Cass Sculpture Foundation has a been pivotal in launching the careers of modernist sculptors over the past three decades.

Sir Anthony Caro, Goodwood Steps at Sotheby's Beyond Limits, Chatsworth House, 2013

Wilfred Cass’ great uncles Paul and Bruno Cassirer were important figures in the art world of the early 20th Century. Their gallery was largely responsible for bringing French Impressionism to Germany – Degas, Monet and Cezanne were just a few of the artists whose work they introduced to Berlin, along with Munch and Van Gogh. The Berlin Secession was an iconoclastic movement that championed new trends in art. The family history of working with avant-garde artists inspired Wilfred and Jeanntte Cass to work with contemporary artists. The Cassirers fled Nazi Germany in 1938 to the UK, where the family name was shortened to Cass.

It was not until Wilfred was an adult that he really appreciated the extent to which promoting and collecting cutting-edge art ran in the family. One character that made a great impression on Wilfred was Jim Ede, former curator of the Tate Gallery. When Wilfred met Jim he was in the process of setting up Kettles Yard, and it was there that Wilfred encountered for the first time a subsequent generation of radical artists, in the form of works by Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. Works that in future years Wilfred and his wife Jeannette would go on to collect and sell, to fund the establishment of Cass Sculpture Foundation. 

Wilfred and Jeannette Cass retired to West Sussex in 1990but after only a few years of retirement decided to embark on a new venture.

After initial years of research and visits to other sculpture parks such as the Kröller- Müller in the Netherlands, Louisiana in Denmark and Hakone in Japan, Cass Sculpture Foundation was fully realised in 1992 as a not-for-profit organisation with the mission to inspire and enable creativity in contemporary sculpture. 

Wilfred and Jeannette Cass remain active in the organisation to this day.

Since its establishment, Cass Sculpture Foundation has championed the careers of some of the UK’s leading contemporary artists including Anthony Caro, Tony Cragg, Andy Goldsworthy, Mark Quinn, Gavin Turk, Rachel Whiteread, Eduardo Paolozzi, and many others. Each new commission acts as a catalyst for sculptors, creating new creative and professional opportunities.

Works commissioned by CASS have been exhibited and acquired by cultural institutions in the UK and abroad, including:

Peggy Guggenheim (Venice), Ekebergparken (Oslo), Tate Britain (London) State Hermitage (St Petersburg), The Victoria and Albert Museum (London), The Natural History Museum (London), The Science Museum (London), Exhibition Road (London), Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Holland Park Festival

Read more about the history of the Cass family in ‘Here comes Mr Cass’, the autobiography of Wilfred Cass.


Anthony Caro