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Vision & Reality: 100 Years of Contemporary Art in Wakefield


Wakefield’s art collection was established in 1923 with the aim of nurturing an understanding of contemporary art and its relation to modern life – a collecting principle still followed by The Hepworth Wakefield today.

The collection now comprises over 5,300 art works, built with the support of many organisations, communities and individuals who understand the importance of connecting people to contemporary experience through art.

Vision & Reality will demonstrate how the collection has been strategically developed over the nearly 10 years since The Hepworth Wakefield opened, with carefully considered art works selected in order to address historic imbalances in the collection or to enrich narratives explored by artists in shifting contexts over time. A number of previously unseen new acquisitions and bequests will go on display for the first time,  enabling new stories to be told and showing how contemporary narratives and ideas can cast new light on historical works of art.

The exhibition will showcase major gifts to Wakefield’s collection, from the War Artists Advisory Committee works gifted in the 1940s, to a large selection of works from Tim Sayer‘s bequest, to the more than 150 works given through the Contemporary Art Society  since the 1930s, to the first public display of a very significant bequest of ceramics and paintings by Yorkshire collectors Terence Bacon and John Oldham in 2020.

This is a fascinating opportunity to see the ambition and depth embodied in Wakefield’s significant public art collection and how it continues to be a vital and growing resource.

Vision & Reality features work by:

Sir Peter Blake
Lisa Brice
Lynn Chadwick
Prunella Clough
Martin Creed
Jadé Fadojutimi
Sara Flynn
Anthea Hamilton
Barbara Hepworth
Patrick Heron
Lubaina Himid
LS Lowry
Henry Moore
Magali Reus
Lucie Rie
Ro Robertson
Yinka Shonibare CBE
Walter Sickert
F. N. Souza
James Tissot
John Ward

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This exhibition is kindly supported by


With thanks to

Deborah Archer, Malgosia Chelminska, Stuart & Trish Fletcher, Sharon Gillott, Denise Hopker, Mel Pretious, Alice Rawsthorn, Francis Ryan & Peter Woods, Ros & Gordon Watson as well as those who wish to remain anonymous.