Cliff Holden, original photograph by Bryan Long

Cliff Holden

Documents: 2006

AN UNPAID CULTURAL AMBASSADOR BETWEEN ENGLAND AND SWEDEN

The following article, which recently came to light in the archives, was written by Cliff in the early seventies.

Holden's memorial talk on David Bomberg, broadcast on the BBC Third Programme in 1958, was described a decade later by the art critic David Sylvester as "the most useful analysis of Bomberg to have appeared". An abridged edited version was published in 1967 in Studio International without any reference to the original broadcast of 10 years earlier.

In 1957 Holden started discussions which culminated in a gift of an Evert Lundquist painting, presented by the architect Nils Tesch, to the Tate Gallery. This meant that Lundquist was the first living Scandinavian artist to be represented in the United Kingdom.

After many years' discussion, slideshows, articles and radio talks Holden finally succeeded in showing Lundquist in 1960 and 1962 at the Beaux Arts Gallery with success. Ironically Helen Lessore, the owner and director of that gallery, was already exhibiting both Kossof and Auerbach, but did not show Holden, Mead, Creffield, Richmond or Bomberg.

Apart from Lundquist, Holden introduced the following Swedish artists to England: Strindberg, Palle Pernevi, Staffan Hallström, Axel Kargel, Gustav Sjöö, Inge Schiöler, Olle Carlström, Ebbe Reutercrona, Torsten Bergmark, Jimmy McFall, Peter Tillberg, Edwin Öström, Violet Tenberg and others.

Holden arranged, through Robert Erskine of the St. George's Gallery, travelling exhibitions of British Graphics in Sweden plus major shows of the sculptors Armitage, Chadwick and Reg Butler.

Holden introduced the architect Bo Boustedt to Henry Moore and together they arranged for a large reclining figure of Moore's to be brought to the city of Gothenberg. From these initial introductions Bo Boustedt went on to acquire the biggest and best private collection of sculpture in Europe.

[Page last updated: 8th May 2006]

© Cliff Holden 2004-2014