The following outlines the overall acquisitions policy with examples of some of the most important works. To see the full chronological list of acquisitions or individual works click here.
From the outset the Society, whose activities were modeled on the UK Contemporary Art Society, regarded the purchase of works of contemporary art, their exhibition and subsequent donation to appropriate Welsh institutions as prime functions. An annual buyer was elected and given ‘free range of choice’, though there was (and is) a presumption to purchase works by Welsh artists or those with significant association with the Principality.
The first work acquired by CASW was not by purchase but was a fraternal gift in 1938 from the Contemporary Art Society, David Jones’ Petra.
Not surprisingly, a work by Augustus John was an early acquisition when in 1942 his Lyndra (painted c.1920) was purchased by Lord Howard de Walden, though an example of his sister Gwen’s work, Girl in profile, was an even earlier purchase (1940) and donated to the National Museum of Wales in the Society’s first distribution exercise of 1947.
Some relevant themes predominate in the Collection:
Landscapes form a significant element within the CASW collection with many leading exponents of the genre represented.
The dominance of the coal industry is equally well reflected together with social aspects of mining and Valleys life.
Occasionally, CASW commissions works, normally for specific reasons, the most recent, a portfolio of prints, to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Society.