About John Knewstub Maurice Rothenstein
From 1938 to 1964 Sir John Rothenstein was director of the Tate Gallery in London. Rothenstein's directorship — the longest to date — was a period of relative stagnation for the gallery, as there were few major bequests or expansions of the building. The Tate's annual purchase fund could not compete with those of US institutions, so few works of modern foreign art were added to the collection. Rothenstein was publicly dismissive of the influence of the School of Paris, stating that Picasso was overrated and had been a critic of the Vorticists. According to Richard Cork one of Rothenstein's errors was failing to purchase Henri Matisse's The Red Studio when it was offered to the Tate Gallery for a few hundred pounds in 1941. The art historian Douglas Cooper began an open campaign to have Rothenstein dismissed by the trustees; which led to an incident in which Rothenstein punched Cooper in the face. In any context Rothenstein's stewardship and preservation of the collection during the war years was a major accomplishment. The Tate also began to host temporary exhibitions during this period, organised by the Arts Council of Great Britain, including a major retrospective of Picasso.