Museum PR Announcements News and Information

Chatsworth House presents The Cohen Collection of Modern British Masterpieces

An exhibition of modern British masterpieces, many unseen in public for decades, is on view at Chatsworth until 10 June, 2012.

‘Frank and Cherryl Cohen at Chatsworth’ is drawn from their private collection, described by curator Robert Upstone as “one of the finest and most definitive private collections of modern British art”.

Running until 10 June the exhibition includes more than 40 works from artists such as Stanley Spencer, LS Lowry, Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff, William Roberts, William Scott, Paula Rego and Edward Burra, and sculptures by Kenneth Armitage, William Turnbull, Eduardo Paolozzi and Reg Butler (selected pictures available electronically on request).

 Stanley Spencer: Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta: Conversation between Punts 1955 – one of the major figures of 20C British Art and a key work from later in Spencer’s career, ‘Cookham Regatta’ brings Christ into the modern world and is rooted in the artist’s vision of the spirituality of English rural/village life.
 Matthew Arnold Bracy Smith: Connie Martin 1915 – Matthew Smith was a key member of the British avant-garde. His picture of Connie Martin subverts traditional stereotypes of portraiture by adopting the bright, pure colours of European Expressionism – highly unusual in Britain at the time.
 William Scott: Upright Abstract 1957 – Scott developed his style from figurative still lives into ever greater abstraction and this is one of his finest paintings, using minimal colouring and expressive modulation of the paint to render an abstract image of objects on a table top.
 Edward Burra: Striptease, Harlem c.1934 – one of the most distinctive of 20C British artists, Burra had a totally unique vision of everyday life and here he presents the gritty and the magical side-by-side in character studies drawn from his time in Harlem, New York in the 1930’s.

Paintings from their private collection were selected by Frank and Cherryl Cohen in conjunction with Robert Upstone, the exhibition’s curator. Robert was previously Curator of Modern British Art at Tate Britain and is a Director of The Fine Art Society, while Frank Cohen has commissioned Booker prize-winning author Howard Jacobson to write an essay for the exhibition catalogue.

Internationally known as major collectors of contemporary art, Frank and Cherryl Cohen’s collection of modern British paintings has never before been exhibited publicly. The first modern British painting they acquired was ‘My Family’ by LS Lowry, bought in the early 70s, with further works added regularly over subsequent years.

Frank Cohen said: “Cherryl and I have spent some 40 years putting together our Modern British Collection so it’s very personal to us. We wanted a setting that would match the quality of the paintings and when the New Gallery opened at Chatsworth in 2011 we could see that it would be a perfect fit.”

The Cohen’s share a passion for modern British art with the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and having met at many exhibitions over the years the Duke suggested a display of their private collection at Chatsworth: “It’s a wonderful collection of modern British paintings and I’m delighted Frank and Cherryl have agreed to share it with a wider audience. I am sure that visitors will be delighted to see paintings of such remarkable quality.”

Matthew Hirst, Head of Art and Collections at Chatsworth said: “‘Frank and Cherryl Cohen at Chatsworth’ is the first in a new programme of loan exhibitions being brought into Chatsworth to give our visitors the chance to enjoy a wide ranging artistic offer alongside our permanent collections. We hope to stage at least one such exhibition every year.”

Chatsworth also has a long association with 20th-century art and the Devonshire Collection includes important works by artists such as Lucian Freud, David Hockney, John Hoyland, Michael Andrews, Allen Jones and Paula Rego. Works from the contemporary art collection are on permanent, rotating display, particularly in the North Sketch gallery at Chatsworth while other works are loaned for exhibitions around the world.

Entry to ‘Frank and Cherryl Cohen at Chatsworth’ is included in the price of a standard ‘House and Garden’ ticket. House, garden, farmyard and adventure playground reopen on 11 March 2012. For more information and ticketing options including a 10 percent discount for online booking, visit

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *