Wales National Museum of Art Enters World Stage

Wales now has its own first rate National Museum of Art. The new premises opened on 9th July featuring the full range of the nation’s world-class art collection under one roof. The National Museum’s mix of fine and applied art from the historic to the contemporary is shown in a single series of integrated galleries, giving a new visibility to art in Wales and to the art of Wales. Visitors can now enjoy the story of Wales’s unique visual tradition and its place within a wider British and international context.Works range from Tudor to modern Wales, outstanding European Old Master paintings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism,which is drawn largely from the world-class collection of French art bequeathed by Gwendoline and Margaret Davies.The West Wing six galleries form 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.This development gives 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.
Silver and ceramics from Wales and across the world, and an inspiring contemporary collection.The opening display in July 2011 — I cannot escape this place — includes 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. Michael Tooby, Amgueddfa Cymru, National Museum Wales’s Director of Learning, Programmes and Presentations, has played a key role in the creation of the National Museum of Art, which has cost £6.5m overall. “The National Museum of Art will appeal to the entire range of the Museum’s visitors and is a huge step forward for the National Museum in the way in which we show and interpret our collection. The rebuilding and redisplay project will also be presented as an integrated display with its own identity for the first time, reflecting the way it transforms the awareness of the visual arts in Wales.”David Anderson,  National Museum Wales’s Director General, who considers the National Museum of Art as one of the Museum’s key projects added:”The country’s collection of works by Welsh artists and international names is outstanding. For the first time, the nation has galleries of an international standard that tell the unique story of Welsh art and how the country had evolved. The mission is to inspire the creativity of future generations; these galleries are a vital part of that strategy.”In addition, Amgueddfa Cymru continues to hold as a long-term aspiration the creation of a National Gallery of Art.The strategy, which will also see the development of a new National Museum of Natural History, is part of the long-term master planning of the National Museum site, and is supported by the Welsh Assembly Government.Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales is grateful to the Welsh Assembly Government for their support and to the following sponsors of the National Museum of Art: Colwinston Charitable Trust, The Derek Williams Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Henry Moore Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation, The Foyle Foundation and many generous donations from smaller Trusts and individuals. Opening with displays on Josef Herman, Bedwyr Williams, Francis Bacon and Richard Long chosen from more than 1,000 works in total, the immense, exquisite collection held over the border has a new home of international interest and quality.

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