National Gallery reopens to the public with dynamic line-up of exhibitions

A checkerboard composition with oranges, pinks and blues
Piet Mondrian (1872–1944), Composition with grid 8: checkerboard composition with dark colors, 1919. Courtesy of Kunstmuseum Den Haag, The Hague, The NetherlandsCredit

Mondrian and Zurich Portrait Prizes open alongside Gallery Shop and pop-up Café

The doors of the National Gallery of Ireland reopen this week following 73 days of closure. Alongside an exciting programme of exhibitions, the much-loved Gallery Shop, a new pop-up Café and the ever-popular national collection will provide an unmissable experience to every visitor upon reopening on 1 December 2020.

New exhibitions opening this week are landmark show Mondrian, the annual Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize, and the culmination of a long-term project, Something from There. Visitors can also catch the continuing runs of George Wallace: Reflections on Life, Shaw and the Gallery: A Priceless Education and Murillo: The Prodigal Son Restored.

To offer the public more choice when planning a visit during these extraordinary times, Mondrian and the Gallery Shop will open late from Tuesday to Friday each week. A brand new pop-up café will offer teas, coffees and tasty treats daily. As ever, visitor safety is at the heart of all reopening plans, and the Gallery will remain the relaxing, peaceful space that it has always been whilst all measures are adhered to.

Sean Rainbird, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, commented: “As we reach the end of a challenging year for the National Gallery of Ireland – and indeed for all those who contribute to Ireland’s vibrant cultural landscape – we’re thrilled to be able to open our doors once again. We know that many have missed their visit to a favourite painting or treasured corner of the Gallery. We’re grateful to our Friends, Patrons, supporters and of course our audiences for their unwavering support over the past nine months. We will continue to seek out opportunities to provide solace and inspiration to our visitors through culture and creativity.”

The highlight of the Gallery’s 2020 programme opens this week: new exhibition Mondrian. One of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, Piet Mondrian is best known for his iconic abstract paintings using geometric shapes. This new show, featuring loans from Kunstmuseum Den Haag, displays art from across all periods of his fascinating career. Pre-booking is strongly advised for this exhibition, the first of the artist’s work in Ireland.

For those who are unable to visit the Gallery at this time, Exclusive Curator’s Tour: Mondrian Online offers a chance to step into the atmospheric Beit Wing for a curator-led tour of the exhibition. Available later this week on the Gallery's website.

From more than one thousand entries, a shortlist of works by artists of all ages will be on display at the Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize exhibitions. This year, the prize-giving ceremonies move online, with virtual events taking place on 8 December 2020. For the first time, the ceremonies are open for all to attend, with the events streaming live online for free.

Something from There, a new exhibition created with people living or formerly living in Direct Provision, also opens this week. The show explores the idea of home. Alongside an object belonging to each participant that they have brought from home to Ireland, personal pieces of writing will be on display, as well as a short film, IRELAND: HOME.

Exhibitions Shaw and the Gallery: A Priceless Education, George Wallace: Reflections on Life and Murillo: The Prodigal Son Restored will continue. Visitors will once again be able to return to their favourite masterpieces from the national collection by artists such as Vermeer, Picasso, Jack B. Yeats and Mainie Jellet.

The Gallery Shop will be open daily (and late on Tuesdays to Fridays) with handmade crafts, art-inspired gifts, Christmas decorations and more available to purchase. Art lovers can also shop online.

Media contact:
Kate O’Leary, Communications, National Gallery of Ireland [email protected] / 087 334 1587

Notes to Editor:
Images are available on request. 
Gallery representatives including Director Sean Rainbird are available for interview.

Gallery opening hours:
Mon: 11am – 5.30pm 
Tues to Fri: 9.45am – 7.45pm (Mondrian exhibition and Gallery Shop only from 5.15pm) 
Sat: 9.45am – 5.30pm 
Sun: 11.30am – 5.30pm
Pop-up café open daily: 11.00am – 3pm 
Gallery Shop open daily during Gallery opening hours

Visitor information:
No advanced booking required for entry to the national collection. Pre-booking required for Mondrian exhibition. Sanitising facilities at all entry points and throughout Gallery. Tours and audio guides will not be available but versions of Gallery initiatives are available online. Lifts will be available but for single use or disability access only. Cloakrooms will be closed. Entry via Merrion Square daily until 5.15pm. For late-opening to Mondrian exhibition and Gallery Shop on Tuesdays to Fridays, entry via Clare Street after 5.15pm.

About the National Gallery of Ireland:
The National Gallery of Ireland is one of the country’s most popular visitor attractions housing the nation’s collection of European and Irish art from about 1300 to the present day, and an extensive Library & Archive. Entry to the collection is free for all to enjoy, learn and be inspired.

National Gallery at Home:
For those who are unable to visit the National Gallery of Ireland at the moment, there are many ways to engage with the national collection online. ‘National Gallery at Home’ includes virtual tours, videos, podcasts, activities for children, blogposts and more. A brand new curator-led tour of landmark exhibition Mondrian, ‘Exclusive Curator's tour: Mondrian Online’, is also available to purchase on the Gallery website. Find out more on the Gallery's website

Exhibitions at the National Gallery of Ireland:

Mondrian | Until 14 February 2021 
Beit Wing | Ticketed
Supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

Something from There | Until 28 February 2021
Millennium Wing Studio | Free admission

Zurich Portrait Prize & Zurich Young Portrait Prize | Until 21 March 2021
Portrait Gallery | Free admission


George Wallace: Reflections on Life | Until 13 December 2020 
Print Gallery | Free admission

Murillo: The Prodigal Son Restored | Until 10 January 2021 
Room 31 | Free admission 
Generously supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

Shaw and the Gallery: A Priceless Education | Until 4 April 2021 
Room 11| Free admission 
Part of a series of annual exhibitions by the National Gallery of Ireland’s ESB Centre for the Study of Irish Art (ESB CSIA).

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