22 November 2010
PURE GOLD: 50TH ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION OF
THE FEDERATION OF BRITISH ARTISTS
INCLUDES WORKS BY EDGAR DEGAS, WALTER SICKERT, JOHN SINGER
SARGENT AND AUGUSTUS JOHN
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Federation of British Artists (FBA), in
February 2011 the Mall Galleries is hosting Pure Gold, an exhibition to celebrate
the rich history of the nine art societies that make up the FBA. Significant works
from past members of these societies will be on display alongside a showcase of
outstanding works of art by current member artists.
Though the Federation was founded in February 1962, the individual societies that
make up the FBA date back to 1807, so the exhibition will consist of notable
British artists from the 19th century to present day. Pure Gold will chart the
progress of each society, highlighting the departure with mainstream arts
movements and the Royal Academy that led to the creation of these alternative art
Major public and private collections have loaned these works to the Mall Galleries
for the purpose of the exhibition, which includes four works on loan from the Tate’s
collection: The Mirror by William Orpen, Mrs Frederick Barnard by John Singer
Sargent, Almond Trees, Le Lavandou by Lucien Pissarro and St Mark’s, Venice by
The 50th anniversary of the FBA coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Mall
Galleries on The Mall, where the FBA is based.
The launch of the FBA’s digital archive will coincide with the exhibition’s opening,
and records from the FBA’s history, as well as artefacts from artists’ studios (such
as that of William Orpen) will also be on display.
A celebratory publication will accompany the exhibition. Ends.
For more information and images contact:
Amelia Redgrift, Marketing & Press Officer
020 7968 0955 / 07859 039 679
Press view 8 February 12pm
Open 9 to 19 February 2011, 10am-5pm daily (Admission free)
Pure Gold: 50 years of the FBA
The Mall (near Trafalgar Square), London SW1
Tel: 020 7930 6844
The Federation of British Artists consists of nine art societies, all of whom are
based at the Mall Galleries. The societies are:
New English Art Club
Founded in 1885 by a group of young London artists who were dissatisfied with the exhibition
potential of the very academic Royal Academy. Notable artists members include: John Singer
Sargent, Walter Sickert, Sir William Orpen, Paul Nash and Lucien Pissaro.
Founded in 1898, early members included Edgar Degas, Auguste Rodin, William Rothenstein
and George Frederick Watts.
Royal Institute of Oil Painters
Founded in 1882. Artists who have shown work in ROI exhibitions include: Alma Tadema,
Walter Sickert, John Macwhirter, Dame Laura Knight, Fantin Latour, Adrien Hill, Ann Redpath
and Auguste Rodin.
Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours
The beginnings of the RI can be traced back to 1807 with the formation of the New Society of
Painters in Water Colours. RI exhibitions attracted some of the foremost watercolorists of the
time including, J.M.W. Turner, Peter de Wint and John Sell Cotman.
Royal Society of British Artists
Established in 1823 as an alternative to the Royal Academy, its first two exhibitions were held
in 1824. Prominent members of the RBA include: James Whistler, Henry John Boddington and
Royal Society of Marine Artists
Founded in 1939 after the Earl of Cork and Orrey suggested the formation of a formal society,
which became the Royal Society of Marine Artists.
Royal Society of Portrait Painters
Founded in 1891 by artists dissatisfied with the selection policies of the Royal Academy, its
first exhibition was held in 1891. Early members include: John Everett Millais, George
Frederick Watts, John Singer Sargent and James McNeill Whistler.
Society of Wildlife Artists
Founded in 1964 by a group of artists including Sir Peter Scott who wanted to take advantage
of the widespread and growing interest in natural history. The society aim to advance the
public appreciation of works of art depicting wildlife, as well as nurture the public interest in
The Hesketh Hubbard Art Society is a group of artists who meet on a weekly basis in the
Mall Galleries for an untutored life drawing session.