National Museums Northern Ireland’s collection of paintings contains works of national and international importance, reflecting a variety of artistic styles and media. At its heart is the Irish collection, with paintings from the late 1600s to the present day, and featuring such celebrated Ulster artists as Sir John Lavery, John Luke and William Conor. Other prominent Irish names include James Arthur O'Connor, Roderic O'Conor and Walter Osborne.
Among the earlier British paintings are portraits by Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds, and landscapes by Richard Wilson and J. M. W. Turner. There is a small but significant Old Masters collection, with works by Dutch, Flemish and Italian masters, the best-known names being Jacob Jordaens and Pompeo Batoni.
National Museums Northern Ireland also holds a highly important collection of modern art by British and foreign artists. This section was built up during the 1960s, when modern works were considered challenging and experi...full description
mental. Few museums collected contemporary art at that time and the Ulster Museum was famous for its daring acquisitions policy.
The 1960s collection is one of the most important outside London, with work by Patrick Caulfield and Bridget Riley. Other notable artists include Karel Appel, Jean Dubuffet and Francis Bacon. Of particular interest is a small but important collection of American ‘Colour Field' paintings by Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and others.