Pablo Picasso | Spain 1881–1973 | La Belle Hollandaise 1905 | Gouache on cardboard mounted on wood | 77.1 x 65.8cm | Purchased 1959 with funds donated by Major Harold de Vahl Rubin | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © Pablo Picasso, 1905/SUCCESSION PICASSO. Licensed by VISCOPY, Sydney 2004
Blandford Fletcher | England 1858–1936 | Evicted 1887 | Oil on canvas | 123.1 x 185.3cm | Purchased 1896 | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
La Belle Hollandaise 1905
Gouache on cardboard mounted on wood
77.1 x 65.8cm
Purchased 1959 with funds donated by Major Harold de Vahl Rubin
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
© Pablo Picasso, 1905/SUCCESSION PICASSO. Licensed by VISCOPY, Sydney 2004
Oil on canvas
123.1 x 185.3cm
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
The Master of Frankfurt The Netherlands 1460–c.1520–33 | Virgin and Child with Saint James the Pilgrim, Saint Catherine and the Donor with Saint Peter (detail) c.1496 | Oil on oak panel | Purchased 1980 with funds from Utah Foundation through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
The establishment of the Queensland Art Gallery’s second site — the Gallery of Modern Art — in 2006, was preceded by broad-ranging discussions about the issue of historical division and categorisation. How and where does one draw a line through collections which span, without delineating, some five centuries of art, and that were to be dispersed across two separate buildings?
Deciding on a specific historical moment to designate a division was always going to be plagued by arbitrariness. Choosing 1970 rather than 1968 or 1985 would seem to be entirely contingent. In a sense the date is transitional — one that is bracketed by historically ‘loaded’ decades. The revolutionary impulse of the 1960s, for example, is generally agreed to have both culminated and dissipated by 1968, and the following decade saw some of the first ‘global’ events such as terrorism, energy crises, and environmentalism became part of the everyday media landscape. Within the frame of recent history, the ‘sixties’ and ‘seventies’ appear to be defined more in terms of localised popular and political culture where the postmodern tenor of the 1980s and 90s was characterised by a more overarching, detached and increasingly global discourse.
A feature of the Gallery’s programming and collection since the early 1990s has been a focus on the contemporary art of the Asian and Pacific region, defining a new conception of internationalism. Geographical nomenclature rather than historical or media categories has facilitated greater flexibility and creativity in establishing relationships, dialogues and resonances across collection areas. Within this changing perception of geographical and cultural boundaries, international art — once considered to be that of Western Europe and North America — has now broadened to include Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific Rim and South America.
The international art collection (pre 1970) at the Queensland Art Gallery consists mainly of European painting, sculpture, decorative arts, prints and drawings. Ranging from the fourteenth to the late twentieth century, approximately half of the works are of British origin. The initial donations and bequests were made in the late nineteenth century. The Gallery’s first purchase, British artist Blandford Fletcher's Evicted 1887 in 1896, remains one of it’s most popular paintings.
Seventeenth-century Dutch paintings, bequested in 1892 by the Hon. Thomas Lodge Murray-Prior, MLC, form the kernel of the European collection, which includes still lifes, landscapes and religious images by Alexander Coosemans, Jan Breughel the Younger, Cornelis de Briers and after David Teniers the Younger. This group of works was significantly enhanced when the establishment the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation in 1979 enabled the purchase of Old Master works such as the late fifteenth-century panel painting by the Master of Frankfurt, Virgin and Child with Saint James the Pilgrim, Saint Catherine and the Donor with Saint Peter c.1496. Other purchases through the Foundation included Tintoretto’s Cristo risorgente (The risen Christ) c.1555, Young woman in a fur wrap (after Titian) c.1629–30 by Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck’s Portrait of Marchese Filippo Spinola c.1622–27.
A major donation of funds in 1959 by Major Harold de Vahl Rubin enabled the Gallery to purchase three important works by Pablo Picasso, including La Belle Hollandaise 1905, and works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Maurice de Vlaminck. These paintings and other works on paper represent the core of European modernist works in the collection. La Belle Hollandaise was painted in the small provincial town of Schoorl, Holland, and is recognised as an important transitional work for Picasso as he turned from the academicism of his past to the radical stylistic experimentation of his Paris years.
The Gallery’s move in 1984 to a new building at South Bank, designed by Robin Gibson, was the catalyst for further purchases over the next decade of modern and contemporary works from Europe and the United States including major works by Willem de Kooning, Bridget Riley, Jacques Lipchitz, Joan Miro, Anthony Caro, Chaim Soutine, Leonardo Dudreville, Yves Tanguy, Richard Long and George Baselitz.
A substantial and unique component of the international collection consists of a group of over 200 Fluxus prints and multiples donated by Francesco Conz in 1995 and 1997. These were produced and editioned in the 1980s and 1990s, but the majority of the Fluxus works are by artists associated with the period of the 1960s and 1970s and are considered to be an important bridge between the Gallery's pre-1970 and contemporary international art collections. These works point to a current of modernism that emerged in the early years of the twentieth century with Marcel Duchamp and Dadaism. The spirit of their playfulness, irreverent humour and engagement with a semantic as well as a visual dimension, which has continued to inform contemporary artists, is considered a key theme in the contemporary international collection.
The images on this web page are indicative of works that are part of the Collection. Visitors are advised to contact the Gallery in advance of a visit to find out if a particular work is on display. For exhibition information on Collection works on display, please visit Current Collection Displays
Selected Collection Highlights
The Master of Frankfurt Virgin and Child with Saint James the Pilgrim, Saint Catherine and the Donor with Saint Peter 1496
Jan Provost The Annunciation 1520
Jacopo Tintoretto Cristo risorgente (The risen Christ) c.1555
Giambologna The Flagellation of Christ c.1579
Circle of Joos de Momper Jesus healing the blind c.1600-20
Alexander Coosemans (Still life) c.1650
Joshua Reynolds Portrait of Aneas Mackay of Ravenhead House late 1760s
Angelica Kauffman The deserted Costanza c.1783-84
Blandford Fletcher Evicted 1887
Edgar Degas Trois danseuses - la classe de danse (Three dancers at a dancing class) c.1888-90
Edward Coley Burne-Jones Aurora 1896
Pablo Picasso La Belle Hollandaise 1905
Walter Richard Sickert Whistler's studio c.1918
Chaim Soutine L'homme aux rubans (Man with ribbons) 1921-22
Stanley Spencer Interior at Cookham with spring flowers 1937
Richard Hamilton Carapace c.1954
Mario Giacomelli Lo non ho mani che mi accarezzino il volto (There are no hands to caress my face) (Pretini 70) 1961–63, printed c.1980