19th and Early 20th Century Australian Art
The Benalla Art Gallery art collection spans three centuries of Australian art, from the early 19th century to the present day. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, works on paper, decorative arts and furniture reflecting European trends of the late 19th and early 20th century.
This historical colonial and European influence of traditional styles and subjects in art is evident in a selection of paintings, prints and drawings from the Ledger Bequest with key works by Conrad Martens, Eugene von Guerard, Louis Buvelot and Charles Rolando. The collection includes works from the Australian impressionist period by John Russell and E. Phillips Fox, and has a strong representation from the Heidelberg School, including Impression for Golden Summer by Arthur Streeton and works by other notable painters of the time such as Tom Roberts, Walter Withers, Clara Southern and Frederick McCubbin.
Two important portraits by Joseph Backler reflect the costume and portrait style of the mid-19th century. These and other works in the collection focus on an era when English and European influences, trends and allegories were viewed as an integral part of Australian art.
Arthur Streeton, Impression for Golden Summer, 1888, oil on canvas on composition board. Gift of Mr L. Ledger, 1980
Benalla Art Gallery holds an incredible range of traditional and contemporary Indigenous artworks that survey the diversity, richness and complexity of the Aboriginal people and their traditions.
The collection features works in a variety of media including painting on bark and canvas, sculpture, textiles, weaving, photomedia, printmaking and installation.
Included in the collection are works by leading artists such as Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamara, Anatjari Tjakamarra, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, Tommy McRae, Albert Namatjira, Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula, Rover Thomas, Gloria Tamerre Petyarre, Gordon Bennett, Brook Andrew, Destiny Deacon, Leah King-Smith and Fiona Foley.
Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamara, c. 1972, natural earth pigments and synthetic polymer paint on composition board. Gift of Mr & Mrs Charles Lane, 1984
Modern and Contemporary Art
Benalla Art Gallery's collection of modern and contemporary artworks from the 20th and 21st century includes painting, photography, sculpture, prints and drawings. The collection traces the development of modern and contemporary Australian art from the Melbourne and Sydney moderns, the Heide circle, abstraction and figurative Australian art though to postmodernism and the present day.
Artists such as Grace Cossington Smith, Margaret Preston, Thea Proctor, Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Fred Williams, Leonard French, Jeffrey Smart and Clement Meadmore are amongst the many important 20th century Australian painters and sculptors represented in the collection.
Benalla Art Gallery is committed to building a significant collection of contemporary Australian art. Represented are works by leading contemporary artists such as Robert Jacks, John Sandler, Ivan Durrant, Dick Watkins, Sydney Ball, Angela Brennan, Peter Booth, Rosalie Gascoigne, Inge King, Howard Arkley, Juan Davila, Tim Maguire, Patricia Piccinini, Tim Storrier, Rick Amor, Polixeni Papapetrou, Mike Parr, Peter Tyndall, Sally Smart and Jason Benjamin.
Rosalie Gascoigne, Banner #1, 1992, retro-reflective road sign and linoleum on composition board. Gift of the artist, 1994
Explore the nooks and crannies of Benalla's Ceramic Mural and be rewarded as this curving, complex structure reveals itself. The mural, which became part of the Benalla Art Gallery collection in 2005, was built by skilled traditional potters and guided amateurs, young and old. Contributors to this whimsical gallery and performance space include nationally significant artists, 1500 students and countless volunteers.
The Ceramic Mural project was initiated by local community organisations and local, state and federal governments, and was funded by the Australia Council. It commenced as a community art project in 1983, integrating the skills of ceramic artists, architects and the wider community. Judy Lorraine was appointed as Artist in Residence in 1985 and created the model and architectural drawing. The project took 25 years to complete and was officially opened in 2010 by the then Mayor of Benalla Rural City Council, Councillor Bill Hill.