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The Contemporary Art Society (CAS)





London, London


Not for Profit Society / Public Sector Organisation


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Photo credit: Tate


After an initial meeting on 16 March 1909, on 9 April 1909 - seven prominent figures met at 44 Bedford Square, London, home of Lady Ottoline (1873-1938) and Philip Morrell MP (1870-1943), with D. S. MacColl (1859-1948), Keeper of Tate Gallery; Charles J. Holmes (1868-1936), Director of NPG; Roger Fry (1866-1934), Curator  at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Ernest Marsh (1863-1945), Martinware pottery expert; and Charles Aitken (1869-1936), Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery who were the provisional committee for a new, significantly, 'Modern Art Association'. Three extra were asked to join: Arthur Clutton-Brock (1868-1924), art critic for The Times; J. Bowyer Nichols (1859-1939), poet and writer on art; and Robert Ross (1969-1918), Director of Carfax Gallery.

 Lady Ottoline Morrell recorded in her diary after that first meeting:

"…. I feel strongly that every penny one can save ought to be given to young artists. At least, we who really feel the beauty and wonder of art ought to help them.  There are heaps of people who understand philanthropy…. and young creators have such a terrible struggle."

It was not until 18 May 1910 [less than a fortnight after the death of Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria on 6 May 1910 and 7 years after the establishment of the National Art Collections Fund by many of the same players in 1903] that the name of the Contemporary Art Society was settled upon. 1910 also saw its first purchase, Augustus John's Smiling Woman, 1908–09, which was presented to Tate in 1917.

The Contemporary Art Society was incorporated on 7 April 1931 (under 1929 Companies Act); registered as a charity 5 July 1962 (Special Resolution 14 June 1962); 1 July 1981; 7 September 1994; new Memorandum of Association 6 November 1998; new Memorandum under Articles of Association 24 November 2008.


20 John Islip Street London SW1P 4LL (Tate) - until 20 May 1997

Bloomsbury House 74-77 Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DA - until 2006

11-15 Emerald Street London WC1N 3QL - until September 2012

59 Central Street, London, EC1V 3AF - until present




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