The Welsh Assembly Government, Trusts, Foundations and individuals have made possible major building and refurbishment work to the Cardiff National Museum. The work is now well underway to the west wing galleries set to open this summer. This important regeneration will add needed additional space dedicated to the display of modern and contemporary art. Housed in the West Wing six impressive new contemporary art galleries will be the biggest space of its kind in Wales . Previously, the Museum had only one gallery to display its range of modern and contemporary art, which is one of the UK ’s most important collections outside of London. This development will give the Museum nearly 800 square metres more space to show the strength and range of art produced in Wales since the 1950s, and how this relates to the international scene. The galleries will display works by artists associated with Wales such as Josef Herman and Shani Rhys James alongside leading British and international artists including Lucian Freud, David Hockney and Rachel Whiteread. At the same time, displays of applied art, particularly ceramics and silver, were completely renewed. As well as demonstrating the richness and quality of the Museum’s existing collections, new commissions to figures such as Edmund de Waal, and pieces by makers as diverse as Elizabeth Woodman and Richard Deacon, have greatly enhanced the stature and understanding of one of the greatest collections of its type in the UK. Other rooms trace the impact of Impressionism on British art and the development of Modernism from Cézanne to the Surrealists of the 1930s. These galleries also celebrate significant artists from Wales , especially Augustus John, Gwen John, William Goscombe John, Cedric Morris and Ceri Richards, and less familiar figures such as the sculptor and suffragette Edith Downing.
French art ranging from mid 19th century salon paintings, and the art of the Realists to masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Other rooms trace the impact of Impressionism on British art and the development of Modernism from Cézanne to the Surrealists of the 1930s. These all remain open to the public. Work on the final phase of the project, the refurbishment of the upper galleries in the West Wing for modern and contemporary art, completes in the summer 2011. From 9 July 2011, Wales will have its own National Museum of Art, showcasing the full rang e of the nation’s world-class art collection under one roof at National Museum Cardiff. For the first time, the National Museum ’s mix of fine and applied art, from the historic to the contemporary, will be shown in a single series of integrated galleries, giving a new visibility to art in Wales and to the art of Wales. Visitors will be able to enjoy the story of Wales’s unique visual tradition and its place within a wider British and international context through works from Tudor to modern Wales, outstanding European Old Master paintings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism drawn largely from the world-class collection of French art bequeathed by Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, and an inspiring contemporary collection.
The Museum remains open to the public throughout this period.