Crooked Window

Ffenest Gam

INTO THE LIGHT: CASW Gifts to Cyfarthfa Castle

In 2015 Cyfarthfa Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Merthyr Tydfil, celebrated with an exhibition the gifts, since 1947, of thirty-eight artworks to its collection from the Contemporary Art Society for Wales (CASW). Some works had not been seen for a long period.

CASW was formed in 1937, since when it has acquired 850 contemporary paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints, exhibited them and, then, gifted them to public institutions - museums, colleges, local authorities and, latterly, hospitals - in Wales.

The CASW-gifted collection at Merthyr Tydfil is explored in a colour publication written by David Moore. Well-known works by Welsh artists include Alfred Janes's 1938 Salome, Cedric Morris's 1930s Caeharris Post Office, Dowlais and The Tips, Dowlais and Brenda Chamberlain's 1950 Children on the Seashore. Rarely-seen works, which have been conserved recently, include Josef Herman's 1950s Sad News, Will Roberts's 1954 Bideford Bridge, Ray Howard-Jones's 1959 South Haven and Arthur Giardelli's 1964 abstract relief Pembrokeshire Panel. Giardelli came to Merthyr Tydfil as a teacher during the Second World War.

Perhaps surprising is the inclusion of a c.1913 Cubist drawing by Czech sculptor Otto Gutfreund, works by Bloomsbury Group members Vanessa Bell and Henry Lamb and Camden Town painter Sylvia Gosse. Research has shed light on largely-forgotten Welsh artist James Wynne Parry, who painted Sunlight and Shadow in 1932. He emigrated to the United States and, together with Evan Walters, showed work in a 1917 exhibition Thirty Young Artists of New York City. Important works by 56 Group Wales founder members Heinz Koppel and Eric Malthouse are also included as well as a notable 1993 painting by Shani Rhys James, Morning Shave.

The CASW-gifted artworks have considerably enhanced the significance of the twentieth-century art at Cyfarthfa Castle. It is hoped that the collection will continue to be a source of pleasure and interest for Merthyr Tydfil residents and visitors.

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