The CIAS is an important force in contemporary visual arts culture in Ireland. As well as the purchase of artworks, it runs a regular programme of visits to public and private galleries, artists’ studios and private collections. The society also advises on the collection and display of Irish art, leading to a greater appreciation and understanding of the country’s dynamic contemporary visual arts movement.
The Contemporary Irish Art Society was founded in 1962 by such progressive figures as Gordon Lambert, Cecil King, Stanley Mosse, James White and Michael Scott, with Sir Basil Goulding as Chairman. The purpose of the society was to encourage a greater level of patronage of living Irish artists which, at the time, was extremely low. This was mainly achieved by raising funds to purchase artworks by living artists, which were then donated to public collections. The first purchase in 1962 was an important painting by Pat Scott, donated to the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, and funded by nine generous patrons who each put £10 in a hat, following a private view at the Dawson Gallery. Over the following 12 years the society purchased 37 works for the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, until in 1974, Dublin Corporation started to provide an annual purchasing fund for the gallery. The enthusiasm and vision of these founding members of the society was the catalyst which led to the development of many important art collections in Ireland. In 1980 the society assembled a collection of Works on Paper which was shown at the Sense of Ireland Festival and was subsequently presented to University College Dublin. The society has continued to support Irish artists through the purchase and donation of artworks to institutions throughout Ireland. Some 40 public institutions have received works by contemporary Irish artists, amongst them, the Crawford Gallery, Limerick Municipal Gallery, The Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, IMMA, as well as hospitals, and other official bodies.
JOINING THE CIAS
If you would like to join the Contemporary Irish Art Society, please fill out form below with your details (name, postal address, phone number and email) and stating which membership you would like to subscribe to.
Young Members (under 30) €15
image: Patrick Scott