The Friends of York Art Gallery Welcome You!
The Friends of York Art Gallery was founded in 1948, and it recorded its first contribution to an acquisition for the York Art Gallery collection in 1949 when ‘Samson and Delilah’ (1642) by Pieter Soutman was purchased for £160!
In the following 69 years the Friends have contributed in excess of £600,000 to the acquisition of more than 150 works of art including paintings, drawings, photography, film, sculpture and ceramics, and the conservation or restoration of a wide variety of works in the Gallery collection. A selection of the art to which the Friends have contributed appears in the scroll on this ‘HOME’ page.
Many of the acquisitions during these decades exceeded the budget of the Friends, but the financial contribution from the Friends has proven to be crucial to attracting financial support, that is the balance of the acquisition cost, from other sources such as Philanthropic Societies, the Art Fund or Heritage Lottery. Demonstrating ‘local’ support is a key role that the Friends can play!
In celebration of the Friends 70th anniversary in 2018 there will be an exhibition May – September of many of the works that have acquired or restored thanks to the Friends contributions. It will be supplemented by a series of talks about the artists, the subjects of their works and the benefit of this collection to the public.
An important source of funding is bequests left to this charity by Friends and those in the community who want to help ensure the future of York Art Gallery. Additionally, significant sources of revenue include the annual membership subscriptions, and profits from the Gallery Dines Out luncheons, always popular, tours and some lectures, such as the annual CoCA lecture.
An annual grant is made to sponsor MA Scholars (History of Art) at University of York. In the ‘Publications’ section you will find copies of the Scholars annual reports to the Friends on their research. We also contribute to local primary school initiatives in partnership with York Art Gallery and York Civic trust. The competition for 2016-17, ‘An Alternative View of York’, involved 15 schools, 74 classes and almost 2000 students.
Very popular are the visits to other Galleries, artist’s studios and farther afield to major exhibitions. In the past year the Friends have visited Leicester, North of France, the Ashmolean in Oxford, for example, and this year there are to be visits to Galleries in Liverpool, Guildford, G. F. Watts’s home in Bexley Heath, Leighton House in London, Ferens Gallery and the Hull University Gallery. The 2018 visit schedule is in planning. It is expected that the Friends international trip will be to Munich. Join us!