Eduardo Paolozzi’s Vast Archive Donated to Tate

Eduardo Paolozzi Newton (1995) at the British Library, London Photo: John McCullough via Wikimedia Commons

The Eduardo Paolozzi Foundation has donated the artist’s private archive to Tate, the Guardian reported. The donation encompasses hundreds of boxes filled with drawings, collages, notebooks, and other ephemera and is one of the most significant archives given to the institution to date.

The material had filled the sculptor’s chaotic studio in London’s Chelsea until his death in 2005. Adrian Glew, the Tate’s archivist, said that Paolozzi’s belongings were stacked “almost floor to ceiling,” and consisted of “games, puzzles, TV circuitry, computer and transistor boards, optical instruments, piano keys, Lego, shoes, teeth, die, beads, bobbins, matches, chocolate molds, rubber stamps, playing cards, gramophone records, film and audio tapes.” Glew added that it was “a real privilege” to see the items inside the artist’s studio before they were transported to Tate.

Paolozzi amassed the vast trove of quotidian objects—which even included old bus tickets and discarded cigarette cartons—to spur his inspiration. However, Toby Treves, a former curator and a trustee of the Eduardo Paolozzi Foundation said, “to say that he was a hoarder would be wrong. It was just that he saw possibilities in so many things around him in terms of how they might feed into something that he was doing.”

Regarded by many as one of the most important figures in British pop art, Paolozzi’s influence continues to be felt in artists’ work today. The donation coincides with the imminent release of a major biography on Paolozzi written by former Tate curator Judith Collins, to be published on October 20.


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