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Acquisition of James Coleman artworks by IMMA

O’Donoghue announces approval for €1.3m artworks acquisition by Irish Museum of Modern Art

John O’Donoghue T.D., Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, today (10th November, 2004) announced that he had approved the use of the Heritage Fund by the Irish Museum of Modern Art to acquire the three most important film art works, produced in the 1990s, by the celebrated Irish artist James Coleman. The works: Background (1991-94), Lapsus Exposure (1992-94), and INITIALS (1993-4), comprise a trilogy.

These works have formed the basis of James Coleman’s international reputation and have been shown to enormous critical acclaim in many leading museums in France, USA, Britain, Germany, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Each of the three works lasts just over twenty minutes. There is only one complete set of the trilogy available and the Minister agrees that their purchase is fully compatible with the aims and objectives of the Heritage Fund.

Minister O’Donoghue said: "I applaud the Irish Museum of Modern Art and its Director, Enrique Juncosa in acquiring these art works and in enabling a major Irish artist of international stature to have his work shown in Ireland."

Mr. Enrique Juncosa, Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, has stated that he is “thrilled that IMMA has been able to acquire such an important group of works by James Coleman, thanks to the generosity of the Government and with the support of the Council of National Cultural Institutions. He has a significant reputation abroad but was, until now, not properly represented in the National Collections.  IMMA is now the only museum to own the trilogy of his best-known slide projected works. We hope that it will help his work to be better known in Ireland and also are happy to be able to add to our collection such important seminal works.”


Note for Editors: The Heritage Fund

The Heritage Fund Act, 2001 established a Fund with an overall limit of €12,697m over a five-year period.  The Act provided for an allocation of €3,809,214 in the financial year 2001, €2,539,476 in each of the financial years 2002, 2003, 2004, and €1,269,738 in the financial year 2005. The Act also established the Council of National Cultural Institutions on a statutory basis to recommend appropriate uses for the fund to the Minister for Arts, who may authorise the use of the funds subject to the agreement of the Minister for Finance.

The five eligible institutions that may benefit from the Heritage Fund are Ireland’s principal collecting national institutions:

National Archives
National Gallery of Ireland
National Library of Ireland
National Museum of Ireland
Irish Museum of Modern Art

The principal collecting institutions are charged with expanding their collections for present and future generations. The Fund allows for the acquisition of heritage objects that are considered outstanding examples and pre-eminent in their class so that Irish people may enjoy, appreciate and value such magnificent artefacts.  These artefacts include archaeological objects, manuscripts, books and works of art of national importance. The Act only allows for the acquisition of such artefacts above a valuation of €317,435.

Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.