Arts / A close look at the art of giving

On loan… Frederick McCubbin’s large, early work, “Bush Idyll 1893”.

NOT only has the National Gallery of Australia just purchased James A Whistler’s tiny seascape “Harmony in blue and pearl: The Sands, Dieppe 1885” for $1.4 million, but it has planned a bumper summer season of sights for visitors.

James A Whistler’s“Harmony in blue and pearl: The Sands, Dieppe 1885”… acquired for $1.4 million

The Whistler purchase has the gallery reflecting on the depth of its Australia’s Impressionist collection, strengthened by the loan from a private collector of Frederick McCubbin’s large, early work, “Bush Idyll 1893” and, as NGA director Gerard Vaughan notes, Arthur Streeton’s “The Point Wharf, Mosman Bay 1893.”

These recent acquisitions have inspired the gallery to launch a summer trail to celebrate what it calls “The Art of Giving”, to recognise the donors who have enhanced the NGA collection through their patronage.

Highlights, gallery staff say, include Sam Jinks’ commission, “The deposition, 2017”, created for the “Hyper Real” exhibition, new works by David Hockney purchased through the Orde Poynton Bequest and Paul Sérusier’s masterpiece, “Woman from Savoy” (La Savoyarde) 1890, recently added to the collection and now installed with two works by Sérusier and Emile Bernard on loan from the Kerry Stokes Collection

Among the many Australian acquisitions are five works from Sidney Nolan’s 1964 “Antarctica” series purchased by the NGA Foundation, a loan of a painting from Sidney Nolan’s 1962 series on Burke and Wills, Tasmanian painter Philip Wolfhagen’s seven-panel work “A litany of vapours 2007” purchased from the NGA Foundation Gala Dinner Fund 2017, as well as work by Rosalie Gascoigne donated by Hester Gascoigne, work by Brian Blanchflower and Ildiko Kovacs donated by James and Jacqui Erskine, and works by Akio Makigawa donated by Tom Lowenstein.

Pride of place is given to Gordon and Marilyn Darling’s gift to the nation of 57 Albert Namatjira watercolours, five Papunya boards from 1972-73, acquired from the Allan Scott collection and private donors and a 18th century Papua New Guinean ancestor figure in wood and pigment, acquired in 2016.

“The Art of Giving”, National Gallery of Australia, free (except for entry to “Hyper Real”).

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