Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art


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Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art

Charlemont House,

Parnell Square North,

Dublin 1,


Phone: +353 (0)1 874-1903

Fax: +353 (0)1 872-2182

Local Information: O’Connell Street Area, Co. Dublin

About Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art

Housed in a finely restored 18th century building known as Charlemont House, this gallery is situated next to the Dublin Writers Museum and across the street from the Garden of Remembrance. It is named after Hugh Lane, an Irish art connoisseur who was killed in the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 and who willed his collection (including works by Courbet, Manet, Monet, and Corot) to be shared between the government of Ireland and the National Gallery of London. With the Lane collection as its nucleus, this gallery also contains paintings from the impressionist and postimpressionist traditions, sculptures by Rodin, stained glass, and works by modern Irish Artists, with emphasis on the first half of the 20th century. In April through June, a summer concert series takes place, free of charge, at the gallery, on Sundays at noon.

Location: Parnell Square., Dublin 1.

Opening Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 9; 30am-6pm; Saturday, 9:30am-5pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm

Admission: Free to permanent collection; donations accepted.

Located in Dublin’s city centre, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, originally called The Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, houses one of Ireland’s foremost collections of modern and contemporary art. The original collection, donated by the Gallery’s founder Sir Hugh Lane in 1908, has now grown to include over 2000 artworks, ranging from the Impressionist masterpieces of Manet, Monet, Renoir and Degas to works by leading national and international contemporary artists. The Gallery presents dynamic schedules of temporary exhibitions, seminars and public lectures, publications and educational projects.

The Hugh Lane’s role as a leading museum of modern and contemporary art was enhanced with the acquisition of the entire contents of Francis Bacon’s Studio, donated by Bacon’s sole heir John Edwards. The studio, located at 7 Reece Mews, London, was relocated to Dublin in 1998 and opened to the public on 23 May 2001. It provides invaluable insight into the artist’s life, inspirations, unusual techniques and working methods. Never before has an artist’s studio been so thoroughly catalogued and reconstructed.

The Gallery’s wide range of activities both within and outside the Gallery includes an annual series of lectures by artists, philosophers and art historians. A lively education and outreach programme has forged strong links with local school and community groups with activities ranging from Kids Club workshops, adult education courses and the ever-popular Sunday lecture series.

Hugh Lane is best-known for establishing Dublin’s Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in 1908 (the first known public gallery of modern art in the world) and for his remarkable contribution to the visual arts in Ireland. Born in County Cork on 9 November 1875, Lane was brought up in Cornwall in England. He began his career as an apprentice painting restorer and later became a very successful London art dealer. Through regular visits to Coole, Co. Galway, the home of his famous aunt, Lady Augusta Gregory, Lane remained in contact with Ireland. He counted among his family and friends those who collectively formed the core of the Irish cultural renaissance in the early decades of the 20th century.

On a visit to Dublin in 1901, Lane viewed an exhibition of paintings by Nathaniel Hone and John Butler Yeats and soon after began a campaign to establish a gallery of modern art in Dublin. He became passionate that the best of national and international art should be on public view in Dublin. To further his campaign, in 1904, Lane organised the first ever exhibition of contemporary Irish art abroad, at the Guildhall in London. The exhibition was a great success. In the preface to the catalogue, Lane stated “There is something of common race instinct in the work of all original Irish writers of to-day and, it can hardly be absent in their sister art.” On his return to Dublin, Lane persuaded leading artists of the day to donate a representative work to form the nucleus of the collection, as well as personally financing many acquisitions including a number of major Impressionist masterpieces. He was to become one of the foremost collectors of Impressionist paintings in these islands, and amongst those outstanding works purchased by him for the new gallery were La Musique aux Tuileries and Eva Gonzales by Manet, Sur la Plage by Degas, Les Parapluies by Renoir and La Cheminée by Vuillard.

The Municipal Gallery of Modern Art opened in January 1908 in temporary premises in Harcourt Street, Dublin. However, Lane did not live to see his Gallery permanently located as he died tragically in 1915 on board the Lusitania, off the west coast of Cork, the county of his birth.

The Lane Bequest

Following Lane’s death in 1915, a long dispute ensued between Dublin and London over possession of his valuable collection of Continental pictures. Constant difficulties and delays in locating a permanent home for his collection in Dublin resulted in Lane loaning his continental paintings to The National Gallery in London in 1913 and although he refused to confirm it, made a will leaving them to London. The following year he was appointed Director of The National Gallery of Ireland. In 1915, just before leaving for the United States of America, Lane added a codicil to his will stating that he had changed his mind and he now left his famous collection of 39 continental works to Dublin. The codicil was signed but not witnessed. Lane’s wishes were not honored as a British commission set up 1929 in deemed they should not be returned to Dublin. However subsequently, beginning in 1959, agreements have been reached whereby the paintings are shared between Dublin and London.

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