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Art Gallery of NSW acquires new Australian works

Tammy Weller

The Art Gallery of New South Wales has added four significant Australian works of art to their permanent collection.
Art Gallery of NSW acquires new Australian works

The Art Gallery of New South Wales has added four significant Australian works of art to their permanent collection.  


The works acquired are The New House and The Breakfast Table by John Brack, Figure with Scales by Joy Hester, and Tram Kaleidoscope by Frank Hinder.

'I am thrilled to make this announcement today,’ said Michael Brand, director of the Art Gallery of NSW. ‘The Gallery is continuing to develop our collections through acquiring exceptional works of art. These four works represent this commitment. I am extremely grateful to the private individuals including our members, benefactors and philanthropists who have made this possible.’

John Brack was a Melbourne artist who came to prominence in the 1950s. He was part of the antipodeans; a group of Australian artists who protested against abstract art and believed in the importance of figurative art. For over forty years, Brack was at the forefront of Australian art producing iconic works that were stark, simple and drab in colour. 

The New House (1953) was acquired through funds provided by Gleeson O’Keefe Foundation. It depicts a newlywed couple who have moved into their dream home. The Breakfast Table (1958), acquired through the Art Gallery of NSW foundation and the Australian Masterpiece Fund, depicts the leftover plates of a family’s morning meal. This work was a precursor to Brack’s famous later works of marching pencils and playing cards on tables.

Joy Hester was a Melbourne artist who favoured drawing over painting, which made her unpopular in her time. She was important in the development of Australian Modernism and was part of the Angry Penguins; a group of avant-garde artists in the 1940s. Hester’s influences were German expressionism, Picasso and Danila Vassilieff.

The purchase of Figure with Scales (1957) was funded by John M Gillespie Bequest. It portrays a person weighing a chicken and is possibly autobiographical referring to Hester’s failed money-making scheme to raise and sell chickens.

Frank Hinder was a Sydney artist who was integral to the birth of Modernism in Australia. His art career was varied as he worked in theatre design, advertising, graphic art, and was part of the camouflage wing in WWII. Hinder is best known for his abstract paintings but he also worked in drawing and electric light sculptures.

Tram Kaleidoscope (1948) was purchased with funds provided by members of Art Gallery Society of NSW. The work is one of Hinder’s largest major modernist paintings and will be part of the Arts Gallery NSW’s upcoming exhibition Sydney Moderns that runs from 6 July until 7 October 2013.

The works were bought at the recent sale of television entrepreneur’s Reg Grundy and his wife Joy’s recording breaking single owner art collection at Bonham’s last week.

All four acquisitions are now on display at the Art Gallery of NSW. For more information on Sydney Moderns see the Art Gallery of NSW website.

About the author

Tammy Weller is a Melbourne-based writer. She recently completed a Graduate Diploma in Arts majoring in Writing, Publishing and Editing at the University of Queensland. She moved to Melbourne at the start of the year and also works as an actor and massage therapist.

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