On July 19th I launched ‘Conversations at the Casino’ – An Exhibition of Portraits from the State Art Collection.
Conversations at the Casino is an exhibition that features a selection of portraits from the State Art Collection which is managed by the Office of Public Works (OPW). The exhibition on temporary display in the Casino features 47 portraits by 32 artists. There are historic and contemporary paintings, original prints, sculpture and drawings on display. The portraits are of figures from different spheres of Irish life – the arts, sport and politics. The included artworks span five centuries – from a School of Rembrandt portrait dating to the 1630s to portraits created in 2016.

Speaking at the launch, I said, ‘The range and diversity of styles of portraiture on view here in this magnificent neo-classical building will, I have no doubt, pique and intrigue visitors in equal measure. My Office manages the most widely dispersed public art collection in the country, with over 90% of our 16,000 artworks on display in public buildings that people visit very day.’
The first venue for the exhibition of portraits was Farmleigh Gallery where over 80 artworks were on display. The exhibition will also travel to the Main Guard in Clonmel in a different format and it will change to suit the scale of that location.
‘Historic and contemporary, my Office has played a key role in the acquisition of portraits for display in public buildings since its foundation in 1831, 185 years ago and its continued successful involvement in the cultural life and heritage of the country was shown in the hugely successful 2016 programme of events recently. This exhibition will also be a highlight of the 2016 exhibition season.’