Art Gallery of New South Wales
|Art Gallery of New South Wales|
|Location||The Domain, Sydney, New South Wales, Coordinates:|
|Director||Dr Michael Brand|
The Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), located in The Domain in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, was established in 1880 and is the most important public gallery in Sydney and the fourth largest in Australia. Admission is free to the general exhibition space, which displays Australian (from settlement to contemporary), European and Asian art.
On 24 April 1871, a public meeting was convened to establish an Academy of Art 'for the purpose of promoting the fine arts through lectures, art classes and regular exhibitions.' From 1872 until 1879 the Academy's main activity was the organisation of annual art exhibitions. On 11 November 1880, at its 9th Annual Meeting, the Academy dissolved itself, stating that its aims had been realised in the foundation of a public Gallery. The Gallery at this time was known simply as The Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 1883 its name was changed to The National Art Gallery of New South Wales. The Gallery was incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1899. The Library and Art Gallery Act 1899 provided for the general control and management of the Gallery.1 The fine arts display at the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879-1880 became the nucleus of a government collection administered by the Royal Art Society of New South Wales. However, most of the collection was destroyed in the Garden Palace Fire of 1882, and the Art Society along with the trustees for the Academy of Art (formed in 1871) spent the next thirteen years debating with the state government, the press and the public, the need for a permanent gallery, its site, and the architect to build it. The Academy of Art trustees preferred a private architect, whereas the government want the assignment to be given to the Colonial Architect, James Barnett, whose building included the Sydney General Post Office on Martin Place.1
By the time the site was agreed upon in 1895, James Barnet had retired and the new Colonial Architect, Walter Liberty Vernon (1846–1914), was given the assignment. As a temporary measure, John Horbury Hunt, a private architect, had designed a small brick structure, built in 1885, to temporarily house the collection. This building, which was dwarfed by the new gallery when it opened in 1897, remained to the rear of the new gallery until it was demolished in 1969 to make way for the extensions.
The first two picture galleries were opened in 1897 and a further two in 1899. A watercolour gallery was added in 1901 and in 1902 the Grand Oval Lobby was completed.1
In 1958, the gallery was renamed The Art Gallery of New South Wales under a new act of that name.
In 1968, the New South Wales Government decided that the gallery would be extended as a major part of the Captain Cook Bicentenary celebrations. As a result, the "Captain Cook wing" was built and opened to public in November 1970.2 New gallery space was provided in five storeys behind the original classical façade, increasing the racking space to 1.25 linear kilometres, with a new café, a sculpture courtyard and administrative offices.3 The extensions were designed by Andrew Andersons of PTW Architects and constructed of grey rough concrete.2
More recently, as part of the "Open Museum" project, sculptures have been positioned along the entry road. On 23 October 2003 a new Asian Arts wing was opened. It was designed by Sydney architect Richard Johnson and included alterations to the original Asian gallery, a new temporary exhibition space above the Art Gallery's entrance foyer, new conservation studios, a café, a restaurant and dedicated function area. In 2003 the gallery also extended its opening hours until 9pm on Wednesday nights.
On 10 June 2007, a 17th-century work by Frans van Mieris, entitled A Cavalier (Self Portrait), was stolen from the gallery.4 The painting had been donated by John Fairfax and was valued at over $1 million.5 The theft raised questions about need for increased security at the gallery.6
In 2010, the John Kaldor Family Gallery was created by removing onsite storage to offsite.
- 1892–1894 Eliezer Montefiore (Director)
- 1895–1905 George Layton (Secretary and Superintendent)
- 1905–1929 Gother Mann CBE (Secretary and Superintendent 1905–1912; Director and Secretary 1912–1929)
- 1929–1937 James MacDonald (Director and Secretary)
- 1937–1945 Sir John Ashton OBE ROI (Director and Secretary)
- 1945–1971 Hal Missingham AO (Director and Secretary)
- 1971–1978 Peter Laverty (Director)
- 1978–2011 Edmund Capon AM OBE (Director)7
- 2012– Dr Michael Brand8
Although the majority of Vernon's buildings are in the Arts and Crafts style, the 1897 building was built in a conservative classical tradition.1 The facade has a central block with extending wings each terminating in a bow-fronted colonnaded pavilion. The central block is marked by a Neo-Classical portico with six columns of the Ionic order, the penultimate example of the neo-Greek temple as a portico for a major public institution in Sydney, the last being Vernon's building of similar design for the nearby State Library of New South Wales.1 It was built of Sydney sandstone (yellowblock) from the Saunders quarries at Pyrmont.9
The windowless wings and end pavilions are emblazoned along the cornice with the names of old master painters and sculptors. In a series of panels beneath, are an incomplete set of bronze relief sculptures by a range of different sculptors and symbolising the contribution to art by ancient civilisations. Those complete show significant scenes in the art history of Rome, Greece, Assyria and Egypt.
The portico leads into a vestibule designed by James Barnet, and reportedly "derived from Raphael's Villa Madama in Rome (c. 1520). The design and detailing of the cornices and arches of the foyer are described as "especially fine and unusual".9 The foyer is illuminated by a leadlight dome, and has niches in the walls containing a collection of sculptured busts.
The older rooms of the gallery extend to the right of the foyer, and have been maintained in late 19th-century style, to display the gallery's collection of early European, 19th-century and Australian Impressionist works. The later extensions to the building are on five levels and contain a central long gallery giving access to other parts of the building, multi-purpose and specialised exhibition spaces, services such as lifts and escalators, restaurants, shops, terraces, a sculpture garden and windows with extended views of the harbour.
Established in 1871, the Academy of Arts early on bought some large works from Europe such as Ford Madox Brown's Chaucer at the Court of Edward III. Later they bought work from Australian artists such as Streeton's 1891 Fire's On, Roberts' 1894 The Golden Fleece and McCubbin's 1896 On the Wallaby Track.
The gallery holds works by many Australian artists, including 19th-century Australian artists such as John Glover, Arthur Streeton, Eugene von Guerard, John Russell, Tom Roberts, David Davies, Charles Conder, W. C. Piguenit, E. Phillips Fox (including Nasturtiums), Frederick McCubbin, Sydney Long and George W. Lambert.
20th-century Australian artists represented include Hugh Ramsay, Rupert Bunny, Grace Cossington Smith, Roland Wakelin, Margaret Preston, William Dobell, Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale, James Gleeson, Arthur Boyd, Lloyd Rees, John Olsen, Fred Williams, Brett Whiteley and Imants Tillers.
44 works held at the gallery were included in the 1973 edition of 100 masterpieces of Australian painting.10
The gallery has an extensive collection of British Victorian art, such as Lord Frederic Leighton and Sir Edward John Poynter; smaller holdings of Dutch, French and Italian painters of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, such as Peter Paul Rubens, Canaletto, Agnolo Bronzino, Domenico Beccafumi and Niccolò dell'Abbate; collections of European modernists such as Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Alberto Giacometti and Giorgio Morandi as well as modern British masters.
Vive L'Empereur (1891) by Édouard Detaille
The Anatomy Class at the Ecole des Beaux Arts (1888) by François Sallé
The Defence of Rorke's Drift (1880) by Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville
The gallery hosts the long running Archibald Prize, the most prominent Australian art prize, along with the Sulman, Wynne and Dobell art prizes, among others. It also exhibits Artexpress, a yearly showcase of Higher School Certificate Visual Arts Examination artworks from across New South Wales.
At the start of the movie, Sirens, Hugh Grant walks past paintings in the Art Gallery of NSW, including Spring Frost by Elioth Gruner, The Golden Fleece (1894) by Tom Roberts, Still Glides the Stream and Shall Forever Glide (1890) by Arthur Streeton, Bailed Up (1895) by Tom Roberts, and Chaucer at the Court of Edward III (1847–51) by Ford Madox Brown.
- Geoff Stuart, Secrets in Stone - Discover the History of Sydney (Brandname Properties Pty Ltd, 1993) pg 119–120, ISBN 0-646-13994-0
- "History of the building". Art Gallery of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 12 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
- Park, Ruth (1999). Ruth Park's Sydney. Duffy & Snellgrove. ISBN 1-875989-45-5.
- Jinman R., Morgan C. Dutch master stolen Sydney Morning Herald 14 June 2007.
- Theft from Art Gallery of New South Wales at FBI website
- Barlow K. NSW Gallery Defends Security System after theft of 17th century artwork ABC The World Today, 14 June 2007. Accessed on 14 June 2007
- Morgan, Clare (3 August 2011). "Capon confirms retirement". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
- Fortescue, Elizabeth (10 February 2012). "Australian Dr Michael Brand is the new director for the Art Gallery of NSW". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012.-02-10.
- Irving, Robert (2006). Paradise Purgatory Hellhole. Singapore: Media Masters. p. 57. ISBN 981-05-5922-4.
- Works cited in the document '100 masterpieces of Australian painting (1973)', Art Gallery of New South Wales. Retrieved on 9 January 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Art Gallery of New South Wales|
- AGNSW site
- "Art Gallery of New South Wales". History and Archives: Historic Buildings. City of Sydney. 2004. Retrieved 2010-03-28.
- Art Gallery of New South Wales Artabase page