I first met Andras Kalman in 1959, when I owned the Rutland Gallery in London. He really was the first to say that we should take these kinds of Folk Art pictures seriously. An émigré from Hungary, he really wanted to show the British how important these works were. When I owned the Rutland Gallery I had ‘runners’ working for me who sourced many pictures for him and these make up about three quarters of the paintings which are now owned by Compton Verney.
I was interested in the powerful composition and the abstract quality of Folk Art or naïve art. It was the subject matter and humour that appealed to Andras Kalman, the fun of the outsize objects, and the interplay of scale.
I was very pleased to have the opportunity to donate three pictures from my personal collection to Compton Verney in 2014.
People often used to think these works were by artists who travelled round the country from place to place painting pictures, but there are generally only three or four pictures by each artist so this is very unlikely. Otherwise there would be more examples by an individual artist, and there doesn’t seem to be. They were unique, local painters. The main part of these artists’ time would have been spent working as plumbers or other trades, and we know this because some of their names appear in Trade Directories of the time.
A collector and owner of The Rutland Gallery in London, Christopher has been described by Robert Young as “a great visionary who sourced the best British naïve art”. He assisted Andras Kalman in forming the collection of Folk Art which is now Compton Verney’s British Folk Art Collection.
Author on Folk Art & Former Director of Judkyn Memorial at Freshford Manor, near Bath
Dealer & Collector
Kate Arnold Foster
Director, Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading
Artist and Curator
Andras Kalman's daughter
Curator of The Museum of English Naive Art 1988-1998
Writer, artist and publisher of decorative papers
Curator of of What the Folk Say at Compton Verney in 2011
Folk Art Specialist