Published  30/11/-0001

Obituary: Joanna Drew

Obituary: Joanna Drew

Joanna Drew, a major and formative influence on British Art from the 1970s onwards died on 20 April 2003, aged 73. She became Director of Exhibitions at the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1975, having first joined in 1952 as an exhibitions organiser. She also organised major exhibitions with the Tate Gallery including Roland Penrose's 'Picasso' (1960) and his Miro show (1964). The Henry Moore exhibition at the Tate in 1968 (celebrating his 70th birthday) was curated by David Sylvester and organised by Drew. The Hayward Gallery, which opened in 1968, also provided her with a platform on behalf of the Arts Council. She followed Norbert Lynton as Director of Exhibitions at the Arts Council, and led the Hayward into a broader, international field. Memorable today especially was the exhibition of Islamic Art (1975) followed by North American Indian Art, (1976). And in 1978 she led the multi-talented team that put on 'Dada and Surrealism Reviewed'. She established important and lasting links with such galleries abroad as the Grand Palais in Paris, aided by her influential membership of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux; Drew was bilingual in French. Her special skills in the art world were developed at an early age, combining courses as art historian at Edinburgh University and practitioner at Edinburgh College of Art. Her understanding of artists was fundamental to her success. Apart from being honoured with a CBE in 1985, she also received many French honours. She never married and the large quantity of work she took home each evening indicated that she was, indeed, married to her vocation. At the same time, she retrained many now distinguished followers.

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