In 1908 art collector Hugh Lane left his collection to Ireland, which established Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. This gallery of modern and contemporary art includes works by Monet, Manet, Degas – important Impressionist works. Since then the collection has grown to over two thousand pieces, including such artists as Sean Scully and Joseph Beuys. Scully who was born in Ireland donated seven paintings in 2006. There is also a stained glass room featuring works by Irish artist Harry Clarke.
The most significant recent acquisition was the donation of the entire studio of Francis Bacon, one of Ireland’s most significant expat modern artists. After a difficult childhood in Dublin and elsewhere, Bacon left Ireland for London and never went back. After his death in 1992 his sole heir donated the studio to Ireland. Every piece of paper, dirty mug, and worn down pencil was painstakingly recorded and moved to The Hugh Lane where the studio was reconstructed and where you can now see it as if looking into Bacon’s London address. It’s quite strange but an indicator of the importance of Bacon’s work and also the fascination we have with an artist’s process and life.
In addition, there is an annual program of talks hosted by the gallery by artists, historians, philosophers. The gallery also holds workshops for kids to encourage creativity and art appreciation, and adult education courses including both art history and hands on painting, drawing etc. Plus they have free concerts on Sundays in the sculpture gallery (October to June).