The Sherwin Collection is acknowledged as being the largest collection of British Surrealist art in the country. Dr.Sherwin talks to Bridgeman about what inspired this collection and the importance of the works within the context of Modern British art
Dr. Jeffrey and Ruth Sherwin, 2008, The Sherwin Collection, Leeds, UK / Bridgeman Images
Q&A with Dr.Sherwin
Which three words would you use to describe your collection?
Dr. S: Academic; personal; eclectic.
What would you like your headstone to read?
Dr. S: ‘I think he moved.’
Will your collection ever be complete?
Dr. S: It all depends on what you mean by complete. Probably not, but my wife thinks the time has come to draw in my horns as we have no walls left to hang things on…but then again..!
Poster advertising the International Surrealist Exhibition Max Ernst (1891-1976)
Spanish Head, 1939 (Hoptonwood stone) by FE McWilliam (1909-92)
Organised primarily by Roland Penrose, David Gascoyne and Herbert Read – with the help of French surrealists such as Breton and Eluard – it featured work by Dalí, Míro and Ernst, as well as a number of British artists. Max Ernst designed the poster of which one is part of the Sherwin collection.
‘1936 was also the year of the Spanish Civil War, the year of the hunger marches, the year of Edward VIII’s abdication and the year I was born.’
Detail of ‘Mass at Pamplona’, 1937 by Andre Masson (1896-1987)
Eileen Agar was born to British parents in Argentina, moving back to England in 1906. She lived in Paris where she met the Surrealists André Breton and Paul Éluard and her work was selected for the International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936.
The sculpture Angel of Mercy was originally titled ‘The Politician’ and collaged in fur. It references its mythological theme in oddly painted swirls of colour, stars and Classics-style hair. Agar exhibited with the surrealists in England and abroad, experimenting with automatic techniques and new materials and making collages and objects.