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A century of selected works from the Schlee Collection on view at the Ben Uri Gallery and Museum
Gillian Ayres, Untitled (Abstract), pastel & charcoal on paper 45.7 x 49.8 cm 1962/63. Reproduced courtesy Gillian Ayres. Schlee Collection, Southampton.

LONDON.- Ben Uri announces No Set Rules, a collaborative exhibition with Southampton City Art Gallery which explores the limitless possibilities of working on paper. The exhibition brings together selected works from the Philip Schlee collection of drawings, prints and paintings by artists working in Britain between 1920 and 2004 with resonant works on paper from Ben Uri’s own collection.

Celebrating the richness and diversity of each collection, No Set Rules presents 51 works by 37 artists, seven of whom – Frank Auerbach, David Bomberg, Jane Joseph, Leon Kossoff, Michael Rothenstein, Glenn Sujo and Edward Toledano – are represented in both. The works cover a wide range of subject matter, techniques and practice, moving from figuration to abstraction to explore 100 years of expression on paper. Other artists include Craigie Aitchison, Gillian Ayres, Sandra Blow, Christopher Le Brun, Roger Hilton, David Hockney, Peter Lanyon, Sarah Lightman, Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, Elisabeth Tomalin and John Virtue.

No Set Rules initiates dialogues, grouping teachers, students, collaborators and strangers, and juxtaposing masters of monochrome with creators of dazzling sweeps of colour to show that drawing doesn’t necessarily begin or end with a pencil. This exhibition proves, as David Hockney once observed, that “there are no set rules in drawing”.

The Philip Schlee Collection brings together drawings, prints and paintings by 44 artists working between 1920 and 2004. It includes examples of life and observational drawings, landscapes, ideations and compositional sketches. The exhibition ‘Drawn together, Drawn apart’ (Southampton City Art Gallery, 2014) reflected the eclectic nature of the collection and of the artists’ own approaches to drawing. The exhibition featured work by, amongst others, Gillian Ayres, David Bomberg, Christopher Le Brun, Roger Hilton, David Hockney, Peter Lanyon, Henry Moore and Paul Nash.

Philip Schlee (1924–2001) assembled the collection with the assistance of his brother, the artist Nick Schlee (b. 1931), between 1992 and 2004. This extraordinary collection was generously gifted to Southampton City Art Gallery in November 2012 and became the second largest body of work given to the city.

Ben Uri will be running a series of events for families and audiences of all ages to accompany the exhibition.

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