Artists of the Month April 2020: Australia's Great Online Collections in State Art Galleries, Museums and Libraries
Bear in mind it's not just the city centres that host these wonderful online galleries - many a local history society in regional areas, as well as regional art galleries, have and are currently adding to their online digitised resources so those far from these places can feast their eyes.
You can even take virtual tours of overseas galleries - however, those that are run here are brimful of wonderful Australian works of the places we love. They are a great reminder of the many aspects and offerings these places seek to share with all and how much we have to be thankful for.
This Issue we run from NSW to the Tasmania and over to South Australia - revisit next Issue and the great offerings in Western Australia and Queensland, The National Library of Australia, National Museum of Australia and National Portrait Gallery will have been added in, along with some of those regional gems and a few secret places we find wonderful Pittwater and Australian Art and Imagery to share with you.
Manly Art Gallery & Museum
Online accessible Collection at: www.manlyartgallerycollections.com.au - Artists listed Alphabetically; just hover over links on left side of webpage and lists will pop up.
The Manly Art Gallery & Museum is a cultural facility only three minutes' walk from Manly Wharf. Opened in 1930 as the first metropolitan-based regional gallery in New South Wales, the Gallery has become a popular destination for thousands of visitors each year. MAG&M stands out among the regional galleries for two distinctive reasons: its focus on Australian ceramics and its extensive holdings of paintings by Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo.
Manly Art Gallery & Museum also holds a superb collection of contemporary and early Australian paintings and works on paper. The collection was established through the generosity of artists and donors including Margaret Preston, Thea Proctor, Will Ashton, Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo, Lloyd Rees and many more.
The most famous painting, Tom Roberts' ''Christmas Flowers and Christmas Belles'' was donated in 1936 by Colonel Spain, a gentleman who featured in many an early Pittwater and Sydney Harbour Regatta. The extensive collection now contains over 1,000 watercolours, prints, etchings, drawings and paintings. Images of the visual arts collection is currently being added to this website.
You can already now get to know the life and work of Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo, one of the founders and most ardent supporters of the Manly Art Gallery on the website www.antoniodattilorubbo.com.au.
The Ceramic Collection
Manly Art Gallery & Museum today is home to one of Australia's finest ceramics collections representing many major ceramics artists including Peter Rushforth, Ivan Englund, Janet Mansfield and Gwyn Hanssen Pigott to name just a few. The works showcase the diversity of techniques, aesthetics and artistic practice, tracing the development of styles and techniques in Australia since 1945.
As of 2009, the entire ceramics collection can be found displayed here online with images and descriptions. Browse the collection at your leisure; it comprises over 330 works by over 140 ceramics artists.
NB: The Manly Art Gallery owns one of the globally best known paintings, 'Christmas Flowers and Christmas Belles', a 52 by 36 cm oil on canvas borrowed by the National Gallery of Australia for its 2015 Tom Roberts exhibition in Canberra. The painting was one of five paintings stolen in 1976, and then after several years, mysteriously returned then to the gallery.
Tom ROBERTS, England 1856 – Kallista 1931 AD- Australia from 1869; England, Europe 1881- 85, 1903-23
Christmas flowers and Christmas belles, c. 1899, oil on canvas, 52.1 (h) x 36.2 (w) cm - Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Sydney Gift of Colonel A. Spain, 1940
Art Gallery of NSW
Another brilliant example of taking it all online to share not only news and current exhibition insights but a wonderful collection of all genres of Art. There is so much to see here that you may well be jumping around their website longer than you would dwell in that great old building and its beautiful rooms. Their Collections landing webpage states:
The collections of an art museum such as those of the Art Gallery of NSW are enormously rich and varied. They are a fascinating barometer of the evolution of taste and style, and of changing social, cultural and even political values. They are also a definitive marker of the growth of an institution. In our roughly 130-year history, the Art Gallery of NSW has become far more than just a destination for looking at pictures. We have in that century or so evolved into a place of more extended experience: a place to enjoy lectures, films, concerts and performances, a place to meet friends or take part in education programs or special events. But above all, as a museum of art we must be a place of experience and inspiration, and at the heart of that lies our collection.
There are over 19 thousand digitised Australian artworks to peruse, Aboriginal works, Asian works, Contemporary Art, Pacific Art, Photography and more - all with great biographies or explanatory material.
One favourite the collator of this page would actually leave Pittwater to sit before, for hours - yes, that long long bus trip into town - is 'Spring Frost' a 1919 painting by Australian artist Elioth Gruner. The painting depicts a small herd of dairy cows in the early morning and reeks of home for some of us - a home possibly a while ago now - but still, home; in its texture, its essence and what it communicates. This is Gruner's most well-known painting and was awarded the Wynne Prize in 1919. Gruner actually won the Wynne Prize for landscape painting seven times, the most of any Australian artist besides Hans Heysen.
Spring Frost was largely painted en plein air at Emu Plains—now an outer western suburb of Sydney but then a rural area—and on the farm built by Isaac Innes and inherited by his son Jim Innes. It is actually Jim Innes in this painting with his cattle. Elioth Gruner's painting Morning Light also shows this farm. To compose the painting Gruner built a small structure on site to protect the canvas and, to avoid the chill, he wrapped his legs with chaff bags.
Elioth Lauritz Leganyer Gruner (16 December 1882 – 17 October 1939) - Spring Frost, 1919
The State Library of New South Wales
Australia's first public library, the State Library of NSW, also houses the Mitchell Library and the Dixson Wing, contains over 5 million items including more than 2 million books, 1.2 million microforms, 1.1 million photographs, as well as newspapers, maps, architectural plans, manuscripts, Art works and other items. It is part of the PANDORA web archiving project of the National Library of Australia and also collects born digital material, such as Pittwater Online News weekly Issues.
Computer cataloguing commenced in the early 1980s for books, and in 1992 for pictures and manuscripts. A large cataloguing backlog of material without an electronic record prompted the library's successful 2008 application for government funding to create over one million electronic catalogue records. The library subscribes to electronic databases which are accessible for cardholders via the catalogue.
The digitisation of the papers of Sir Joseph Banks, completed in 1997, was the first digitisation project of original manuscripts undertaken by the library. It was followed by further digitisation of manuscript and picture collections including the papers of Matthew Flinders, the Hood collection of photographs by Sam Hood and son Ted Hood, and the Holtermann Collection of images of the NSW goldfields of the 1860s and 1870s, which is now listed on the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register. The most recent addition from the SL of NSW addition to the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register is the original Ethel Turner manuscript for Seven Little Australians - more Pittwater/Palm Beach connections there.
Once again, this is a place where the online resources on the main site and on Flickr underline the intent of the library to share and engage Australians of all ages and interests in Australian materials - exhibitions, events and online resources continue to be added in a dynamic format by people who have a passion for highlighting this great resource - go explore this wonderful New South Wales, Australian and World asset!
A few examples (although you may have already seen many local images in History pages run here):
Pittwater, N.S.W., ca. 1887-1890 / photographer unknown - (Lovett Bay) Item: a4367001h, courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales - wondering whose house that is in the background to the right? Visit: Pittwater Summer Houses: Rocky Point and Elvina Bay - A Place Of Holiday Songs and Operas In Ventnor, Fairhaven, Trincomalee and Maritana
Powerhouse Museum – Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences
No online tour of all the Australian Art and Art Objects would be complete without a visit to the Powerhouse Museum – Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS).
A wonderful Pittwater Example:
Australian National Maritime Museum (Sea Museum)
The Australian National Maritime Museum is a federally operated maritime museum in Darling Harbour, Sydney. This is also a great place to explore as their digitisation program, alike all others listed here, continues to expand - so even if you think you have seen everything, check again!m The ANMM also have a Flickr site where you can find great old photos of our area as well as other treasures.
There are over 140 thousand items and images digitised here. The last time an online visit was paid, new images of The Basin Regattas of the 1890s had been added in:
NSW State Archives
The New South Wales State Archives collection is a unique and irreplaceable part of our Australian cultural heritage dating back to 1788. Want to find which ship ancestors came out on? Some plans and drawings of early Manly hotels? See road building works going on or a photograph of a railway station still surrounded by bush on the north shore?
THIS is the place to go! You will be in there for days.... and then go back again.
There is also a State Archives Flickr platform add-in as well so you can appreciate some of the great Art.
Just one example:
The National Library of Australia
The National Library of Australia is the largest reference library in Australia, responsible under the terms of the National Library Act for "maintaining and developing a national collection of library material, including a comprehensive collection of library material relating to Australia and the Australian people."
What's more - they're experts at digitising and sharing all maner of materials and Art - think TROVE, the Australian National Bibliographic Database, digitising magazines such as the old RAHS volumes, Art in Australia, and Photography Australia, The Bulletin, PANDORA, Australia's Web Archive, Manuscripts, Interviews, Maps, Old Land Sales lithographs. A collection of Australian online publications, established initially by the National Library of Australia in 1996, and now built in collaboration with nine other Australian libraries and cultural collecting organisations (Pittwater Online News is part of this), the National Library of Australia Catalogue where in you can discover those great Enemark Panoramas and zoom in for details, as well as other great Art, Ephemera, eBooks that are free to read online or download and Daily Updates on what is in their extensive catalogue inviting you to explore more. Recent examples via their Facebook and Twitter posts - this is Australia's BIGGEST ONLINE EXHIBITION of evrything!:
A Pittwater Art example:
Bayliss, Charles. ([188-?]). Pittwater Basin, New South Wales Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-140626637
Rowan, Ellis. ([188-?]). Banksia serrata L.f. (1782), family Proteaceae Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-138824614
National Museum of Australia
Want to know where we find all those great old postcards of Palm Beach, Narrabeen, Manly and everywhere in between? the NMA!
The National Museum of Australia, in the national capital Canberra, preserves and interprets Australia's social history, exploring the key issues, people and events that have shaped the nation. It was formally established by the National Museum of Australia Act 1980. Just click on their landing pages 'Explore' > Collection > Collection Explorer - put in your search term and explore!
The Surf Life Saving Club, Deewhy, NSW, from the Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1 , courtesy the NMA!
National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery in Australia is a collection of portraits of prominent Australians who are important in their field of endeavour or whose life sets them apart as an individual of long-term public interest. This collection ranges through all mediums and eras - absolutely wonderful!
MIDGET FARRELLY AT PALM BEACH, 1964 - by John Witzig - type C photograph (mount: 81.5 cm x 101.8 cm, image: 46.5 cm x 70.0 cm), courtesy National Portrait Gallery
The National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Collection contains approximately 75,000 works of art and approximately 90% of its records are available for viewing here. More than 30,000 images of works in the Public Domain are available to download at high resolution for free for publications and non-commercial use by clicking on the download icon. We are constantly improving and adding to the information on this website through research and scholarship, with updates being made to records on a regular basis and images added when they become available.
NGV KIDS AT HOME ACTIVITIES
The NGV has a range of kids activity sheets which can be used at home. Click here to download activity sheets and get creative! Including:
- Mystical Creatures
- Shoe Biz
- Make It Bloom
- Creative Cooking
- Mystery Making
Message on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content
The National Gallery of Victoria respectfully advises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that this site includes images, works and names of deceased Indigenous people and may include images of artistic, cultural or intellectual property that may be of a sensitive nature. We have made efforts to ensure that restricted works are not reproduced. This website may contain terms that reflect the period in which the item was created and may be considered inappropriate today. These are a reflection of past practices only and do not reflect the attitudes of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
The NGV is committed to making as much of the collection available on line as possible. Please note some of these records contain images of First Nations people and cultural practices. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have reason to believe any of these records contain sensitive, secret/sacred, and/or restricted content, and therefore should not be publicly available.
EXPLORE THE COLLECTION - A few examples:
Coogee - (c. 1840) Artist: UNKNOWN
Medium: watercolour. Measurements10.1 × 14.9 cm (image and sheet)Accession NumberA36-1979 Department Australian Prints & Drawings. Credit LineNational Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased, 1979. This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of the Joe White Bequest
State Library of Victoria
Pittwater Online News has found a variety of materials here sourced for History pages as well as other great images, texts, music and Art.
Some Art examples:
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Explore online resources produced and collated by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery's Centre for Learning and Discovery on a range of topics including Art, Tasmanian Aboriginal culture, history and climate change. Check back often. Fresh resources are published here as they become available.
Shaping Tasmania a Journey in 100 Objects is an online exhibition and gallery trail of objects from Tasmania’s State Collection, selected from the objects on display throughout the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. These objects explore significant events and movements that have helped create the Tasmania we know today. Visit HERE - NB: you can zoom in to see details of Objects.
A few other examples of what is available:
Benjamin Duterrau(1767-1851), The Conciliation, circa 1840, oil on canvas.
Object 84 from 100: TMAG states; -
Considered the first historical painting in the Australian colonies, Benjamin Duterrau’s The Conciliation is an idealised depiction of the British ‘Protector of the Aborigines’, George Augustus Robinson, at the centre of a group of Tasmanian Aboriginal people. It refers to Robinson’s role as a ‘conciliator’ between the Aborigines and white settlers during the period of 1829–1834, where the aim was to ‘civilise’ and ‘Christianise’ the Aboriginal population.
This process involved Robinson travelling around the island and gathering together the Aboriginal people, which eventually led to their transportation and segregation on Flinders Island. Here, many Aboriginal people died from disease and maltreatment, and Robinson’s efforts resulted in the decline of their population. The surviving 47 Aboriginal people were moved to Oyster Cove, back on the Tasmanian mainland, in 1847.
Duterrau’s painting is significant – not only because it romanticises Robinson as a heroic saviour, but also because he was the only colonial painter to concentrate on Robinson and the topic of the conciliation. Duterrau’s objective was to create a ‘National Picture’ which could “extend feelings of universal philanthropy” – rather than dwell on the problems of colonisation. The extent to which Duterrau idealises Robinson in this painting reflects this goal and perhaps tells us more about Duterrau’s Christian values than it does about the reality of the conciliation. Duterrau’s central placement of Robinson, the mystical gesture of his hand towards the heavens, and the collective focus of the Aboriginal people around him all portray Robinson as a Christ-like figure.
With such an emblematic portrayal of Robinson, the painting is considered the first example of allegorical – or ‘history’ – painting in the Classical style in Australia. This smaller version is also the study for Duterrau’s proposed epic (3.04 m x 4.26 m) National Picture – the search for which continues to inspire many art historians today.
Image: John H (Jackie) Robinson (1883-1953), Group of men holding waratah flowers at Seven Mile, near Waratah, Tasmania, c. 1920 (detail).
Worth Noting: The TMAG now has a female Chair of its Board of Trustees for the first time in its long history, following the appointment of Brett Torossi. The appointment was announced on February 24th, 2020. This is also the first time that two women have led the museum, with Ms Torossi joining TMAG Director Janet Carding, who has been reappointed for another five year term.
In addition, TMAG has also welcomed two new Trustees, Andrew Catchpole and Heather Rose, who have been appointed to three year terms.
Image: Brett Torossi pictured in the This Too Shall Pass exhibition gallery. TMAG photo
State Library of Tasmania
Along with a great cache of resources, including Tasmanian archives and heritage, an elibrary, emusic, family history resoruces, and elanguages you can learn online, the State Library of Tasmania holds a vast collection of wonderful photographs of regattas or such luminaries as John Watt Beattie, along with Historic plans, Pictures, Maps and Prints.
To see Categories, visit: libraries.tas.gov.au/archive-heritage
A few examples:
Hobart Town from tower of St. David's Cathedral, 1857. Publication Information: Hobart : C. Abbott?, 1857. Item: AUTAS001139592695
Seated lady with flowers - 1893. Author/Creator: Mary Augusta Walker, 1856-1952. Digitised item from: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office. Record ID: SD_ILS:673384
Art Gallery of South Australia
The Art Gallery of South Australia has one of the largest art museum collections in Australia, comprising almost 45,000 works of art spanning 2000 years. Their collection includes paintings, sculpture, prints and drawings, photographs and videos, textiles and clothing, ceramics, glass, metalwork, jewellery and furniture. Another glorious celebration of Australian Art as well as many other wonderful objects and images.
To date approximately 40% of collection records are available to view in the online collection.
H. J. Johnstone (1835-1907), A Billabong in the Goulburn Valley, Victoria, Australia. 1878 - On display, Gallery 3 - AGSA zoomable version here
Russell Drysdale, ( 1912 – 1981), Woman in a landscape, 1949- oil on composition board
Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA)
The AGWA Collection houses the State's art collection consisting of over 17,000 works of art including around 3,000 Indigenous works. Breathtakingly beautiful classic and contemporary works celebrate our fauna, flora, landscapes and peoples thorough the ages. Search their Collection. AGWA also does and outstanding job via their social media posts, sharing insights into the collection.
State Library of Western Australia
Another great state library filled with all manner of resources, including great Art. A large collection of digitised materials are available to peruse online and you can even find things far from home - as a Pittwater Online Researcher did for this story on the First School Launch in Australia (another great example of how following up and following through, even in libraries overseas, will bring home items that shed new light on happenings here - photos and paintings related to Pittwater have been found in the Library of Congress as well as France - never stop exploring until you find it!):
The Bayview (Pittwater) Public School Launch. Bayview School Launch. (1904, August 3).Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), , p. 37. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71512651
Images is from a Newspaper cutting held by the State Library of Western Australia:
The mulberry trees in front of St George's Church, St George's Terrace and the Perth Town Hall under construction behind, 5 October 1868 - Item: 6909B/47, courtesy State Library of Western Australia
Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)
See the world from a new perspective at QAGOMA. Together, the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art offer compelling experiences that will move and surprise you.
Our two galleries each have their own distinct personalities, but are united in their purpose to share exceptional art. Queensland Art Gallery was established in 1895 and moved to its current residence at South Bank in 1982. It was joined by the Gallery of Modern Art in 2006 and the galleries now house a globally significant collection of contemporary art from Australia, Asia and the Pacific.
The experience of a visit starts when the striking architecture of our riverside galleries comes into view. Glimpses of Brisbane continue to anchor you to our subtropical city from inside each gallery, while ever-changing exhibitions, programs and events broaden your horizons.
QAGOMA is also home to a Children's Art Centre that presents interactive artworks for kids and families, a cinema that celebrates film from around the world, plus gallery shops with art, books and cultural curios to take home. Every visit is a conversation starter, and our outdoor cafes and award-winning restaurant offer places for stimulating discussion.
So whatever your mood, there is always something to capture your interest. Curate your next outing by checking what’s on, or drop in to see what’s new.
An example: Margaret Olley story in their 'BLOG' webpage MARGARET OLLEY: THE SUBJECT IS WILDFLOWERS - which includes mention of this great Painters time at Pittwater.
Queensland's Historic Photographs and Colonial Paintings
As with all other states there are local historical societies throughout Queensland that hold a vast collection of great images and artworks as well as ehpemera. Centred around Brisbane collections though are the State Library of Queenslands' Picture Queensland, an online collection of images that documents Queensland's people, places and events, the Queensland Historical Photos collection with records stemming from 1791 on, and the Queensland State Archives Image collection and the great John Oxley Library of the State Library of Queensland. Simply enter your Search subject and away you go.
International Museums -art galleries - Tours Online: Just Search For Your Favourites And Find Their Virtual Options, Examples -
British Museum, London
This iconic museum located in the heart of London allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies. You can also find hundreds of artefacts on this museum’s virtual tour.
Tate Modern Art Gallery 360 Virtual Tour
Gallery virtual tours around the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern during one of the art exhibitions for the Unilever Series. A collection of art gallery virtual tours, from world-renowned galleries like the Tate to smaller private galleries. Please click the thumbnails to view. Visit here.
Guggenheim Museum, New York
Google’s Street View feature lets visitors tour the Guggenheim’s famous spiral staircase without ever leaving home. From there, you can discover incredible works of art from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary eras.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
This famous American art museum features two online exhibits through Google. The first is an exhibit of American fashion from 1740 to 1895, including many renderings of clothes from the colonial and Revolutionary eras. The second is a collection of works from Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer.
Library of Congress - Washington
The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, and it serves as the research. Use the largest library in the world online by visiting: www.loc.gov
Smithsonian tour of the National Quilt Collection: USA
The National Quilt Collection had its beginnings in the 1890s when three quilts were included in a donation of 18th and 19th century household and costume items from one New England family. Since then, the collection has expanded to more than 400 items that cover three centuries of American history. These quilts represent a wide range of style, content, history, and even personality. But few are on exhibition at any given time. Now you can take a virtual behind-the-scenes tour on the museum’s website and see where the collection resides when not on public view.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
This wonderful museum holds European artworks from as far back as the 8th Century can be found in this California art museum. Take a Street View tour to discover a huge collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, manuscripts, and photographs.
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
This less well-known gallery houses the art collection of one of Florence, Italy’s most famous families, the de’Medicis. The building was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 specifically for Cosimo I de’Medici, but anyone can wander its halls from anywhere in the world.
MASP, São Paulo
The Museu de Arte de São Paulo is a non-profit and Brazil’s first modern museum. Artworks placed on clear perspex frames make it seem like the artwork is hovering in midair. Take a virtual tour to experience the wondrous display for yourself.
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
Built in 1964, this museum is dedicated to the archaeology and history of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic heritage. There are 23 exhibit rooms filled with ancient artefacts, including some from the Mayan civilisation.
Paris Museums Put 300,000 Works of Art Online: Download Classics by Monet, Cézanne
Fantastic! Visit: http://parismuseescollections.paris.fr/en
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
You can take a virtual walk through this popular gallery that houses the famous works of French artists who worked and lived between 1848 and 1914. Stand/sit before artworks from Monet, Cézanne, and Gauguin, among others.
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
A very popular Korean museum can be accessed from anywhere around the world. Google’s virtual tour takes you through six floors of Contemporary art from Korea and all over the globe.
Pergamon Museum, Berlin
As one of Germany’s largest museums, Pergamon has a lot to offer – even if you can’t physically be there at present. This historical museum is home to many ancient artefacts including the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and, of course, the Pergamon Altar.
Explore the masterworks from the Dutch Golden Age, including works from Vermeer and Rembrandt. Take a Google offers a Street View tour of this iconic museum, so you can feel as if you’re actually wandering its halls.
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
This great painters' works can be viewed up close by virtually visiting this museum – the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and over 750 personal letters.