Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Controversial First World War memorial to go on display at Hepworth

For the first time in nearly 20 years a First World War memorial frieze No Man’s Land, 1919-20 by Yorkshire artist Charles Sargeant Jagger will be displayed.

The low relief presents a stark vision of trench warfare and will feature in a new exhibition by contemporary artist Toby Ziegler, to open at The Hepworth Wakefield in September, as part of this year’s First World War centenary commemorations.

Since appearing in the large-scale retrospective War and Peace Sculpture in 1985 at the Imperial War Museum in London, this extraordinary work has remained behind closed doors, awaiting conservation.

It will now take centre stage to launch The Hepworth Wakefield’s major new fundraising campaign – I’m Yours.

Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield said: “The former Wakefield Art Gallery acquired Jagger’s original plaster frieze through publicly raised funds in 1936.

“Nearly 80 years later, as part of memorialising the centenary of World war One, we hope the public will again choose to support this pivotal powerful work and pledge funds towards our vital programme of conservation and digitisation of the collection. Until June 2015,

“The Hepworth Wakefield can double the value of all new donations it receives through the Arts Council England, Catalyst Arts funding programme.

“There has never been a better time to donate and make your valuable support go so much further in helping us protect and grow our inspirational collection for future generations to benefit from.”

Frances Guy, Head of Collections and Exhibitions added: “Charles Sargeant Jagger was one of Britain’s foremost war memorial sculptors and this frieze is indicative of the world-class collection we have here in Wakefield.

“ The former Wakefield Art Gallery adopted an ambitious collecting policy to nurture a wide public understanding of contemporary art. The collection comprises works by the leading artists of the time, who have since become synonymous with shaping Modern British art.

“They featured in an ambitious exhibitions programme and I’m Yours will help The Hepworth Wakefield to continue this vision to provide our visitors with the experience of an outstanding art collection that is central to what we display here and to all our learning programmes.”

During his short lifetime, Yorkshire-born Charles Sargeant Jagger (b.1885 Kilnhurst, near Rotherham) was celebrated for the war memorial commissions he produced following his active service in the First World War.

Many of his most famous works are in London, including the recently restored Royal Artillery Memorial, 1921-5 at Hyde Park Corner and the Great Western Railway War Memorial, 1922 in Paddington Railway Station. Charles Sargeant Jagger referred to this frieze as the best example of his wartime work.

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