• 27 September 2017

The new Drawing Room Display The Catalogue of the John Moores Painting Prize is now available to view for free duing the Centre's opening hours, Monday to Friday 10am - 5pm.

First held in 1957, the John Moores Painting Prize is named after the Liverpool businessman and philanthropist Sir John Moores (1896–1993). The competition culminates in an exhibition held at the Walker Art Gallery every two years and now forms a key component of the Liverpool Biennial Festival of Contemporary Art. John Moores inaugurated the competition to support artists and to bring the best contemporary painting from across the UK to Liverpool.

During its sixty-year history, the John Moores Painting Prize has displayed some of Britain’s greatest contemporary artistic talents. The printed catalogues that accompany each prize have also reflected distinctive moments in twentieth-century print design. This Drawing Room Display, held in celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the Prize’s creation, showcases the collection of these publications kindly donated to the Paul Mellon Centre’s Library by former Walker Art Gallery Director Timothy Stevens.

Between their covers these small catalogues contain rich histories of post-war British art. The works recorded within their pages represent the many schools and styles of an exciting, eventful, and often contentious epoch. They also document the Prize’s illustrious roster of jurors – a topic deserving of a cultural history of its own.

The catalogues are significant aesthetic and historical objects, with their covers illuminating trends in design and curatorial methodologies. They also hint at the status and importance of the Prize, as well as the vicissitudes of the institution that hosts it. This display focuses on the catalogues themselves, demonstrating the extent of our holdings and enticing researchers to delve into the pages to discover for themselves the fascinating histories of the John Moores Painting Prize.