In addition to housing local government offices, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Hall is also home to a significant collection of art, spanning a period of one hundred years or so, which comprises works created by twentieth and twenty-first century Irish-based artists, many of them enjoying a connection with the locality. These works were acquired by the Council over a number of decades and encompass a range of media and styles. The collection includes pieces by both emerging and established local artists, as well as a large number of works by historically significant and nationally renowned figures.
The impressive art collection is on display throughout the County Hall: works are exhibited in the nineteenth century Town Hall and post office as well as in public and private areas of the twentieth century extension. The collection encompasses a range of media, but consists primarily of painted works.
This collection was amassed through a number of channels, including one-off commissions, donations from charitable bodies and individuals, as well as purchases. As a result, it provides an overview of the Irish art world over the course of the twentieth century, with work of the 1920s-1950s, and of the 1990s, being particularly well-represented. These diverse channels of acquisition have also resulted in a collection that includes works by artists of varying renown. Pieces by established, internationally recognised artists sit near works by artists active on a more local scale.
The single largest acquisition of works came with the Friends of the National Collections of Ireland Ralph Cusack donation. This consisted primarily of works by avant-garde artists working in Ireland in the early to mid-twentieth century.
Of the more contemporary works in the County Art Collection, many enjoy a connection with Dún Laoghaire. Firstly, a significant number of works depict scenes of the locality - these include streetscapes, several depictions of the nearby People's Park, a number of paintings of the old Town Hall, as well as Desmond McCarthy's A View From the DART pen and ink drawings.
Secondly, a number of the more contemporary works in the collection have been produced by artists, such as George Potter and Judy Hamilton, who have lived, worked or were educated in the Dún Laoghaire borough. Some of these artists, including Louise Meade, Joe Dunne and Marie McDonald, have previously worked with the County Council, participating in community art schemes, such as the Artists in Schools and Artist in Resident programmes.
The breadth of the Council's art collection is therefore quite large, and features works of both national and local interest. A recent acquisition, a bronze piece by sculptor Edward Delaney, demonstrates these twin focuses superbly; not only was Delaney a nationally celebrated sculptor who created some of the most well known sculptures adorning Dublin's streets, but he also lived and worked in Dún Laoghaire, not too far from the County Hall's premises.
The works can be divided into three main groups, according to their placement within the building. First are those works on display in the public reception areas of County Hall. These are all recent, generally large-scale works. Then there is the collection of twentieth century paintings displayed in the first floor gallery of the old Town Hall. Finally, there are those prints, paintings and sculptures housed in a variety of offices throughout the twentieth century wings.
Download detailed information about the collection here (PDF File - 368kb)