A look back: curatorial insights

Despite the challenges faced, our team of curators and creatives brought you several remarkable new collections last year. We asked our in-house curatorial team to reflect on their 2021 highlights. Read the full interview below.

Q: King & McGaw launched so many exciting up-and-coming artists in 2021. Can you tell us about some of the artists you’ve brought on?

A: We worked closely with DACS Artimage (a not-for-profit digital platform dedicated to licensing exceptional contemporary art) to bring some great artists to our audience, such as Nick Gentry, Patrick Caulfield, Frank Bowling and David Shillinglaw, all part of our collection of Special Edition prints. We also launched three Limited Edition prints in the summer with collage artist Rosco Brittin which was very fun – he was great to work with. It’s always a pleasure to work with an artist directly to produce artwork. 

Q: King & McGaw also represents a lot of female artists. Can you tell us more about the creative women you represent?

A: As the museum world generally starts acknowledging female artists more, we have been publishing to coincide with big shows like Sophie Taeuber-Arp at Tate and also Hilma af Klint at Guggenheim. It's important for us to include more female artists from art history which is why we’ve also added Sandra Blow and Elisabeth Frink as part of our Tate range, and we have a few rare and signed pieces by Bridget Riley in our UNIQUE collection.

Q: Art deco designs by Tamara de Lempicka have always been popular with King & McGaw customers. Can you tell us more about your recent A. M. Cassandre launch?

A: Launching the collection of A. M. Cassandre prints was a true honour for us. We worked directly with Roland Mouron – A. M. Cassandre’s grandson and owner of the estate – on the selection and the images. It was really special for us to work in this way because we were able to honour how Roland wanted his grandfather’s work to be presented. He helped us choose the size, the paper quality, and the authorised embossing stamp which features on every print.

Q: You’ve also added to Hormazd Narielwalla’s Limited Editions, can you tell us more about his new ‘Dancing Dolls’?

A: Diamond Dancing Dolls are a pair of prints that celebrate David Bowie. They are based on Narielwalla’s signature collage images and explore the performer’s desire to transform into another self. Bowie admired many aspects of Japanese aesthetics, and the original collages are designed to stand like a series of Japanese shoji screens. Since Narielwalla has signed and numbered each of his double layer Diamond Dancing Doll lithographs, they’re quite special pieces. We’re really proud of them.

Q: It was wonderful to see King & McGaw reveal its collection of original Rare Theatre posters in 2021. Can you tell us more about the archive and the conservation of some of the pieces? 

A: Our Rare Theatre Posters are an amazing snapshot of the performing arts from the 1960s and 1970s. The posters were originally printed to be displayed publicly as advertisements for the shows, so they were essentially designed to be thrown-away after an event had ended. The fact that these posters have survived – and are in such great condition, showing very minimal signs of wear – is truly remarkable. We’re really lucky to have an expert archival framer on site who preserves these historical posters, keeping them safe for posterity.

Q: The new UNIQUE collection is a real treasure trove for art lovers and aspiring collectors. Can you tell us more about these rare pieces?

A: The artworks in our UNIQUE collection are very rare, collectible pieces from the archive. They have been acquired over 40 years of art publishing. The collection includes signed limited editions, rare silkscreens, and lithographic prints. As these pieces are so special to us, our designers take time to create a bespoke frame style for each piece. All the frames are handmade by our framing specialist, using archival materials and conservation techniques. It really helps bring each individual piece to life.

Q: You’ve added to the Galerie Mourlot collection, can you tell us more about these pieces?

A: We’ve had a relationship with Galerie Mourlot for almost 10 years. Galerie Mourlot (New York) is what remains today of the twentieth-century Parisian print studio L’Atelier Mourlot and it is run by Eric Mourlot, the grandson of the original founder.

All our Mourlot prints in our collection were printed in traditional stone lithography between 1950 and 1990 and are all now ‘out of print’, making them rare and collectible. Many of the items were produced as exhibition posters on lightweight paper designed to be pasted to walls and torn down, so any surviving posters are exceptional. Others were printed on luxurious print-making papers such as Arches and printed in limited runs. Each print has been preserved in the archive of Galerie Mourlot and comes with a certificate of authenticity signed and stamped by Eric Mourlot himself.

In 2021, we added works by Picasso, Miró and Braque, all of whom had long working relationships with Atelier Mourlot. A great example of this is the print ‘Composition Originale Pour Fernand Mourlot’ which was originally designed by Joan Miró as a gift for Fernand Mourlot in 1975 on his 80th Birthday. 

Q: King & McGaw has a long-standing relationship with Artestar in New York, can you tell us more about some of the launches you collaborated on in 2021?

A: Through our relationship with the Keith Haring Foundation we had the special opportunity to reproduce some of Keith Haring's original, iconic poster designs. Posters were an important part of Haring’s artistic output as they represented some of his core beliefs: that art should be easily accessible, affordable and relatable. For us, it is amazing to be able to re-release these posters to the public because it helps continue Haring’s legacy.

Q: What’s on the horizon for King & McGaw in 2022?

A: We have some very exciting plans for 2022. We are currently working with a guest curator who will be helping us launch our first ‘Curated Editions’ collection. We also have a few surprise releases lined up as we celebrate our big 40th anniversary. Watch this space!

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