Works from Ulster Bank’s Art Collection gifted to the National Gallery of Ireland

Works from Ulster Bank’s Art Collection gifted to the National Gallery of Ireland

  • 78 works gifted to the Gallery include paintings, works on paper and sculpture
  • Artworks by Cecily Brennan, Eithne Carr, Barrie Cooke, William Crozier, Martin Gale, Donald Teskey and Louis Le Brocquy

The National Gallery of Ireland has today announced the acquisition of 78 works from the Ulster Bank art collection. The gift to the Gallery comes prior to Ulster Bank’s withdrawal from the Irish market and represents a legacy gift to the nation. 

The works gifted to the Gallery consist of 40 paintings, 30 prints, 6 other works on paper and 2 sculptures. The period covered by the works extends from the 1950s to the early 2000s. Most of the works date from the 1980s and 1990s. The majority are by Irish artists.

Artists on the list of works include many significant figures in Irish art that up until now have not been represented in the collection at the National Gallery of Ireland. Among these are Cecily Brennan, Eithne Carr, Elizabeth Cope, Cora Cummins, Andrew Folan, Anita Groener, Cecil King, Francis Tansey and Samuel Walsh. Several other artists whose work already features in the Gallery’s collection also feature on the list. These include John Behan, Basil Blackshaw, Louis Le Brocquy, Barrie Cooke, William Crozier, Felim Egan, Michael Farrell, T.P. Flanagan, Martin Gale, Michael Kane, Thomas Ryan and Donald Teskey. 

Among the list are 36 works on paper, which will become part of the Gallery’s extensive collection of prints and drawings. These works date from the 1970s to the 1990s and many are by artists associated with Graphic Studio Dublin. Influential printmakers such as Pat Hickey, James McCreary and Mary Farl Powers are included. Artists who participated in Graphic Studio Dublin’s Visiting Artists Scheme such as Michael Farrell, Felim Egan and William Crozier also feature. 

Among the key works acquired are:

  • Haystacks (1982) by Cecily Brennan. A highlight of the works on paper is a pair of early mixed-media landscapes by Cecily Brennan entitled Haystacks. These were shown in the artist’s solo exhibition at the Project Arts Centre in 1982
  • California Hills (1998) and Mexican Landscape (1998) by Eithne Carr. Two colourful and warm landscapes by Eithne Carr, which were created shortly after she was elected an Academician of the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA). California Hills will be displayed in the upcoming exhibition It Took A Century: Women Artists and the RHA, which opens at the Gallery on 01 July 2023
  • Dublin Bay (1993) by Martin Gale. Comprising five canvases of equal dimensions, and measuring 152 x 302 cm in total, it represents a panoramic view of Dublin Bay
  • Leda (1950) by Louis Le Brocquy. Depicting the famous Greek myth in which Leda is raped by Zeus, who has assumed the form of a swan. In this painting, Leda attempts to repel the swirling advances of the swan above her

You can read a full list of the acquired artworks here. 

Dr Caroline Campbell, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland commented: “We are pleased to accept the gift of 78 works from Ulster Bank’s art collection to the collection at the National Gallery of Ireland. This gift represents almost two years of work by both our teams to identify and acquire a range of works, which enhance the Gallery’s collection. We extend our thanks to everyone at Ulster Bank and NatWest Group for their generosity.”

Jane Howard, Chief Executive, Ulster Bank said: “To coincide with the closing of the branches we are very pleased to gift these works to the National Gallery of Ireland. The collection of 78 works has been amassed over decades and proudly displayed for colleagues and customers to enjoy across the Bank’s branch and office network for many years. When we announced our withdrawal from the Irish market, we committed to leaving in a responsible and sustainable way. This is part of that commitment. We are delighted that these pieces will be enjoyed by future generations for years to come at the National Gallery of Ireland.”   

Notes to Editor

For selected images, please email [email protected] 

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. 

The Prints and Drawings Study Room at the National Gallery of Ireland provides access to the Gallery's collection of prints, drawings, watercolours and miniatures. It is open by appointment to all members of the public, students and visiting scholars for the study and appreciation of the collection.

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