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The Australian Collection is coming downstairs at the National Gallery of Australia. Seems fitting actually as the impact of great works on the visiting public should happen at the beginning of their visit after they been past the Aboriginal Memorial Poles circuit. And just like a good spruce up with a new coat of paint, re-hanging and better furniture arrangement at home works wonders, so too it will be for the gallery.
To herald the change the summer season where a ’blockbuster’ has been the drawcard for many years, this year we have one of our own as Tom Roberts, one of our greatest, is the headliner with a formidable collection of 133 works that includes paintings, pastels, sculpture, drawings and prints. Among them the magnificent ‘Big Picture’ painted for the Federation of Australia ceremony in 1901, owned by HM The Queen, and acquired over a cuppa and a chat by Sir Robert Menzies on a kind of permanent loan and will be transported from Parliament House to the NGA for the exhibition. Her Majesty would be pleased I think.
The official announcement of the exhibition by Minister for the Arts Senator George Brandis placed him behind a large swathe of wattle at the podium and slap bang next to the rear end of the horse in Tom Roberts’ painting ‘A break away’. We got the picture.
Director Gerard Vaughan though was keen to spread the message that the NGA is changing for the better and supporting him is a staff of excellence who are excited and supportive of the new era for the NGA. It will be a formidable effort and all will be revealed on opening night 4 December.Tickets are now available