What's On in Glasgow Life
Niki de Saint Phalle – The Eric and Jean Cass Gift
Eric and Jean Cass have dedicated over 35 years of their lives to supporting artists. During this time they have built up an outstanding and very personal collection of over 300 colourful modern and contemporary works including sculptures, ceramics, drawings, prints and paintings, all previously housed in the interiors and gardens of ‘Bleep’, their modernist home in Surrey.
This collection includes works by Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Arp, John Bellany, Patrick Caulfield, Beryl Cook, Michael Craig- Martin, Alan Davie, Jean Dubuffet, Barbara Hepworth, Allen Jones, L S Lowry, Joan Miro, Henry Moore, Eduardo Paolozzi, Victor Passmore, Pablo Picasso and Tom Wesselmann.
Recently Eric and Jean Cass decided to disperse this outstanding collection to museums across the UK through the Contemporary Art Society.
Eric Cass knew Glasgow Museums owned works by the late Niki de Saint Phalle. The mirrored tympanum and the mirrored entrance at GoMA were designed by the artist. Saint Phalle also gifted two important sculptures to the collection after her retrospective at McLellan Galleries in 1993, The Great Devil and Altar to a Dead Cat.
Eric and Jean have gifted 13 sculptures, 1 lithograph and related ephemera by Niki de Saint Phalle to Glasgow Museums through the Contemporary Art Society. They have also gifted two oil paintings by John Bellany.
About the Artist
Niki de Saint Phalle was born in France in 1930 and educated at a convent school in New York. A former model, she developed an interest in sculpture and architecture - particularly the work of Gaudi and Le Facteur Cheval during her travels around Europe. Whilst in hospital recovering from a serious nervous breakdown, she started making collages from pebbles, leaves and found materials and began to develop her own style through the combination of painting and assemblage. Following a series of gouaches she experimented with oils and various commercial paints, addressing a range of subject matter and enthusiastically studying the work of twentieth century masters, such as Miro, Klee, Leger, Picasso and Matisse for inspiration.
Her highly original form of self-expression helped her to overcome her personal crisis and health problems, and throughout her life, art became her means of coming to terms with feelings, emotions, dreams and nightmares.
About the Contemporary Art Society
Founded in 1910, the Contemporary Art Society exists to support and develop public collections of contemporary art in the UK. During this time, the charity has donated over 8,000 works to museums and galleries all over the UK and has discovered countless important emerging artists, including Picasso, Francis Bacon and Damien Hirst in their time and, more recently, Luke Fowler and Elizabeth Price, to name but a few.