Art & photography

Reid, Sir Norman (7 of 9). 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 7. Sir Norman Reid [NR] continues discussion Zika Ascher [ZA]. Paul McCartney’s father Naum Gabo’s lawyer; anecdote about Paul McCartney; NR as Gabo’s trustee. Wife Jean’s easy relationship with famous artists; NR and Jean’s courtship; married 1941. NR posted to Italy in War; Jean had own flat, junior lectureship at Edinburgh University, earned more than NR; Jean pregnant while NR in Italy. Herbert Read [HR] driven out of Edinburgh society because of affair with secretary, whom he later married; would otherwise have been professor while NR a student. Through NR, HR was made a Trustee of Tate towards end of life; John Rothenstein [JR] had refused to have HR as Trustee because didn’t like him. NR met HR after war – a gentle man, not obviously someone who had fought in two wars; HR’s death from cancer – came to Tate Board meeting in last week of his life. HR generous to young painters but couldn’t accept Pop-Art; NR unsympathetic to Pop-Art; is glad he left Tate when he did; reliance on Richard Morphet [RM] in last years; RM attracted by “extreme” work; NR against vivisectionist art; much conceptual art “ephemeral”. NR on Carl Andre’s bricks; earlier Andre offered to Tate; UK Treasury attitude to Andre’s bricks and Tate trustees in general. NR’s dislike of Warhol’s work. Public’s continued ignorance of art. Period after war when painters took out any kind of “handwork” from their images, e.g. Robyn Denny. More on relationship between Tate and UK treasury; problem of underfunding, works slipped away. ‘Red Studio’ and second Matisse sold abroad for peanuts under JR’s nose. NR successful in getting gifts for Tate, facilitated by change of tax rules in USA. Rothko gift to the Tate; Rothko wanted to be in gallery with Turner; Rothkos now going to Bankside [Tate Modern]; NR thinks Tate extension should have been on sites around existing gallery, thinks Bankside a political decision; divided views among Trustees.

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Reid, Sir Norman (7 of 9). National Life Story Collection: Artists' Lives.

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