featured

W Barns-Graham 'Scorpio Series 3 No 9 ' 1997 W Barns-Graham 'Scorpio Series 3 No 9 ' 1997
25 May

The Art of Collecting opens at the Mall galleries in London on 27 June. The exhibition celebrates the rich and diverse collections of a group of art and artist trust and foundations – Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust, Jerwood Foundation, Fleming Collection and Ingram Collection. Personally the trust of most importance to me is the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust which I have chaired since 2005. The Trust was established in 1987 by the St Andrews/St Ives artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912-2004). It aims to promote and broaden the understanding and reputation of her work as one of Britain’s most significant 20th century artists through exhibitions and publications. Additionally, the Trust actively supports individuals to fulfil their potential in the visual arts by providing financial support in education and funding artists’ residencies.

I have been particularly closely involved with the Trust and directing its future since 2011 when plans were underway to celebrate for the artist’s centenary in 2012. There were 10 exhibitions in 15 venues throughout the UK. In the following year a decision was taken to sell the Trust’s home based outside St Andrews, Fife (the house that the artist had inherited in 1960) and move to Edinburgh. Unsuspecting the Trust carried through with the decision and the house sold remarkably quickly. The challenge then arose in finding and signing up to a suitable new home, which, as it turned out, took three further years to accomplish. In the meantime, without staff I managed the day to day affairs and business of the Trust on my own. This became so demanding that I was unable to continue with Bertram Arts.

In July 2017 the Trust opened a new centre in Edinburgh and recruited staff. As it approaches the end of the first year in its new home I am able once again to pursue my own interests and take Bertram Arts in a new direction. A redesigned web site is being constructed and will launch in the coming months with a new range of art and artists. I will make further announcements as that day draws nearer.

It continues to be a privilege to work with Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’s art and be the face of her Trust. I first started to represent her when director of the Scottish Gallery when they opened premises in London in 1989. When I moved on to co-found Art First on London’s Cork Street in 1994 she was one of the first artists’ to join the gallery, and the relationship with Art First continued long after I left the gallery in the summer of 2004. For information about the Trust and what it does visit www.barns-garahamtrust.org.uk

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