Just then, Kasmin had been open about a year, and, that was like a very swish, lovely gallery, and yes, one, one had another show.
This was the gallery in Bond Street.
Bond Street, yes. It seemed enormous; it probably in retrospect, if we went in it now, might not see it as big. Because it was a great big open room, it’s like those Nolands were shown, like, the full length of them. It always seemed, it was quite unlike the other galleries. Whether it was as big as one felt it was then, I don’t know.
Kasmin was also something of a star, wasn’t he, amongst the sort of gallerists at that time?
Well, just then really.
This is the Sixties, and, and Kasmin is a figure.
Just then. Those days.
So, Kasmin had started with Victor Musgrave at Gallery One.
He was meant to be a beatnik poet who had come away from New Zealand, although originally he had been born in Oxford. He was really a runabout for Ida Kar, who was Musgrave’s, Victor Musgrave’s wife, at Gallery One, who took these very wond… she was very dramatic, but rather a wonderful photographer. Anyway, he was just an assistant. Then he went to the Marlborough. And very quickly, if you like, got the backing of Lord Dufferin, whose father had been killed in the war, and I think he had come into his money when he was twenty-one, if my memory’s right, and, it was tons of money, because it was Guinness, it was very big in those days. And, and they were both young.
And, yes, it was a very buoyant scene. I mean suddenly the whole world was totally different, like this wonderful gallery. I’m not sure even about the history of Hockney. Had the Marlborough turned Hockney down? But, again, Kasmin had been at one of those Young Contemporaries, and certainly, if you like, met Hockney. I can actually remember standing there when they were, Kasmin was excited about that tea painting of Hockney’s…
…in, in the Young Contemporaries for instance, which was a bit earlier. Yes, we’d all known each other from, from those mid-Fifties. And again, the scene was very very different in those days at Gallery One, like, people didn’t have money, if you walked in there you went upstairs and had baked beans and bacon and eggs or something. It was always totally relaxed and friendly. If you like, a very different scene to suddenly this explosive and confident thing of these two young people that had got together in a partnership, did tie up in a sense with Greenberg and New York too quite honestly if one looks back, and it was showing big Americans in London. And also, Kasmin took a lot of people that he had known through those other days, from about, 1956.
So when you joined Kasmin in ’65…
Might have been ’64, I’m not sure. I think probably ’64.
’64. This was, for you, quite an important career moment. I mean in the sense that, Kasmin was a star, there were lots and lots of international artists, the top young British artists were showing with him. It was a place to be seen and a place to be shown.
At the time, I don’t know how one thinks when one has an exhibition. I mean I suppose the first thing one thought was, well, yes, we always do sort of, like, get excited about places to hang work, and, I suppose quite honestly one would have been excited about the environment. Whether one was conscious of how glitzy and confident it was, I’m not clear about that. I mean, suddenly there was money and glamour, yes, in the sense of, openings, drink. Yes, and he always asked his artists. He was, he was very good like that, because he, he didn’t ask clients and, famous and important people, very much actually to dinners after the show. He’d just ask his artists a lot. And yes, I mean, certainly you’d sort of, go out, and there’d be Olitski or Frankenthaler or Robyn Denny and… Howard Hodgkin was actually at Tooth’s just about by then, but then came in half and half. But, yes, you just mixed. I don’t know whether you were that aware of, of quite what, you know, in a sort of, confident way what was happening or anything.
Your first show with Kasmin was actually in 1965.
I see. Yes. And by then my work did change, it’s rather strange.