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From Ruskin to Nietzsche: Michael Sadler and the Leeds Arts Club

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery

Tuesday, 3 June 2014 from 18:00 to 20:00 (BST)

From Ruskin to Nietzsche: Michael Sadler and the Leeds Arts...

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Tom Steele Talk Ended Free  

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A Leeds Big Bookend Event! With author and academic Tom Steele.

When he arrived in Leeds to become Vice Chancellor in 1911, Michael Sadler was probably the leading educationalist in Britain bringing with him one of the largest and most progressive private collections of contemporary paintings of any British collector.  Many of these were hung around the walls of the University and for many students these were their first contact with 'Modern Art'. 

Sadler's project was to transform the young University into a leading educational and cultural centre; cultivating local societies, making close links with industrialists to endow professorial chairs and create scholarships and encouraging whatever cultural talent he found in the wasteland of Leeds, then thought of as one of the ugliest towns in Britain. His art collection and charisma attracted the challenging art critic, Frank Rutter,  to the post of Director of Leeds Art Gallery and together they turned the Leeds Arts Club  into the foremost provincial centre for the promotion and practice of post-impressionist painting and theory.  

Were the educationalist and the arts patron at one with each other? This talk attempts to demonstrate the idea that the patron was also the educator and that the educationalist was trying to revolutionise the local and national culture. He was a both the Ruskinian who would leave 'no Giotto among the sheepfolds' and the Nietzschean Modern for whom the 'intense and silent power of dynamos and turbines' were a vital element of a futurist aesthetic.

This is a free event open to all.  Places are limited however so pleasedo  book in advance. 

Following an impressive academic career Tom Steele is now a Senior Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow, although he lives locally in the West Riding. Tom studied Philosophy and English at Leeds University as an undergraduate and completed an M.Phil. in the School of English in 1973 and a PhD. in Cultural Studies and Sociology in 1990, ending his academic career as Reader in History and Theory of Adult Education at the University of Glasgow in 2003, which many more academic succeses in between. He has published widely on adult education and modern British and European cultural history. His books include the renowned 'Alfred Orage and the Leeds Arts Club' Scolar Press (1990, reprinted 2009). His latest book, with Richard Taylor, is  'British Labour  and Higher Education 1945-2000: Ideology, Policy and Practice' London, Continuum, (2010). Though now retired, Tom Steele continues to work on aspects of Alfred Orage, Herbert Read and their circles in Leeds and London as well as histories of political and artistic radicalism in Leeds.

For more information about the Leeds Big Bookend Festival 2014 and to dowload a full copy of their programme visit the festival website.

Do you have questions about From Ruskin to Nietzsche: Michael Sadler and the Leeds Arts Club? Contact The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery

When & Where



The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery
Woodhouse Ln

LS2 9JT

United Kingdom

Tuesday, 3 June 2014 from 18:00 to 20:00 (BST)


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The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery

A hidden gem at the heart of the University of Leeds campus, the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery offers both innovative temporary exhibitions and displays treasures from the University Art Collection.

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