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A Complete Portrait of Arthur Jeffress
The collector Arthur Jeffress lived just outside Winchester in the mid-1930s with John Deakin, later Francis Bacon’s favourite photographer. After the Second World War, Loraine Conran, curator of Southampton Art Gallery, arranged to borrow a large part of Jeffress’ collection including works by Picasso and de Chirico. Jeffress also lent a work by Jackson Pollock, the first ever shown in Britain.
Jeffress moved back to London, opened a gallery and bought a house in Venice. On his suicide in 1961 he bequeathed his collection to Southampton and Tate.
Gill Hedley, who worked at SCAG in the 1980s, has been working on Jeffress’ biography ever since: A Life in Art will be published by Bloomsbury in spring 2020. With loans from archives, Tate and private collections, this exhibition celebrates Jeffress’ complex, colourful life as a gay man and a collector.
Image credit: Graham Sutherland, Arthur Jeffress, 1955, oil on canvas