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Minister Launches New Publication on the IMMA Collection

An impressive new publication, highlighting selected works from the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s Collection, was launched today (Thursday 7 July) by the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mr John O’Donoghue, TD.  The first full-colour publication on the Museum’s Collection, it presents more than 180 artworks selected to give a sample of the quality, range and international nature of the works acquired by the Museum since its foundation in 1991.  Short texts accompany each work, together with an introduction on IMMA’s collecting policy by Director Enrique Juncosa, and essays on the history of the Collection and the Royal Hospital building by Catherine Marshall, Senior Curator: Head of Collections.

Speaking at a reception at IMMA, Minister O’Donoghue said he was very pleased to launch the new publication, which had been funded by a special subvention from the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism. “I think we can all agree that the Museum has made excellent use of these extra resources in producing this attractive and informative book.  I must also congratulate those involved on achieving that difficult balance between the scholarly and accessible – a rare enough achievement in visual arts publishing” he said.

The Minister said that the publication marked something of a coming of age for the Collection, which had grown enormously since 1991. The sheer number of items it now contained – over 4,300 pieces – and the quality and range of the works, held by IMMA on behalf of the Irish people, made this an appropriate point at which to celebrate the Collection in this way. “The publication is designed to give the Museum visitors, sister institutions at home and abroad, scholars and the ever-increasing number of groups and individuals interested in the Museum’s work a greater insight into the treasures it contains.  Indeed, we need look no further than the fascinating Eye of the Storm exhibition, currently on show, to see the wonderful richness and diversity evident in these 68 works alone” he said.

Mr O’Donoghue went on to say that his Department had been happy to play its part in facilitating the development of the Museum’s Collection, “by providing funds for direct acquisitions and by encouraging donations and loans through taxation legislation and special funding for works of outstanding national importance.  This had made possible the acquisition of key works, such as the series of films by the celebrated Irish artist James Coleman, acquired in 2004.  IMMA, in the person of its Director, Enrique Juncosa, has been commendably proactive in making the best possible use of these schemes, and in addition to the Coleman works, has also recently acquired three important paintings by Hughie O’Donoghue and a major body of work by 20th-century Irish artists from the McClelland Collection by this means”.

Commenting on the publication, IMMA’s Director, Enrique Juncosa said, “I believe the publication of this book is an important enterprise for several reasons. A previous catalogue exists covering the period 1991 to 1998. However, this was intended as a reference catalogue only, and in any event the Collection has grown significantly since then.  To date the Collection has been shown at the Museum in rotating displays, both due to lack of space and to the very recent nature of the Collection. We hope that this book, along with a new policy of showing the Collection more frequently in venues abroad, will help to raise the international profile of the IMMA Collection. Recent exhibitions in China and Newfoundland are the result of this commitment”.

“In addition to funding this publication, the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism has also increased IMMA’s acquisitions budget this year, which is in itself very good news. This increase has already enabled us to buy two important works, Eye of the Storm, the painting by Michael Craig-Martin which is reproduced on the cover of this book, and Back of Snowman, by Gary Hume, a bronze sculpture which has been displayed in the courtyard of the Museum for almost two years now”, he said. 

The Museum’s Collection has developed rapidly since 1991 through purchase, long-term loans and donations and by the occasional commissioning of new works. The Museum purchases the work of living artists but accepts loans and donations of more historical art objects with a particular emphasis on work from the 1940s onwards.  The majority of artworks in the Collection are of Irish origin but regular purchases of work by artists from other countries and continents ensure a fascinating range of material from painting to film and installation, by artists as diverse as James Coleman, Rebecca Horn, Stephan Balkenhol, Willie Doherty, Sean Scully, Dennis Oppenheim and Joseph Kosuth.  This book will serve as an important function in enabling visitors and other interested parties to gain a better understanding of the overall Collection.

The Collection book was published in consultation with Vermillion, a specialist design, art colour reproduction and print management company.

The publication costs €45.00 and is available from the Museum’s bookshop.

For further information please contact Monica Cullinane or Patrice Molloy at Tel : +353 1 612 9900, Email : press@imma.ie

7 July 2005

Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, Ireland
Tel: +353-1-6129900, Email:
info@imma.ie