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International Collection

The Rape of the Sabine Women

Luca Giordano, Italian 1634–1705 | The Rape of the Sabine Women (Il ratto delle Sabine) c.1672–74 | Oil on canvas | Purchased with the assistance of Philip Bacon am 2000 | Collection: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Including highlights from the Gallery’s collection of European painting, works on paper and sculpture from the early Renaissance to the end of the nineteenth century, these galleries have recently been reinstalled to accommodate four Old Master paintings on loan from the National Gallery of Australia, including an extraordinary German altarpiece from c.1510 and the monumental painting The Rape of the Sabine Women (Il ratto delle Sabine) 1672–74

Virgin and Child with Saints

Cologne School, German 16th century | Virgin and Child with Saints (centre panel detail) c.1510-20 | Oil on three oak panels | Purchased with the assistance of James O. Fairfax ao and the Nerissa Johnson Bequest 2001 | Collection: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra


Pablo Picasso, Spain 1881–1973 | La Belle Hollandaise 1905 | Gouache on cardboard mounted on wood | Purchased 1959 with funds donated by Major Harold de Vahl Rubin | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © Pablo Picasso, 1905/Succession Picasso. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney 2013

European Art to 1900

Galleries 1 & 2
Queensland Art Gallery (QAG)

Guided tours
Daily | Let our Volunteer Guides share their knowledge and passion for art while taking you on a tour. Tours are free and take approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

The Queensland Art Gallery’s historical international art collection consists of over 2000 objects, mostly from Western Europe and North America, and spans approximately five centuries, from the early Renaissance to the second half of the twentieth century. European painting, sculpture, prints and drawings constitute the majority, and approximately half the works are British. See Contemporary International Art for information on the Gallery’s international holdings from c.1975 to the present.

The formative years of the Gallery were an active time for the acquisition of historical European paintings. Its first purchase, British artist Blandford Fletcher’s Evicted 1887, remains one of the most popular paintings in the Collection. The work was acquired in 1896, shortly after the foundation of the Queensland National Art Gallery. A bequest in 1892 from the Honourable Thomas Lodge Murray-Prior, MLC, brought the Gallery a small but significant group of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings, including Jan Brueghel the Younger’s Christ calling the disciple Peter 1641 and Bonaventura Peeters’s Haven of Refuge c.1640.

Our holdings of European art to 1900 were significantly enhanced in 1979 with the establishment of the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation. The Foundation 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 The risen Christ (Cristo risorgente) c.1555, Peter Paul Rubens’s Young woman in a fur wrap (after Titian) c.1629–30 and Anthony van Dyck’s Portrait of Filippo Spinola, Marquis of Los Balbases c.1622–27.

A strong group of eighteenth-century British portraits reflects the tastes and interests of the Gallery’s founding patrons. Works include Sir Joshua Reynolds’s Portrait of Aneas Mackay of Ravenhead House, late 1760s, Allan Ramsay’s Portrait of William Foster, 1741, Henry Raeburn’s Portrait of Lady Campbell and Portrait of Major General Alexander Murray Macgregor, c.1795 and John Opie’s Self portrait, c1741.  A major donation of funds in 1959 by Major Harold de Vahl Rubin enabled the Gallery to purchase important works of French art from the late nineteenth century, most notably Pablo Picasso’s La Belle Hollandaise 1905. This painting is one of the most important examples of Picasso’s transitional period around 1905–07, between his ‘Blue period’ and Cubism. Major Rubin’s donation also enabled the acquisition of works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Maurice de Vlaminck.  

Twentieth Century International Art

Philip Bacon Galleries | Galleries 8,9
Queensland Art Gallery (QAG)

Guided tours
Daily | Let our Volunteer Guides share their knowledge and passion for art while taking you on a tour. Tours are free and take approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

Empire and Image

Gallery 8 features a display of Collection works and objects including ceramics, textiles, furniture, photography and works on paper addressing the influences and exchanges that flowed between Britain, Europe and 'the East' during the colonial period.

The art works and objects on display in Gallery 8 offer a reflection on the impact of trade, colonialism, travel and tourism between Europe and Asia from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. This was a period of European expansion, exploration and enterprise around the world, with European powers conquering key Asian territories on the Indian subcontinent and in West and South-East Asia. Britain in particular became an enormously powerful imperial nation during Queen Victoria's reign (1837–1901).

From the early sixteenth century, Portugal established trade routes to Asia, and later the Dutch and British East India Companies competed for trade in spices, coffee, silk, lacquerware, tea and porcelain. Indian Company paintings were produced for Company employees wanting to purchase souvenir images of India. Porcelain, produced in China and Japan for centuries, became a highly prized commodity in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The porcelain objects and printed earthenware on display reflect the popularity of Chinese design and ceramics in Europe and England.

Cartography was fundamental to navigation on long sea voyages. The map and celestial globe on display in Gallery 8 capture aspects of how European imperial nations mapped both the world and the heavens as they were understood at the time. The invention of photography in the mid nineteenth century dramatically changed the way that people saw the world. It quickly became a tool for communication and research, as well as the expression of political power. The photographs displayed were made when ideas of Empire were being consolidated across Asia, and they reflect a desire to record not only local ways of life but also the processes of modernisation.

Twentieth-century Modernism
Modern European, British and North American works, including Willem de Kooning' s Two trees on Mary Street ... Amen! 1975, feature in the Gallery 9 display. British Modernism includes works by artists associated with the Camden Town group including Walter Sickert, Walter Greaves, Duncan Grant and Spencer Gore. European Modernism is profiled through works by Maurice de Vlaminck, Chaim Soutine, Leonardo Dudreville, Fernand Léger and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and sculpture by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Jacques Lipchitz, also featured in this display.