Wilfred Cass was born in 1924 in Berlin into the highly cultured German family Cassirer. In 1938 he escaped Nazi Germany for England where his family shortened their name to Cass. With his enterprising nature he undertook many different challenges. After being managing director of Reeves Art London (artist materials), where he met Henry Moore, who’s work he started collecting, Wilfred set up his own artist materials company Cass Art. With his son Mark he set up the London franchise of the Image Bank (1979) which they sold to Getty Images in 2001. In 1987 he became CEO at Moss Bros (menswear) which he successfully re-organized until he retired in 1992.
Wilfred met Jeanette (1926) in 1983 and in 1991 they moved to the large Hat Hill House (architect Charles Kierly, 1960) and its vast grounds, where they could pursue their dream of the sculpture foundation. By selling their own sculptures of Henry Moore, Elisabeth Frink and Michael Ayrton they were able to fund the project. They commissioned the Scottish architect Craig Downie to design the sculpture and visitor centre.
The foundation commissions some fifteen new works a year and is closely involved in every step of the process, from conception to fabrication, exhibition and sale. All the sculptures that are displayed are for sale, consequently a constantly evolving display. Until now more than 400 works have been commissioned to British and international artists, like Sara Barker, Sir Anthony Caro, Tony Cragg, Andy Goldsworthy, Richard Long, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, Marc Quinn, Kiki Smith, Gavin Turk, Rachel Whiteread, Cathy De Monchaux, David Brooks and Viktor Timofeev, giving them a chance to explore their creativity in new directions.