The collection and archive put together by Jane MacAllister and Justin Dukes has been thought of by many as of major importance to the Scottish Nation - a unique cultural record of the latter part of the 20th century. Highlights inclued pieces by Romanian artist Paul Neagu, his Royal Hyphen fetching £11,250 and Star Heads reaching £5,500 on the day. William Jackson tells us more about the collection.
Jane Macallister was firstly assistant and then Deputy Artistic Director of The Richard Demarco Gallery during the heady years of great creativity in the 1980s. She made Richard’s ideas and vision work, and communicated this to an ever expanding Scottish and International audience. It was the era when they brought many of the heavyweight artists, critics and curators of the world to Edinburgh during the Festival, transforming the City’s image from that of often the mediocre to excellence.
In 1990 she married Justin Dukes, who had been the youngest joint Managing Director of the FT Group and was then the founding Managing Director of Channel 4. With Justin’s sudden death in 2008, Jane is now devoting her time to their two children and a new career; hence the sale of the Collection.
The collection consisted of over 150 paintings, works on paper, prints, posters and sculptures, some personally gifted or autographed, all of which reflected the energy and range of the Demarco Gallery’s activities, and represented a unique record of the exhibition programme during this period. Local heroes included works by Byrne, Crozier, Demarco, Douthwaite, Hamilton Finlay ,Hanson, Howson, Knox, McCann, McNeish, Wyllie and Yule. The internationalists included works by Beuys, Christo, Calonder, Flanagan, Hambling, Neagu, Newcomb, Rabinowitch, Swan and Uecker.
The archive was even more extraordinary and contained many rare brochures, catalogues, leaflets and letters, some personally inscribed. But the star lot, sold for £5000, was the 104 letters written to Jane between 1981 and 1995 by the renowned poet George Mackay Brown. These were a personal dialogue between Jane MacAllister and Mackay Brown and offered a unique record of the gallery’s history of which there is no equal - William Jackson
At a personal level, I well remember Richard introducing me to Hans Albert Peters, who was then Director of the Kunstmuseum in Dusseldorf, at Demarcation, held at the Edinburgh College of Art in the early 1980s. This resulted in the sale of the major Ian Hamilton Finlay sculpture, Nine Columns, the first of several pieces I sold to German Museums during this period. As a competitor, colleague and friend, I shall never forget Richard and Jane’s generosity.
Proprietor and Managing Director of Aitken Dott, Edinburgh, 1975-1992
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