The text of a brief history of NCAS, by Robert Short, called Norfolk Contemporary Art Society: Fifty Years On can be downloaded here.
Since it was founded in 1956, to encourage the Norwich Castle Museum to acquire work in the modern idiom to balance its fine collections of the nineteenth-century Norwich School of painters, the Society has acquired its own art collection which forms the basis of holdings in post-war art in the Castle. Among the items the NCAS has lent to the Castle are works by Edward Barker, Jeffrey Camp, David Carr, Prunella Clough, Alan Davie, Patrick George, Allen Jones, Peter Lanyon, Wyndham Lewis, F.E. McWilliam, Eduardo Paolozzi, Mary Potter, Anne Redpath, Alan Reynolds, Ceri Richards, Colin Self, Penny Slinger and Graham Sutherland. Among pieces that the Society has purchased and then given to the Norfolk Museums Service are works by Sandra Blow, Ian Chance, Derrick Greaves, Nigel Henderson, Howard Hodgkin, John Hoyland, L.S. Lowry, Tom Phillips, Mary Mellor, Derek Morris and Keith Vaughan. More recently, it has raised funds, often matched nationally pound-for-pound, to purchase sculpture for public places in Norwich. These include major pieces by George Fullard and Liliane Lijn, and a mural by Walter Kershaw. For the Castle Green, we commissioned a bronze, Parrot Head by the late Bernard Reynolds and the aluminium Monument to Daedalus by Jonathan Clarke. Mark Goldsworthy's Will Kemp and his Men, was hewn from an oak trunk in situ in Chapelfield Gardens, and Ros Newman's Bird Flight is sited in the gardens of Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital. In 2006 we donated a work by the late Alfred Cohen to Norwich Castle Museum, in 2007 we purchased a video for its collection, Ruth Ewan’s Rebel’s Complaint, and in 2008 we contributed a painting, Rosie Snell's Stalker.
The Society has an on-loan collection, called Artworks. Mostly works in two dimensions by local artists, these are lent free of charge for display in places frequented by the public such as schools, hospitals, and business premises. Art Works now comprises over 30 pieces which can be viewed on this website by following the art works collection links. The Society is always on the look out for new potential spaces for the exhibition of individual Art Works.
In the belief that raising the profile of the visual arts means effective networking, we collaborate closely with local galleries and other arts organisations such as the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norfolk Museums Service, Norfolk Open Studios, East Anglia Art Fund, Norwich Twenty Group, The Forum Trust and Norwich University of the Arts.
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The Norfolk Contemporary Art Society is a registered Charity No. 262730