DRAF is responsible for the David Roberts Collection. Started in the mid 1990s, the Collection currently comprises over 2,000 works. It focuses on contemporary works but also includes some modern works. It is not focused on a specific medium, generation or geographical area.

01 Artists

The David Roberts Collection includes works by more than 600 artists, including: 

Caroline Achaintre, Horst Ademeit, Craigie Aitchinson, Doug Aitken, Ozlem Altin, Danai Anesiadou, Ida Applebroog, Charles Avery, John Baldessari, Miroslaw Balka, Fiona Banner, Sara Barker, Phyllida Barlow, Yto Barrada, Nina Beier, Neil Beloufa, Walead Beshty, Huma Bhabha, Pierre Bismuth, Karla Black, Peter Blake, Katinka Bock, Louise Bourgeois, Carol Bove, Martin Boyce, Boyle Family, Mark Bradford, Candice Breitz, Cecily Brown, Peter Buggenhout, Daniel Buren, Gerald Byrne, Miriam Cahn, Varda Caivano, Anthony Caro, Maurizio Cattelan, Patrick Caulfield, Etienne Chambaud, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Marieta Chirulescu, Dan Colen, George Condo, Quilla Constance AKA Jennifer Allen, Nigel Cooke, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Keith Coventry, Tony Cragg, Michael Craig-Martin, Martin Creed, Gregory Crewdson, John Currin, Aaron Curry, Keren Cytter, Dexter Dalwood, Enrico David, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Richard Deacon, Michael Dean, Wim Delvoye, Thomas Demand, Jason Dodge, Peter Doig, Tara Donovan, Alex Dordoy, Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Shannon Ebner, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Tracey Emin, Inka Essenhigh, Cerith Wyn Evans, Valie Export, Ayan Farah, Tessa Farmer, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Spencer Finch, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Lucian Freud, Simon Fujiwara, Barnaby Furnas, Cyprien Gaillard, Neil Gall, Ellen Gallagher, Dora GarcÌa, Theaster Gates, Kendell Geers, Gilbert and George, Adrian Ghenie, Luigi Ghirri, Jim Goldberg, Douglas Gordon, Antony Gormley, Laurent Grasso, Rodney Graham, Harry Gruyaert, Subodh Gupta, Andreas Gursky, Philip Guston, Marcus Harvey, Mona Hatoum, Eberhard Havekost, Raphaele Hefti, Jeppe Hein, Lothar Hempel, Eva Hesse, Damien Hirst, Alexander Hoda, Jenny Holzer, Jonathan Horowitz. Thomas Houseago, Peter Howson, Zhang Huan, Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler, Graham Hudson, Des Hughes, Marine Hugonnier, Gary Hume, Bethan Huws, Pierre Huyghe, Nathan Hylden, Jorg Immendorff, Matthew Day Jackson, Richard Jackson, Sergej Jensen, Renaud Jerez, Chantal Joffe, Rashid Johnson, Jitish Kallat, Anish Kapoor, Ian Kiaer, Anselm Kiefer, Martin Kippenberger, Leon Kossoff, Yayoi Kusama, Gerald Laing, Jim Lambie, Michael Landy, Elad Lassry, John Latham, Lars Laumann, Bob Law, Leigh Ledare, Sol Lewitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Liliane Lijn, George Henry Longly, Nate Lowman, Sarah Lucas, Nina Beier & Marie Lund, Markus Lupertz, Tala Madani, Lee Maelzer, Benoit Maire, David Maljkovic, Victor Man, Mark Manders, Christian Marclay, Kris Martin, Patrizio Di Massimo, Paul McCarthy, Bruce McLean, Susan Meiselas, Marilyn Minter, Joan Miro, Donald Moffett, Jonathan Monk, Henry Moore, Katy Moran, Helmut Newton, Roman Ondak, Julian Opie, Tony Oursler, Eduardo Paolozzi, Marlo Pascual, A.R. Penck, Grayson Perry, Seth Pick, Pablo Pijnappel, Falke Pisano, Reto Pulfer, Marc Quinn, Nathaniel Rackowe, Benedict Radcliffe, Rashid Rana, Man Ray, Paula Rego, Tobias Rehberger, Anselm Reyle, Manuela Ribadeneira, Gerhard Richter, Bridget Riley, Damien Roach, Pietro Roccasalva, James Rosenquist, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Doris Salcedo, Wilhelm Sasnal, Thomas Scheibitz, Markus Schinwald, David Schutter, Indre Serpytyte, George Shaw, Raqib Shaw, Conrad Shawcross, Cindy Sherman, Erin Shirreff, Yinka Shonibare, Jamie Shovlin, David Shrigley, Santiago Sierra, Lorna Simpson, Dirk Skreber, Andreas Slominski, Anj Smith, Bob & Roberta Smith, Kaspar Sonne, Simon Starling, John Stezaker, Catherine Sullivan, Eve Sussman, Adam Thompson, Mark Titchner, Wolfgang Tillmans, Ryan Gander and Mario Garcia Torres, Rosemarie Trockel, Oscar Tuazon, William Turnbull, Ian Tweedy, Keith Tyson, Fredrik Vaerslev, Lesley Vance, Joana Vasconcelos, Banks Violette/ Gardar Eide Einarsson, Ulla von Brandenburg, Danh Vo, Mark Wallinger, Andy Warhol, Rebecca Warren, Gary Webb, Ai Weiwei, Franz West, Michael Wilkinson, Feng Zhengjie, Jakub Julian Ziolkowski, Thomas Zipp. 

02 Collection Postcards


Collection Postcards are weekly stories from the David Roberts Collection.


Rosemarie Trockel
Oh Mystery Girl 3, 2006
mixed media
67.5 x 57 x 3.8 cm

From a distance the composition of Rosemarie Trockel’s collage Oh Mystery Girl 3 could be read as a vanity mirror, with the two flesh-coloured pink ears like pressed blusher powder or a make-up sponge applicator resting on the side of two reflective silver discs. Look more closely and the dish-like shapes reveal two blurred, distorted skulls.

When Matthew McLean wrote about the work for DRAF in 2016 he noted that the phrase ‘oh mystery girl’ sounded like a lyric, so set about finding out from which song it would have originated from. “The best result I can find is a question posted on a forum: ‘Mystery girl (what is the name of this song?)’. A commenter responds that the song in question is in fact Promiscuous Girl (2006) by the singer Nelly Furtado”.

Vanity, death, mystery and promiscuity. All of these are themes that can be read into Trockel’s wider body of work, with her art addressing feminisms and identity, sexuality, and the human body. Since the early 1970s, she has produced an impressive body of work that includes drawing, collage, installation, ‘knit paintings’, ceramics, video, furniture, clothing, and books. In this collage, the distorted and pasted together imagery may mean that the body of the mysterious ‘girl’ Trockel is alluding is absent, but the female presence is very much felt.



Charles Avery
Untitled (Place de la Revolution), 2011
pencil, ink and acrylic on paper
240 x 416 cm

Untitled (Place de la Revolution) is a large drawing, over 4 meters in length, chronicling the activity on a busy square. Cyclists converge before peddling off along their own routes, kids are playing and there is a shopping centre in the background (slide for details). The drawing forms part of a singular world-building project that Charles Avery has been developing since 2004, through depictions of an imaginary island. ‘The Islanders’ charts the formation of Avery’s fiction through drawings like this one, sculptures, texts, ephemera and occasionally 16mm animations, as well as live interventions into our own world. In 2017 for Art Night Avery showed objects and characters from his fictional Island across east London including sculptures, performers, a flyposting campaign and the transformation of a café in St Katherine Docks into a landmark from the Island.

Avery is also the selector of our current On Screen Special: Beer by Erik van Lieshout. This programme invites artists that feature in the David Roberts Collection to select and introduce a moving image work from a peer they admire. Explaining his choice Avery writes “Erik’s strategy when making a film is generally to embed himself in a place, situation or community and, with great economy of means, use anything that happens to come his way, material or mental, to weave a story.” This points to Avery’s interest in van Lieshout’s work being grounded in similar methods of constructing narratives.


Philip Guston
Drive, 1969
oil on panel
signed (on the reverse)
67.3 x 61 cm

One of Guston’s earliest figurative works in the bold cartoonish style he become known for, ‘Drive’ is also an early introduction to a figure of evil that he would paint often in his career – the white hooded Klansman. With these paintings Guston sought to take on the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacy and incite the question “What it would be like to be evil?”.

The title ‘Drive’ points to the car, represented as a brown murky mound that the white hooded figure sticks out of like a snow topped peak, emerging from the mud with pink fleshy hands in thick oil paint. Perhaps though it also calls into question Guston’s motif and thinking at the time. What drove him to depict evil and eternalise such a violent character time and again?

Painted against the backdrop of the civil rights movement and social and political violence in America, Guston’s Ku Klux Klan paintings are regarded as his attempt to tell the story of a country that had “run afoul of its democratic promise”, and hold a mirror up to fellow white Americans, including himself, about systemic racism.

As Craig Burnett, author of ‘Philip Guston: The Studio’ (2014/2020), wrote in a Study of the work for DRAF “What makes Drive a remarkable painting is how rough and personal it is: it’s a mumbled prayer, damp and heartfelt. In this little icon, Guston imagined himself emerging from the earth – half monster, half artist – and plotting a course for the rest of his life.”




Bruce McLean, Pose Piece for Three Plinths Work, 1971


Bruce McLean
Pose Piece for Three Plinths Work, 1971
fifteen photographs, mounted on card
one signed and dated (on the reverse)
each photograph: 10 x 15.5 cm

Pose Piece for Three Plinths Work started life in 1971 as a performance that hardly anybody saw and was made almost by accident.

At the time, McLean had a solo exhibition at Situation, a gallery in London, where he changed the content of the show almost daily. When the exhibition first opened he used 40-odd plinths, all borrowed from Tate. After these were returned, three plinths were left behind.  McLean then “just got onto the plinths and thought to make a work for the plinths. Someone has (sic) taken photographs of me doing this” (McLean quoted in DRAF Study #3., 2013)

So whilst these photographs were originally made as documentation of an event, they became a work in their own right when McLean decided to put all 15 of them on the wall as part of the same evolving exhibition at Situation.

Featured in the most recent edition of Scottish Art News, David Roberts names this work a standout piece in his collection. Pose Piece speaks to the history of performance alongside an interplay between an object-based collection and live events which DRAF’s programming also explores.




Abstract red and blue painting

Rita Ackermann
Fire by Days VI, 2011
oil and spray paint on linen
233.7 x 167.6 cm

Fire by Days (2011) is a series of 44 paintings and works on paper which began as an accidental spill of paint on Ackermann’s studio floor. She mopped up the spill using a Hungarian fire safety poster. Of the forms and shapes that the wipes left Ackermann said “hastily cleaning up a mess of paint on a surface suggested something that wasn’t a figure or a face, but rather both, or abstract” (quoted from Hauser and Wirth, ‘Fire By Days’ exhibition text). The series title is inspired by a line in French poet Roger Gilbert-Lecomte’s ‘Vacancy in Glass’ [extract]:

To a palace made
Of wind
To a palace whose towers
Are pillars of fire by day

Roger Gilbert-Lecomte (1907 – 1943)
In Black Mirror: The Selected Poems of Roger Gilbert-Lecomte

Born in Hungary in 1968, Ackermann came to New York City to study painting in the mid 90s and has been based there ever since. Her gestural and abstracted paintings are marked by a fascination with American cultural archetypes; socialites, cowboys, car crashes and erotic symbols have all found their way woven into her paintings. As suggested by her quote about semi-figurative shapes, her work is often classed within the Abstract Expressionist movement. Her works are full of movement, making it easy to trace the gesture of her hand in painting.




Plug socket sculpture made from marble

Tatsuya Kimata
Double, 2006
white marble and metal screws
14.6 x 8.5 x 1.4cm

Tatsuya Kimata’s Double is aptly named, not just because of the two sockets, but because you may need to do a double take when spotting this discrete work installed. Masquerading as the familiar plastic plug socket, this intricately made sculpture has been carved from pure white marble.

Kimata transforms everyday objects, common ‘white goods’ found around the house including socks and cups into beautiful marble artworks, finding baroque opulence in what might otherwise be seen as mundane objects.

To double, or to be a stand-in, is usually an act of blending into the surrounding environment unnoticed. The dimensions of this artwork are therefore the exact same as a standard plug, so it can be installed on the wall unassumingly.




Ida Applebroog
Independence Plaza, 1979-80
ink and rhoplex on vellum, in two parts
each: 220 x 160 cm

The two images that together form Independence Plaza (1979-80) are an early example of American artist Ida Applebroog’s window pieces. These comic-like works show voyeuristic domestic dramas, visible behind half-drawn blinds. The scenes have been used by Applebroog to make sharp social commentary on life in New York City in the Seventies and Eighties, particularly in relation to gender, sexuality and power.

Independence Plaza is made on vellum, a type of parchment made from calfskin. The material has a translucency which is extra apparent if light shines through the big white blinds that dominate the scenes. When the works were first exhibited in New York in 1980 they were installed in the window frames of the gallery, with the interior relationships spilling out on to the street.

Applebroog has compared drawing to the ease of making instant coffee, but this supposed effortless is matched by great technical skill and an ability to challenge the status quo. Over the years it has made her a big player in the feminist art movement, who has not shied away from discussions around mental health