Dorothy Morland

BookDorothy Morland

Dorothy Morland

Making ICA History

Value: Art: Politics, 16


March 18th, 2020



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This is the first full-length biography of Dorothy Morland (1906–99), to date the only female director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. Based on unpublished letters and other archival sources, as well as interviews and personal recollections, this book traces her busy private and public life from the 1930s up until the 1990s. It tells the story of one of the unacknowledged contributors to the success of the ICA and to the understanding of the international avant garde in post-war Britain. As a female arts administrator, Dorothy Morland’s work has been largely overlooked, and this book aims to highlight her significant contribution to the public understanding of modernism. She was part of a network which included the Surrealist Roland Penrose, art critic Herbert Read, architect Jane Drew and wealthy philanthropists, Peter Gregory and Peter Watson. She was also the protector and advocate for the Independent Group. Dorothy Morland always mixed business with pleasure (dancing with Picasso in Antibes while there on ICA business), and tirelessly oversaw the chaotic organisation that was the ICA in Dover Street from 1950 until 1968. After leaving the ICA she worked hard on assembly the organisation’s archives and securing their safekeeping at Tate.

Author Information

Professorial Fellow at the University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury.