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Contemporary Art

An Artful Partnership

Sotheby’s is pleased to announce a partnership with the Contemporary Art Society, a London-based organisation that champions the collecting of outstanding contemporary art and craft. The non-profit brokers philanthropic support and acquires work for 70 museums that collect contemporary art in the UK.

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FRANCIS BACON, FIGURE STUDY II (1945/46) AT KIRKLEES MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES. PRESENTED BY THE CONTEMPORARY ART SOCIETY IN 1952. © THE ESTATE OF FRANCIS BACON. PHOTO CREDIT: KIRKLEES MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES.

Set up over 100 years ago by some of the leading collectors and artists of the day, the society sought to popularise the radical ideas in art that had developed across the Channel and place key works by international and British artists into museum collections.  

Many of the first pieces to be placed in museum collections of work by some of the greatest twentieth century artists have been gifts from the Contemporary Art Society, including those by Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Richard Hamilton, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.  

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LUCIAN FREUD, STILL LIFE WITH SQUID AND SEA URCHIN (1949) AT THE HARRIS MUSEUM IN PRESTON. DONATED BY THE CONTEMPORARY ART SOCIETY IN 1952. © LUCIAN FREUD ARCHIVE / BRIDGEMAN IMAGES. PHOTO CREDIT: BRIDGEMAN IMAGES.

The Contemporary Art Society has continued this tradition of museum firsts through the acquisition of works by internationally recognised living artists Antony Gormley and Damien Hirst, and more recently the first work by artists including Kader Attia, Glenn Brown, Hito Steyerl, and 2016 Turner Prize winner Helen Marten to enter UK public collections.

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GLENN BROWN, IN THE END WE ALL SUCCUMB TO THE PULL OF THE MOLTEN CORE, 2016 AT THE LAING ART GALLERY IN NEWCASTLE. DONATED BY THE CONTEMPORARY ART SOCIETY IN 2016. INDIAN INK AND ACRYLIC ON PANEL, 135 X 95 X 2.8 CM. COPYRIGHT GLENN BROWN, COURTESY GAGOSIAN.

The Contemporary Art Society relies on private philanthropy and corporate support to ensure the very best emerging art is placed in museum collections. Find out more about how you can support their work click here

LEAD IMAGE: OLAFUR ELIASSON, THE FORKED FOREST PATH (1998) AT THE TOWNER ART GALLERY IN EASTBOURNE. DONATED BY THE CONTEMPORARY ART SOCIETY IN 2003. © THE ARTIST, IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND TOWNER ART GALLERY, EASTBOURNE. PHOTO: ANTHONY CARR.

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