Art & photography

Reid, Sir Norman (2 of 13). National Life Story Collection: Artists' Lives.

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  • Recording date

    2000-02-03, 2000-04-12, 2000-12-20, 2005-03-29, 2005-05-06

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home.

  • Interviewees

    Reid, Sir Norman, 1915-, (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Courtney, Cathy (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 2. Sir Norman Reid’s [NR] artistic ability at school; Douglas Day, schoolfriend who became a commercial artist. NR’s father horrified by NR’s scholarship to Edinburgh College of Art; had arranged for him to go into commercial studio. Father ran shoemaking shop in Victoria Street. Father’s background; his brothers; NR’s parents met aged 13. Father owned and toured second-hand cars. NR’s grandson, Ned Denny [ND]; NR’s daughter married Robyn Denny; ND has begun to write in the press about art. NR on rise of Art History courses. NR’s wife did same training at Edinburgh. NR away at war for 6 years; at home again applies to Tate because army colleague told him John Rothenstein [JR] was understaffed; also interview with head of Chelsea; offered both jobs; wife influenced NR to go to Tate. When NR joined Tate staff consisted of self, JR, two secretaries and paymaster; JR away to Europe for six weeks with Turner show, NR left in charge; could explore gallery. JR’s reason for appointing NR. NR recalls schoolboy visits to Tate; painters he saw. Anecdote about farmer neighbour in Kent. NR at Tate for 33 years, doesn’t miss it or feel interested in much current work. On leaving Tate, tries to persuade successor Alan Bowness to buy work NR had rejected, e.g. metal Stella [phonetically transcribed: possibly Stellarc] piece. Memories of Stella’s first exhibition in New York. Beuys; decision not to purchase piece against wishes of Tate trustees, especially Ted Power [TP]; pact that trustees wouldn’t buy things the director didn’t want. TP presented Beuys piece to Tate; trustees didn’t necessarily buy everything director wanted. Early performances by Gilbert & George [G&G]; NR’s suggestion to Ronald Alley that G&G document their performances.

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Reid, Sir Norman (2 of 13). National Life Story Collection: Artists' Lives.

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