D'OFFAY ART COLLECTION
SALE OF THE CENTURY
What does £100 million worth of art look like? Scotland is soon going to find out, as it prepares to take part ownership of dealer Anthony d’Offay’s collection. Nick Barley looks at some of the gems on offer, to find out where the real value lies.
ast week provided an undeniably
momentous moment in the history of
British art. The landmark joint announcement by late and the Scottish National (ialleries that Britain‘s two largest public collections of contemporary art will join l‘orces to acquire the collection ol‘ Anthony d'()l'l'a_v. means that a vast gap in the nation‘s art collection will ﬁnally he plugged. 50 years
ago. weak directors of the National Galleries of
Modern Art in both London and lidinburgh failed to purchase works by the young practitioners ol' Modern Art. even though at the
time they were relatively al‘t'ordable. Now. of
course. the best works by artists such as Andy Warhol. lid Ruscha and (ierhard Richter are beyond the reach ol‘ our national collections thanks to their astronomical market values. L'nless. that is. wealthy private collectors like Anthony d‘()l‘t'ay come along and make a donation. Thanks to d'()l‘l'a_v‘s astute purchase of work by artists when their prices were still within reach — and a lil'etime ol‘ buying and selling art at the highest levels — d‘()l‘l‘ay has built a collection of considerable strength. His links to lidinburgh stretch back to L'niversity days and for several years. frustrated by a perceived lack of interest from London. d‘()l‘t'ay has been lending work to the National Galleries of Scotland. His collection has formed the core ot‘ many shows here in recent years. including lid Ruscha. Andy Warhol. Anselm Kiet‘l'er and of course the current Ron Mueck and Robert Mapplethorpe exhibitions.
Are all of the d'Ot‘t‘ay works of a truly international standard‘.’ Here we take a snapshot ot~ the collection. and make a wishlist of the work we'd like to see on display in Scotland.
16 THE LIST 5-19 Oct 2006
the master of the itié ss produced image. Warhol made silk-screened self-portraits that defined the tilltft,il()ll ot lateQOIh century art. Beautiful. political. and hugely important. Verdict lt Scotland gets nothing else. let it be these
Undoobtedly a popular chOice. this artist's work holds the kind of interest of a Natural Hist0ry Museum specimen. But the only real interest is in the changes of scale. Will the next one be big? Or really small? Verdict WOuId took fine in Madame Tussauds
It may be heretical to utter it. but scrne of the mythOIOgical and zooiogical ponderings of this German artist are Overrated. Not this piece. however. Verdict Tate's already got a fantastic Beuys collection. so Surely we sh0uld get this one
The Yorkshire lad enjoyed most of the YBA glory - and nearly all the tabloid ‘.‘.’l€liil. But stand in tront of them, and these ferrnaldehyde wonders itéi‘.t: an enduring power because of their morbid tascirtz'ition .‘Jliil death. Verdict Great. We're bags/int; this One for Scotland
OUite Simply the most Original. the most talented and the most exciting artist ilVlﬂg and working anywhere in the wood today. To have some of these in the national collection is beyond a miraCIe.
Verdict Nauman’s w0rk is wonh Etoom on its own