Disbelief as museum snubs ‘gift’ painting

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MUSEUMS Sheffield has been criticised by one of its former directors after the trust refused an offer of a painting free of charge.

Julian Spalding, now an expert advisor to the Nerys Johnson Contemporary Art Fund, had arranged for the fund to pay the £8,000 cost of Tube Girlz, by Firth Park-based Mandy McCartin, which would then be offered for display in her home city.

But Museums Sheffield said the 1993 painting, which has been on display at the Walker Gallery in Liverpool, did not meet its criteria for new additions and ‘politely’ declined.

Mr Spalding said: “I was gobsmacked. I can’t believe they turned down a gift.”

Mandy, aged 54, who has been an artist from the age of 19, said: “I’m a working class artist and have always painted life around me - people visit my paintings who wouldn’t normally go to a gallery.

“The art world has turned away from ordinary people. I’m quite incredulous that Museums Sheffield won’t show the painting.”

Mandy, who has had work exhibited in galleries including Battersea Arts Centre, London, has since received an offer to have Tube Girlz displayed at Snig Hill art gallery.

She added: “The art world has turned away from ordinary people. I’m quite incredulous that Museums Sheffield won’t show the painting.”

A Museums Sheffield spokesman said: “We are always open to new additions and have recently added a number of new contemporary art works, however in this instance, we didn’t feel the painting offered met the essential criteria and so politely refused.”