Friends of Clare Hall Art Society

Friends of Clare Hall Art Society (FCHAS) is a new initiative led by Helaine Blumenfeld OBE in support of art projects at Clare Hall. The College holds a significant art collection of mostly contemporary British artworks. FCHAS aims to strengthen and promote Clare Hall’s network of artists, art historians and Fellows from other disciplines from the UK and abroad with interest in the arts.  It is also an opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals with interest in art.

FCHAS events are free for members of the College and also members of the Friends of the Clare Hall Art Society. The general public is also welcome to attend these events by purchasing tickets through the event pages.

Statement from Helaine Blumenfeld OBE

I have long-held that Art is a vital force for regenerating society. Experiencing a work of art can inspire all those who engage with it, encouraging them to connect with the world around them.

Art is a direct form of communication that doesn’t depend on cultural or religious background. Clare Hall has a unique place in the University of Cambridge with its diverse membership of people from all over the world, from all backgrounds and with interests in all subjects. It is an ideal hot house for having this kind of experience in the power of art. Not only by having exhibitions but also by having a community of people dedicated to making this happen. Inviting artists, curators and critics to share their knowledge helps to extend the audience for art along with its understanding.

Clare Hall has hosted art exhibitions for a number of years, often showcasing emerging talent and regional artists as well as important artists on the national scene. I’ve increasingly felt that we needed a group of people to help spread the word and become advocates for this mission. For this reason, we’ve set up the FCHAS to provide a forum for artists to talk about their work, to share their experiences, and to energize the surrounding community thus extending the boundaries of people who appreciate and engage in the power of art.

I invite you to join us.

Helaine Blumenfeld is an American sculptress. She lives and works in the United Kingdom and Pietrasanta, central Italy. She designs large-scale sculptures in marble, which are then executed for her by Tuscan master sculptors. Examples of her work are in the collections of the Smithsonian, the Tate, at Clare College and Clare Hall in Cambridge, the Courtauld Gallery, as well as at various key locations in London. Blumenfeld completed a PhD at Columbia University in 1964 and then went to Paris to study art under Ossip Zadkine. Her first solo show was in 1966.  Blumenfeld is vice-president of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. In 2007 she won the Premio Pietrasanta nel Mondo, and she was awarded an honorary OBE in 2011. For news about her ongoing work, please see her website.

Next Event

Dr Tom Flynn

Talk and Art Viewing (title to be announced)

Please join us in the Richard Eden Suite (West Court, Clare Hall) on the 11 June at 5.30pm for a drinks reception.  The talk will start at 6.00pm followed by a hot buffet reception served in the Richard Eden Suite at 7.30pm.

Dr Tom Flynn is a UK-based art historian, critic and provenance researcher, specialising in the professional practices of the international art market, historical and contemporary sculpture, and issues in art crime and cultural heritage. He is a visiting lecturer at a number of UK and European universities. Between 2010-16 he was programme director of the RICS-Accredited MA programme in Art Appraisal (Professional Practice) at Kingston University, and adjunct professor and course director on the MA module on the International Art Market at Richmond, the American International University in London. He also teaches the International Art Market at the London and Paris-based IESA Masters course in Art Business. For the past seven years, he has contributed to the postgraduate certificate in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies run by the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art in Amelia, Italy. Tom is a former fine art auctioneer and valuer and art market journalist. A graduate of the University of Sussex and the Royal College of Art, he completed his doctorate at the University of Sussex, researching 19th-century critical reactions to the chryselephantine mixed-media sculpture of antiquity. He has written for numerous international art publications and has held board positions with art data company, and with, the limited-edition print publishers. His journalism has featured in most of the leading art journals and newspapers including, inter aliaThe Art NewspaperArt and AuctionApolloThe SpectatorThe Sculpture JournalARTnews, and Art Quarterly. He is a member of the International Association of Art Critics, has published widely on the global art market and art and design history, and has written a number of monographs on contemporary sculptors. He is also the founder of The Sculpture Agency, which promotes the work of contemporary sculptors.

Entrance fee - £10 (payable at the door). Attendance is free for members of the College and of the FCHAS. Please RSVP to


  • Helaine Blumenfeld OBE, Patron FCHAS
  • Dr Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes, Hon. Secretary FCHAS

Recent Events

29 April 2019

Rupert Edwards and Helaine Blumenfeld

Hard Beauty - talk and film

Rupert Edwards introduced his recent documentary Hard Beauty (2018) – a visual celebration of Helaine Blumenfeld’s work relying on unprecedented access to unique records and personal archives. 

‘Helaine Blumenfeld is one of the most respected sculptors of her generation and one of the art world's best-kept secrets. This is the first film about her life and work. Featuring sequences filmed in Paris, where Blumenfeld first learned her craft under the great Russian sculptor Ossip Zadkine; in Pietrasanta (Italy) – a sanctuary for sculptors since Michelangelo, and where Blumenfeld has a studio; and in the artist's hometown of Cambridge, this film shows the story of one of Britain's great unsung artists. It follows the creation of Blumenfeld's sculpture, Tree of Life: Encounter, from its conception in clay, to scaling up, 'roughing out' and finishing the marble, to installing the completed 10ft sculpture at the Woolf Institute's new headquarters at Westminster College, Cambridge, in February 2018. Timothy Potts, Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, who was interviewed by Rupert Edwards for this film concluded: "I am sure that Helaine's work will survive the test of time and she will have a place in 20th and 21st-century history"’ (imdb).


  • Helaine Blumenfeld OBE, Patron FCHAS
  • Dr Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes, Hon. Secretary FCHAS



Friends of the Clare Hall Art Society offers two annual membership categories:

  • Individual membership £40
  • Joint membership £60

Benefits include free attendance to all talks and one Formal Dinner in college.

For further information about joining the society, please contact Dr Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes at Alternatively, you can download a membership form here which can be sent to or in the post to our Development Office, Clare Hall, Herschel Road, CB3 9AL.

For enquiries regarding corporate membership please contact Dr Marie Janson at

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