To celebrate its 20th birthday, and to recognise Alan Cristea’s significant contribution to print publishing, we are staging a special Anniversary Exhibition, unbeknownst to Alan himself. We asked twenty-one of our artists to each make a print for an anniversary portfolio, a boxed set of 21 prints in an edition of 40, by the following:
Gillian Ayres, Jim Dine, Julian Opie, Christiane Baumgartner, Marie Harnett, Mimmo Paladino, Gordon Cheung, Howard Hodgkin, Lisa Ruyter, Michael Craig-Martin, Ben Johnson, Joe Tilson, Ian Davenport, Allen Jones, Paul Winstanley, Edmund de Waal, Langlands & Bell, Richard Woods, Jan Dibbets, Ian McKeever, Catherine Yass.
The prints cover a wide range of techniques including woodcut, etching, screenprinting, lithography and carborundum reliefs. We gave the artists no specific brief beyond a size limitation, and whereas some, such as Jim Dine and Julian Opie, chose to refer specifically to Alan, others were slightly more oblique in their reference, such as Michael Craig-Martin’s Ashtray, 2014. All profits from the sale of the portfolios will be donated to the Greenhouse Charity and to Cancer Research UK. Portfolios have also been given to the British Museum, London, and an, as yet, unnamed American Museum.
Alongside the 20th Anniversary Portfolio, the gallery will present an exhibition surveying its highlights from the past 20 years by late artists, both from the gallery’s collection and Alan’s personal collection, including Patrick Caulfield, Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso and Dieter Roth, as well as prints by Josef Albers, Henri Matisse and Georges Braque. These works have been selected by Alan who worked with many of these artists over the past few decades, some before he established his gallery on Cork Street in 1995. Artist Sir Howard Hodgkin, who first collaborated with Alan in 1986, comments:
“I first worked with Alan when he was part of Waddington Graphics. That was in 1986/87 for Red Palm and Black Palm. There were solo print exhibitions in 1991 and 1998 but the first time I worked with Alan as an independent publisher was with Venetian Views in 1995. They were made with Jack Shirreff at 107 Workshop in Wiltshire. Alan made it easy for me to work with Jack, mostly by keeping out of the way. That may sound a negative but it’s not always so easy. Printing, unlike painting, is a collaborative process and the less people meddle, the better. Alan never intruded or queried what I wanted to do, even when I made a print that was 20 ft. long ….
Over the years we have grown and grown old together. He has built up a formidable team and inspired them to match his standards as a professional. He’s now a global force, with a major presence at all the world’s important art fairs. Visitors report back, dazzled by the impact his stands have in Basel, Hong Kong, New York etc. I owe him a lot.
I said he’d grown and the fruit of that was the exhibition in the summer of 2014, Green Thoughts, the best prepared, best documented, best presented and received show I’ve ever had, thanks to the care that Alan and his team lavished on it.”
The 20th Anniversary Portfolio will be displayed in 31 Cork Street, and the display of highlights from the past 20 years will be at 34 Cork Street.