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On this day in January...

Important events from The Redfern Gallery archives
January 10, 2022

The latest entry as part of a new, regular feature providing a summary of important historical events that relate to the Redfern and its artists. 


1 January 1953   First solo show for Mary Fedden at the Redfern. Exhibits include the painting Boats at Fano, Italy, now in the permanent collection of The Hepworth, Wakefield. 
3 January 1967   Release of Antonioni's cult classic, Blow-Up, which features a painting by Peter Sedgley. In the film, actor David Hemmings has Sedgley's Cycle hanging on the wall of his studio. The film's art director Assheton Gorton selected the painting, after seeing an exhibition of Sedgley's work in London a year earlier. The Redfern staged a successful exhibition of new work by Sedgley in 1968. 
4 January 1940   First day of an exhibition of recent watercolours by David Jones, with the Tate Gallery purchasing The Chapel in the Park
10 January 1955   Opening of Nine Abstract Artists, inspired by Lawrence Alloway's book of the same name, published in 1954. The catalogue is designed and written by Anthony Hill, who insists on using the term 'Constructionism', to describe this new British phenomenon. This important exhibition features Hill's first constructional relief, as well as Roger Hilton's large-scale painting, February/March 1954, which was later included in Tate Britain's retrospective in 1992, and is now in the Berardo Collection, Portugal. The 'nine' also includes Robert Adams, Terry Frost, Adrian Heath, Kenneth and Mary Martin, Victor Pasmore and William Scott.  
11 January 2013   Grand unveiling of Paul Emsley's portrait of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, at the National Portrait Gallery. Commissioned as part of his prize for winning the 2012 BP Portrait Award, the painting makes headlines around the world, and quickly becomes one of the most talked-about artworks of this century.
13 January 2018   First day of the Arts Council Collection's touring exhibition of works on paper, featuring the envelope drawings of Margaret Mellis. Mellis' envelope drawings were first unveiled at the Redfern in 1987, as part of a large-scale retrospective, and a new selection was shown in a second retrospective at the gallery in 2016. Touring England, Scotland and Wales, the Arts Council show opened at Perth Museum and Art Gallery, and featured thirty artists including Gillian Ayres, Eduardo Paolozzi, and Mellis' friend, Damien Hirst. 
14 January 1959   Opening day of Nicholas Georgiadis' exhibition at the Redfern, his first in London. Renowned for his ballet designs, Georgiadis showed at the Redfern again in 1961, before taking part in the Venice Biennale, and receiving a CBE in 1984. In the downstairs exhibition, new paintings by Mary Fedden, with recent watercolours by Henry Moore, John Piper, Alan Reynolds and Graham Sutherland.
18 January 1997   The Maximal Sixties: Pop, Op and Figuration opens at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, featuring Patrick Procktor. Drawn from its permanent collection, artists include David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol. Two watercolours by Procktor are on show, both of which were first seen at the Redfern, including a portrait of Cecil Beaton. 
21 January 1980    Bryan Organ makes the first studies of Prince Charles, following a commission from the National Portrait Gallery. The final painting is completed later in the year, and unveiled at the NPG in February 1981. In its informal depiction of Charles, this portrait single-handedly revolutionised royal portraiture, and remains one of the most popular works in the NPG's collection. Organ's first royal sitter was Princess Margaret, who commissioned him to paint her portrait after seeing his work at the Redfern in 1969.  
29 January 1953   Paul Feiler's first show opens at the Redfern, which is reviewed by Patrick Heron. The paintings prove so popular that every one of them sells, including Large Welsh Bay, which is bought by the Arts Council Collection. With the proceeds, Feiler purchases a disused chapel in Kerris, near Penzance - home for the rest of his life, and where he would go on to host Mark Rothko. Feiler showed at the Redfern for the next ten years, before returning to the gallery in 2002.