National Gallery of Victoria

The Foundation has had a long association with the National Gallery of Victoria, commencing in 1991 when the Foundation provided Sydney Nolan’s iconic painting from the Kelly series “First Class Marksman” to the NGV on long term loan.

Whilst the gallery has considerable funds at its disposal to acquire new works of art, and has proven capacity to raise funds for capital projects, it is often difficult to obtain dedicated funds for the professional and educational development of curatorial staff, to undertake “backroom” and remediation projects or to develop educational outputs from the Gallery.

These objectives fit naturally with the Foundation’s overall aims, and in 2011 the Foundation agreed to a five-year donation program with the National Gallery of Victoria. That program has since been extended several times. The goals of the program are to support projects that:

  • enhance the scholastic and educational activities of the NGV,
  • foster the development of curators and professional leadership at the NGV, and
  • are difficult to fund through the normal fund-raising mechanisms of the NGV.

Sydney Nolan – First Class Marksman

Projects funded by Foundation donations have included:

  • a subsidy for the publication of the history of the NGV, celebrating its 150th year.
  • a detailed, published academic study of the NGV collection of Italian majolica.
  • development of bi-lingual didactics for the new Asian Art galleries.
  • supporting digitization and access through the NGV website of all articles published in The Art Journal, (the academic publication of the NGV), making it available to a wider national and international audience.
  • supporting the publication of a high quality review of the NGV contemporary  art collection – “101 Contemporary Australian Artists”
  • funding a three component catalogue suite for the innovative “Melbourne Now” exhibition including high quality hardback, e-book and compact versions.
  •  an extensive project to digitise the NGV’s unique collection of Australian Indigenous Art so that it can be made available to a wider national and international audience for research, study and enjoyment.  You can view digital images of this, and other NGV collections, here.

Indigenous Trainee Program and Curator of Indigenous Art

The Foundation has recently supported the implementation of a mentorship program which provides opportunities for Indigenous people to develop curatorial skills in the professional environment of the NGV. The initial two years of this program produced some outstanding results that have benefitted both the trainees and the NGV, but inevitably produced some disappointments and setbacks as well. It was recognised that this program would be difficult to implement, and in the third year no candidates with the necessary support networks could be identified.

In 2020 the Foundation’s support was utilised to help appoint Hannah Presley to the role of Curator of Indigenous Art. Since then, Hannah has hosted a widely-viewed series of indigenous artist virtual studio visits, curated the Big Weather exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre and contributed to the development of Old & New – an international touring exhibition of indigenous art from the NGV collection.