queensland art gallery historical collections

qagoma.qld.gov.au

queensland art gallery historical collections

queensland art gallery

historical collections


Art museums and their

historical collections can

not only provide a window

into our past, but bring

it vividly to life.

Leigh Astbury, author and art historian, 2006


Pablo Picasso

La Belle Hollandaise 1905

Gouache on cardboard mounted on wood

77.1 x 65.8cm

Purchased 1959 with funds donated by

Major Harold de Vahl Rubin

Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

© Pablo Picasso, 1905/SUCCESSION PICASSO.

Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney 2006.

SIGNIFICANT NEW

INTERPRETATIONS

AND DISPLAYS OF

HISTORICAL

WORKS FROM THE

QUEENSLAND ART

GALLERY COLLECTION

WILL BE LAUNCHED IN

THE ORIGINAL GALLERY

BUILDING WHEN THE

GALLERY EXPANDS TO

A TWO-SITE MUSEUM.

In December 2006 the Queensland Art Gallery will open as

a two-site institution, including the original Queensland Art

Gallery building and the new Queensland Gallery of Modern

Art. With more than double the display space across two

sites, the Gallery will significantly increase its capacity to

display works from its 12 000-strong Collection.

With the Gallery’s contemporary collections designated

for display at the Gallery of Modern Art, the focus of the

original building will be historical collections of pre-1970

Australian, Asian and international art. Dynamic new

displays of these works will open in the Queensland Art

Gallery to coincide with the opening of the new building.

The original Gallery building, which opened in 1982, is

also undergoing refurbishments, including a new entry

which will link the two buildings via a public plaza.

The first art work acquired for the Gallery’s Collection

was purchased in 1896. Since then, the Collection has

enjoyed continued development due to the support of

the Queensland Government, and many individual and

corporate donors through the Queensland Art Gallery

Foundation. We extend our thanks for this support, and

look forward to providing greater access to the Collection

across both sites of the Queensland Art Gallery.

cover

R Godfrey Rivers

Under the jacaranda (detail) 1903

Oil on canvas

143.4 x 107.2cm

Purchased 1903

Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Wayne Goss

Chair, Board of Trustees

Doug Hall

Director

inside cover

Blandford Fletcher

Evicted (detail) 1887

Oil on canvas

123.1 x 185.3cm

Purchased 1896

Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Queensland

Art Gallery


The Queensland

Art Gallery will

open as a twosite

institution in

December 2006.

The opening

exhibition across

both sites —

the original

building and

the Queensland

Gallery of

Modern Art

(GoMA) — will

be the fifth

‘Asia–Pacific

Triennial of

Contemporary

Art’ (APT).

Dynamic new

displays of

the Gallery’s

historical

collections will

be launched in

the original

Queensland Art

Gallery building

to coincide with

the opening

of GoMA and

the APT.

The Gallery’s

historical

collections,

designated for

the most part

as works

predating 1970,

make up roughly

one half of the

Collection.

Major features

of the new

historical

displays will

include the

Ian Fairweather

Room, the

Queensland

Heritage Gallery,

a gallery

devoted to

historical Asian

art and displays

of restored

European old

master paintings.

The Ian

Fairweather

Room will be

Australia’s most

extensive

permanent

display of this

significant

twentieth-century

artist’s work.

The Queensland

Heritage Gallery

will explore the

cultural history

of Queensland

through works

dating from the

colonial period

to the 1930s.

The display of

historical Asian

art will include

Collection works

as well as longterm

loans from

institutions

including the

Shanghai

Museum, the

National Museum

of Korea,

Japan’s Idemitsu

Museum of

Arts and the

Smithsonian’s

Arthur M Sackler

Gallery.

Following the

APT, the

Queensland

Art Gallery’s

historical

collection

displays will be

complemented

by major

exhibitions

including a

survey of

the work

of Kenneth

Macqueen,

and an

exhibition

depicting the

life of colonial

Australia.

Key facts


William Dargie

Portrait of Albert Namatjira 1956

Oil on canvas

102.1 x 76.4cm

Purchased 1957

Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

THROUGH EXPLORING

OUR PAST, THE GALLERY’S

HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS

PROVIDE AN IMPORTANT

CONTEXT FOR

CONTEMPORARY

ART AND LIFE.

While the Queensland Art Gallery is recognised internationally

for its growing collections of contemporary art, acquisitions

across pre-1970 Australian, Asian and international art

continue to build this important part of the Collection.

The first Australian works to enter the Collection were gifts

from Brisbane artists who campaigned for the Gallery’s

establishment. Today, the Australian collection boasts major

works by Edwardian expatriate artists including George W

Lambert, John Peter Russell, Rupert Bunny and E Phillips

Fox. Works by Charles Conder, Arthur Streeton, Margaret

Preston and Roland Wakelin are at the heart of groups of

Heidelberg School and modernist paintings. Strong holdings

of postwar art include works by Sidney Nolan, John Olsen

and Robert Klippel. The past five years has seen more than

100 works added to this area of the collection. These have

included works by major artists such as Donald Friend,

Albert Namatjira, Kenneth Macqueen, Charles Blackman,

Grace Cossington Smith, Isaac Walter Jenner, Margaret

Olley and Brett Whiteley.

The Queensland Art Gallery’s collection of historical

international art consists mainly of British and European

works from the fourteenth century to the twentieth century.

Highlights include Blandford Fletcher’s Evicted 1887, a

meticulous Victorian-era painting depicting the struggles of

industrialised England’s working class through the plight of a

newly homeless widow and her child. Other works by Edgar

Degas and Pablo Picasso — including Picasso’s exquisite

La Belle Hollandaise 1905 — trace the transition to modernity

in art of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Historical collections


SINCE ACQUIRING ITS

FIRST WORK BY IAN

FAIRWEATHER IN 1962,

THE GALLERY HAS

STEADILY BUILT ITS

COLLECTION OF WORK

BY THIS RENOWNED

AUSTRALIAN

MODERNIST.

Born in Scotland in 1891, Ian Fairweather spent many

decades travelling throughout Europe and Asia. In 1953,

he finally settled in a simple hut on Bribie Island, off

Queensland’s south coast, where he lived as a virtual

recluse until his death in 1974. It was here he created

arguably the most important works of his career, with

the myriad of influences absorbed during his travels

forming a distinctive visual vocabulary that set him apart

from his contemporaries.

As one of the most important twentieth-century artists to

have worked in Queensland, Fairweather’s career will be

showcased with a permanent display of major works from

the Collection opening in the Queensland Art Gallery in

December 2006. The most extensive permanent display of

Fairweather’s art in Australia, it will present works ranging

from his early figurative paintings to his renowned abstract

paintings, such as Café tables 1957, Kite flying 1958 and

Epiphany 1962.

Ian Fairweather

Kite flying 1958

Synthetic polymer paint and

gouache on cardboard laid down

on composition board

129.4 x 194cm

Purchased 1985 with the

assistance of funds raised through

a special Queensland Art Gallery

Foundation appeal and with a

contribution from the Queensland

Art Gallery Society

Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

© Ian Fairweather, 1958.

Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney 2006.

The inaugural display will also explore one of the most

powerful themes of Fairweather’s work — the relationship

between mother and child. Left in the care of his extended

family from infancy until the age of ten, Fairweather felt

abandoned by his own mother and struggled to come to

terms with this relationship through his art. Recurring

throughout his work, Fairweather’s depictions of mothers

and children demonstrate the artist’s deep ambivalence

towards this most personal of subjects.

Ian Fairweather Room


Vida Lahey

Monday morning (detail) 1912

Oil on canvas

153 x 122.7cm

Gift of Madame Emily Coungeau

through the Queensland Art

Society 1912

Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

ONE OF THE GALLERY’S AIMS,

ACROSS BOTH ITS HISTORICAL

AND CONTEMPORARY

COLLECTIONS, IS TO ACQUIRE

AND EXHIBIT WORKS OF

PARTICULAR RELEVANCE

TO QUEENSLAND.

THE QUEENSLAND HERITAGE

GALLERY WILL PRESENT

WORKS EXPLORING

THE EARLY HISTORY OF

THE STATE, DATING FROM

THE COLONIAL PERIOD

TO THE 1930S.

Encompassing changing displays of painting, photography,

film, drawings, prints, ceramics and furniture, the

Queensland Heritage Gallery will draw on key Collection

works by artists such as Isaac Walter Jenner, LJ Harvey

and his School and Bessie Gibson. Visiting artists who

documented the early development of Queensland, such

as Conrad Martens and Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe, will

also feature.

Some of the most popular and enduring works in the

Gallery’s Collection will be showcased in the display.

Painted in 1903, R Godfrey Rivers’s Under the jacaranda

depicts the artist and his future wife taking tea under the

shade of a jacaranda tree in Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens.

Today, the jacaranda’s distinctive purple blooms are iconic

of Brisbane, and Rivers’s painting is considered a

quintessential image of the city.

Vida Lahey’s Monday morning 1912 launched the artist’s

career when it was exhibited at the annual exhibition of the

Queensland Art Society in the same year. The representation

of two women doing the weekly wash is a rarity in Australian

art, as women’s lives were generally shown in a more

genteel fashion with the depiction of labour largely avoided.

An outstanding painting, Monday morning helps to explore

the broader theme of the domestic environment in early

Queensland life.

Queensland

Heritage Gallery


China

Jar with underglaze blue design of

Eight Auspicious Designs

1426–35 (Ming dynasty, Xuande reign)

Porcelain (Jingdezhen ware)

15.6cm (h.)

Collection: Shanghai Museum

THROUGH THE DISPLAY OF

COLLECTION WORKS AND

SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS ON

LONG-TERM LOAN, THE

GALLERY’S HISTORICAL

ASIAN GALLERY WILL

PROVIDE A FASCINATING

INSIGHT INTO ASPECTS OF

ASIAN CULTURE AND

AESTHETICS.

In recent years the Gallery has expanded its holdings of

historical Asian art through the development of a number of

specialist collections. Japanese works have the strongest

profile, including ceramics from each of the country’s Six

Old Kiln sites, a collection of ukiyo-e prints, and a pair of

early sixteenth-century painted screens by Unkoku T – oeki.

These collections will be augmented in the Queensland Art

Gallery’s new Historical Asian Gallery by significant works

on long-term loan from private and public collections. This

loans program continues mutually beneficial relationships

the Gallery enjoys with a number of key institutions,

including the Idemitsu Museum of Arts in Japan, the

Shanghai Museum in China, and the National Museum of

Korea. The program also further develops the Gallery’s

relationship with the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M

Sackler Gallery, in Washington DC. In recent years Gallery

staff have had the opportunity to further their area of

expertise through the Smithsonian Fellowship Program, a

joint initiative of the Queensland Government and the

Smithsonian Institution.

The scope of the loans program will include works of

outstanding quality, including superb Chinese porcelains

and Buddhist statuary from the Shanghai Museum;

exquisite Persian miniatures, ancient Near Eastern

earthenwares and thirteenth-century Khmer ceramics from

the Arthur M Sackler Gallery; Choson dynasty ceramics

from the National Museum of Korea; and a group of

significant sixteenth- to eighteenth-century ceramics

relating to the Japanese tea ceremony tradition from the

Idemitsu Museum of Arts. Displayed alongside works from

the Gallery’s Collection, these objects will highlight the

richness and sophistication of the cultural traditions of our

neighbours in the Asia–Pacific region.

Historical Asian Gallery


Artist unknown

Florence

St Cecilia, virgin and martyr, patroness

of church music with angels playing

musical instruments and reading the

scriptures (detail) c.1590

Oil on canvas laid on board

Collection: Abbey Museum of Art

and Archaeology

THE OLD MASTER PROJECT

IS AN INITIATIVE THROUGH

WHICH A NUMBER OF

EUROPEAN OLD MASTER

PAINTINGS FROM DIVERSE

QUEENSLAND COLLECTIONS

HAVE UNDERGONE MUCH-

NEEDED CONSERVATION

TREATMENT AT THE GALLERY.

RESTORED WORKS WILL

COMPLEMENT THE NEW

DISPLAYS OF HISTORICAL

INTERNATIONAL ART FROM

THE COLLECTION AT THE

ORIGINAL QUEENSLAND ART

GALLERY BUILDING.

Initiated in 2002, the Old Master Project is a collaboration

between the Queensland Art Gallery; the University Art

Museum, The University of Queensland, Brisbane; the

Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, Caboolture,

Queensland; and the Australian Catholic University, Brisbane

campus. With the exception of one large Victorian painting,

WF Calderon’s Crest of the hill 1898 (University Art Museum),

the 35 paintings, icons and sculptures conserved as part of

the project are religious works dating from the fourteenth to

the nineteenth centuries. In 2006, work is drawing to a

close on what has been a significant project for the Gallery’s

conservation department.

The aims of the Old Master Project included both saving

identified works from further deterioration or ruin, and

enabling the restored works to be appreciated by a wider

audience through their display at the Queensland Art

Gallery. The project also provided a valuable professional

development opportunity for a number of trainee

conservators at the Gallery, who undertook complex

treatments on the works with the guidance of senior

conservation staff.

Illustrated at left is one of the old master works, St Cecilia,

virgin and martyr, patroness of church music with angels

playing musical instruments and reading the scriptures.

The work depicts St Cecilia — one of the most venerated

martyrs of Christian antiquity. While the creator of the

painting is unknown, the mannerist gestures of the angel

and surrounding figures suggest Florentine origins.

Old Master Project


Kenneth Macqueen

Under the casuarinas, Maroochydore

c.1937–38

Watercolour over pencil on wove paper

39.2 x 46.3cm

Purchased 1944

Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

A RANGE OF EXHIBITIONS

ARE IN DEVELOPMENT

FOR DISPLAY AT THE

QUEENSLAND ART

GALLERY, FOLLOWING

THE OPENING OF THE

QUEENSLAND GALLERY OF

MODERN ART AND THE

ASIA–PACIFIC TRIENNIAL

OF CONTEMPORARY ART

IN DECEMBER 2006.

A major exhibition of the work of Kenneth Macqueen

(1897–1960) will showcase the artist’s position as one of

Queensland’s leading modernist painters, and the most

distinctive watercolourist of his generation. The strength

and clarity of Macqueen’s vision emerged from his

familiarity with the Queensland landscapes he depicted: the

farming regions of the Darling Downs, and the beaches of

the Sunshine and Gold Coasts.

The first retrospective of the work of Josephine Muntz-Adams

(1862–1949), regarded as one of the most adventurous

and expressive Australian portrait and landscape artists of

her generation, is also in development. In 1898, Muntz-

Adams’s painting Care c.1893 was the first work by an

Australian-born artist to be purchased by the Gallery.

Continuing a series of smaller exhibitions focusing on a single

significant Collection work, the Gallery is developing an

exhibition around Sidney Nolan’s painting Mrs Fraser 1947.

The exhibition will explore this work and others by Nolan that

were inspired by the story of Eliza Fraser, an Englishwoman

shipwrecked off the Queensland coast in 1836.

‘Such is Life: Images of Hardship and Resilience in Australian

Art to 1910’ will feature paintings, drawings, prints and

photographs from the Queensland Art Gallery and other

public collections. Bringing together some of the most

iconic images in Australian art, this exhibition will highlight

the conflict and drama of life in the young Australian colony

in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Future exhibitions


The opening of the Queensland

Art Gallery as a two-site museum,

combined with the fifth Asia–Pacific

Triennial of Contemporary Art, will be

one of the most significant cultural

events in Australian art history.


THE QUEENSLAND ART

GALLERY IS ABOUT

TO ENTER THE NEXT

PHASE IN ITS HISTORY,

WITH THE OPENING OF

ITS SECOND SITE, THE

QUEENSLAND GALLERY

OF MODERN ART.

Established in 1895, the Queensland Art Gallery moved into

its purpose-built premises on the Brisbane River in 1982.

This architecturally acclaimed building is about to be joined

by a second building, the Queensland Gallery of Modern

Art, opening in December 2006 as part of the Queensland

Government’s Millennium Arts Project. The two-site

Queensland Art Gallery will remain a single organisation

under one management structure.

The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art is located 200

metres north of the original Queensland Art Gallery building.

Together, the two buildings will form the second-largest

public art museum in Australia. Expansion to a two-site

institution will enable the Gallery to strengthen and diversify

its services, and respond to the continuing challenges of

presenting and interpreting the richness of Queensland’s

artistic life.

Illustration of the new Queensland

Art Gallery public entry, designed

by the building’s original architects,

Robin Gibson and Partners.

Image courtesy: Robin Gibson and Partners,

Brisbane

As construction of the new Gallery continues, the original

Queensland Art Gallery building is also undergoing

refurbishment. The main undertaking is the construction of

a new entry and foyer on the building’s northern aspect.

The entry will provide a clear line-of-sight to the Gallery of

Modern Art, while a public plaza will link the two buildings.

The new entry has been designed by the building’s original

architects, Robin Gibson and Partners.

Queensland

Art Gallery —

two sites from 2006


QUEENSLAND ART GALLERY

QUEENSLAND GALLERY OF MODERN ART

Director Doug Hall

CONTACTS

CURATORIAL

Email: gallery@qag.qld.gov.au

QUEENSLAND ART GALLERY FOUNDATION

Email: foundation@qag.qld.gov.au

Tel: +61 (0) 7 3840 7337

MEDIA

Email: media@qag.qld.gov.au

Tel: +61 (0) 7 3840 7162

© Queensland Art Gallery, May 2006

Melbourne Street, South Brisbane, Queensland Australia

PO Box 3686, South Brisbane, Queensland 4101 Australia

www.qag.qld.gov.au

The Queensland Gallery of Modern

Art under construction, March 2006

www.qag.qld.gov.au


Brisbane, Australia

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