Contemporary Art Society (Biographical details)

Contemporary Art Society (institution/organisation; British; 1910; Founded)

Also known as

Contemporary Art Society; CAS


17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NG Tel: 020 7831 7311 Fax: 020 7831 7345


CAS was founded in 1910, and through the years until the end of WWII operated a sub-fund specifically for the acquisition of works on paper. This was administered by the Keepers of Prints and Drawings (Dodgson and Hind), who collected donations and chose the works. These were then circulated round museums for display, before finally being allocated as acquisitions. 75% went to the BM (the rest to other institutions), and through these decades the CAS was the primary vehicle for acquiring contemporary works: Dodgson thought it wrong to use public funds for such material. Apart from the special fund, works on paper were also acquired from the Society's central funds, in which case they were selected by members of the Committee of whom Roger Fry was a leading figure. Gifts of works of art were also made to this Central Fund, and these too, after being circulated round the UK, were distributed, some of them coming to the BM.
After WWII the sub-fund was discontinued, and works were acquired for presentation chosen by members of the committee. This ceased in the early 1980s. Today the CAS, a registered charity, is supported by its Members and grants from the Arts Council of England, and other charitable bodies. Since 1910 CAS has presented over 5000 works of contemporary art to its member museums throughout Britain.
For donations to the Department of Prints and Drawings, see User's Guide, p.99 and Landmarks in Print Collecting (index).


Lugt 492a
'The Past Hundred Years' exhibition BM 1935