National Gallery of Ireland | Accidentally Wes Anderson

National Gallery of Ireland

Dublin, Ireland | C.1854

Photo Credit: Cassandra Daye

The National Gallery of Ireland (Irish: Gailearai Naisiunta na heireann) houses the national collection of Irish and European art. It is located in the centre of Dublin with one entrance on Merrion Square and another on Clare Street. It was founded in 1854 and opened its doors ten years later.

In 1853 the Great Industrial Exhibition was held on the lawns of Leinster House in Dublin. Among the most popular exhibits was a substantial display of works of art organized and underwritten by the railway magnate William Dargan. The enthusiasm of the visiting crowds demonstrated a public love for art, and it was decided to establish a permanent public art collection as a lasting monument of gratitude to Dargan.

The Gallery was not founded around an existing collection, and thus opened with just 112 paintings. In 1866 an annual purchase grant was established and by 1891 space was already limited. Numerous substantial donations were made prompting the construction of the Milltown Wing in 1903, and further expansion in 1962 now named the Beit Wing.

In 1978 the Gallery received the paintings given to the nation by Chester Beatty and in 1987 the Sweeney bequest brought fourteen works of art including paintings by Picasso and Jack B. Yeats.

In March 2011, the Office of Public Works (OPW), in association with the Gallery, commenced work on the historic complex at Merrion Square to address a critical need for the repair and renovation of the fabric Of the Dargan (1864) and Milltown (1903) wings, together with the provision of much needed additional accommodation. Refurbishment of the two wings was completed in June 2017

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