Sean Rainbird, Director, National Gallery of Ireland, introduces New Perspectives: Acquisitions 2011-2020, currently on show at the NGI.

New arrivals in the National Gallery of Ireland's collection bring fresh perspectives, advance art history, create new contexts and enable discoveries. Acquisitions add dynamism and prevent the collection and its display from becoming static. They can be made in response to a temporary loan exhibition, can highlight how a gap in the collection might be filled, or can introduce an entirely new artistic medium to the collection, such as photography.

Evelyn Hofer, Portrait of Patrick Kavanagh (1966)

The National Gallery of Ireland was established in 1854 and opened its doors a decade later. Since its foundation the institution has started and continually added to its collections in the five main areas – western art, Irish art, portraiture, works on paper and archival materials – which constitute its diverse collections. Indeed it began collecting before it had a building to display these works. Successive generations of curators have added to and shaped the collections, aware always that the institution responds to how artists make art and which media they elect to work with. Some 2,000 new works have entered the collection during the last ten years.

Dorothy Cross, Ghost Ship (2011)

The National Gallery of Ireland was established in 1854 and opened its doors a decade later. Since its foundation the institution has started and continually added to its collections in the five main areas – western art, Irish art, portraiture, works on paper and archival materials – which constitute its diverse collections. Indeed it began collecting before it had a building to display these works. Successive generations of curators have added to and shaped the collections, aware always that the institution responds to how artists make art and which media they elect to work with. Some 2,000 new works have entered the collection during the last ten years.

Louis le Brocquy, Mother and Child (1950)

Whatever strategy is adopted, there is always a time lag between acquisitions being made and it becoming obvious how they shape the future of the collections and displays. Our new exhibition, New Perspectives, draws together all these strands to give coherence to the great variety of works we have newly acquired. Many different contexts are created and new interpretations made possible.

Mairead O hEocha, Orangutan, National History Museum Dublin (2020)

The most prominent component of the exhibition is on show in the Gallery’s Beit Wing. More chapters will follow. Two dozen further works acquired since 2011 are displayed throughout the permanent collection galleries, identified by a New Perspectives panel. At the beginning of June a group of new portraits in various media will open in the Portrait Gallery.

William Crozier, Flanders Fields (1962)

The past decade has marked several significant changes, including constraints on public funding for acquisitions, profound societal changes, a major refurbishment at the Gallery and the arrival of a new Director. The absence of any purchase funding between 2011 and 2017 was alleviated by significant works being acquired through the Section 1003 mechanism introduced by Government in 1997. This was intended to encourage philanthropic giving by offering credits through the tax system. The Gallery also received many other generous gifts and bequests.

Sean Scully, Landline Red Run (2018)

The Gallery’s focus has been to examine closely more recent art, particularly art made in Ireland. We have looked to expand the media traditionally associated with collecting at the Gallery. This has led us to acknowledge more fully the various collections – Irish art, portraiture, Western art, works on paper and archival material – from which we create our displays. These are now brought together for the first time, in New Perspectives.

New Perspectives is currently showing at the National Gallery Of Ireland - find out more here.