Jerwood fall-out threatens Hastings gallery

A “family” row is threatening the future of the award-winning Jerwood Gallery in Hastings, with the venue’s sponsors, the Jerwood Foundation, withdrawing its collection of British art and financial support.

The Jerwood Gallery was built by the foundation as a showcase for its collection and temporary exhibition space, opening in 2012. Since then the charitable foundation has given more than £2.5m in grants.

The gallery is now expected to change its name, and has received a repossession notice from the foundation for the 300 artworks the gallery holds, by artists such as Frank Brangwyn, David Bomberg, Augustus John, Stanley Spencer, L S Lowry, Craigie Aitchison and Maggie Hambling.  

The dispute is understood to centre on the belief of the foundation’s chairman, Alan Grieve, that the gallery was not making enough effort to raise replacement funding for the foundation’s grant, which was due to end in 2019, and that the gallery had not followed his suggestion of appointing a business manager.

However the gallery, a charity in its own right, is now in receipt of an annual £100,000 Arts Council grant and is in discussions with ACE and other potential partners for more funding.

A spokesperson for the gallery said its trustees were committed to keeping it open. “The gallery has built a name for itself through its temporary exhibitions programme, often in partnership with national institutions such as Tate and the National Gallery” they said. “The departure of the Jerwood collection will allow the gallery to use the full potential of its remarkable building, offering a broader range of exhibitions for the different audience groups it has built”.

The split will be a particular sadness for Grieve, now 91, who set up the foundation as a charitable public art entity in 1977 in the name of the late pearl magnate John Jerwood. Grieve, who had been Jerwood’s lawyer, accumulated the collection with shrewd buying, and chose the Hastings site for the £5m gallery to show the work. It was designed by his son, Tom Grieve of HAT Architects, and received an RIBA award in 2013.

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