An extraordinary donation of over 350 British, American and European prints is set to transform the National Gallery of Victoria’s international print collection, with a selection to be premiered in the upcoming exhibition Print Works: The Douglas Kagi Donation.
Tony Ellwood, NGV Director, commented that the recent gift from Melbourne scientist and art collector Dr Douglas Kagi was the most significant addition to the NGV’s international print collection in several decades.
“Dr Kagi’s generous donation will substantially enrich the Gallery’s holdings and enable us to better represent the development of printmaking in the second half of the twentieth century. We are grateful to Dr Kagi for his remarkable support of the NGV and his important gift will make possible many exhibitions into the future,” said Mr Ellwood.
The first exhibition to be developed through Dr Kagi’s donation, Print Works, will survey the comprehensive representation of the gift and present some of its greatest strengths. Comprising 60 prints by 16 artists, Print Works reflects the diversity of international printmaking in the post-1960 period. Abstract prints by American artists such as Robert Motherwell, Kenneth Noland and Frank Stella are presented in the exhibition together with colourful and exuberant prints by British Pop artists as well as figurative prints by 1980s Neo-Expressionist Mimmo Paladino.
Cathy Leahy, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings and Head of International Art, said: “The Dr Douglas Kagi donation is particularly strong in its representation of British Pop prints of the 1960s and 1970s and this will be reflected in Print Works through the works of major and influential artists including Eduardo Paolozzi, Joe Tilson, R.B. Kitaj and Richard Hamilton. The Pop generation’s interest in consumerism and the hi-tech nature of contemporary urban life saw artists draw their subject matter from popular culture – advertising, magazines, television and movies – and employ the latest print technologies to produce complex and innovative prints.”
Through Dr Kagi’s comprehensive collection, many artists are represented by works spanning their careers. Richard Hamilton, one of the founding figures of British Pop art, is represented not only by his seminal Pop images of the 1970s but also by later works, particularly his acclaimed Ulysses prints, produced in response to James Joyce’s literary masterpiece. The intaglio prints that Hamilton made for this series in the 1980s and 1990s, with Parisian master printer Aldo Crommelynck, are among the most significant in his oeuvre and to date have been unrepresented in the NGV Collection. Five of Hamilton’s Ulysses prints will be on display in Print Works.
Dr Kagi has been a collector of prints since the mid-1970s, and has amassed a major collection of limited edition artists’ etchings, screen prints, woodcuts and lithographs. Join Dr Kagi and Cathy Leahy for ‘In Conversation: The Curator and the Collector’ on Sunday 11 August at NGV International to learn more about Dr Kagi’s collecting practice. For full program details, visit ngv.vic.gov.au.
Print Works: The Douglas Kagi Donation will be on display at NGV International from 10 August 2013 until late 2013. Free entry.
Girl on a sofa 1968
from the 5 rooms series 1966–68
colour lithograph, ed. 26/75
printed by Alecto Studios, London; published by Editions Alecto, London
51.4 x 64.5 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of Dr Douglas Kagi through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program, 2013
© Howard Hodgkin