St Ives and British Modernism: The George and Ann Dannatt CollectionSt Ives and British Modernism: The George and Ann Dannatt Collection

European Abstract Art

The George and Ann Dannatt Collection is predominantly composed of artworks by British artists, but it also includes works by several Europeans, which reflect the international spirit of abstract art in the twentieth-century and the influences that cross national borders.

George and Ann Dannatt were regular visitors to France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, in particular to Basel in Switzerland and Cuxhaven in Germany, where Dannatt exhibited his own abstract artworks. The Dannatt Collection includes works by Jean Helion, Jean Arp, Hans Hartung and Victor Vasarely which all have an emphasis on linear forms and mark-making. In the case of Eduardo Chillida, the two etchings on display here have a graphic quality akin to the shapes of his monumental sculptures, and relate to the bronzes by the British artist Robert Adams in the Dannatt Collection on display upstairs in Room 9.

The absence of colour in all these works allows for a greater focus on the formal qualities of the images. This is particularly the case with the pairing of two prints by the French artist Pierre Soulages who is known as the ‘painter of black'. In fact his use of the colour is intended to allow an exploration of light.