Major works of art by Olafur Eliasson, Tacita Dean CBE and Fiona Hall AO have been announced as the first acquisitions by The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Charitable Trust, a fund established through the landmark $35 million bequest to the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art by the late Win Schubert AO (1937–2017).
Professor Emeritus Ian O’Connor AC, Chair of the Queensland Art Gallery Board of Trustees, said the works secured by the Trust were Chalk Fall 2018, a monumental nine-panel chalkboard drawing by British artist Tacita Dean; Riverbed 2014, a vast, rocky landscape by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson; and two intricate and enthralling series of low-relief sculptures by leading Australian artist Fiona Hall.
‘We are thrilled to announce these inaugural acquisitions, and particularly delighted to have Fiona Hall’s series Australian set (from ‘Paradisus Terrestris Entitled’ series) 1998–99 and Sri Lankan set (from ‘Paradisus Terrestris’ series) 1999 on display in the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Galleries at the Queensland Art Gallery,’ Professor O’Connor said.
Hall’s meticulous aluminium and sardine tin sculptures juxtapose plants of cultural significance against glimpses of human body parts, exploring links between nature and culture. Typifying Hall’s commitment to extending the capacity of humble materials, these sculptures represent a pivotal moment in her career.
Olafur Eliasson’s large‑scale Riverbed installation featured in the Gallery’s major exhibition ‘Water’ at GOMA in 2019-20, welcoming visitors into an expansive rocky terrain complete with a flowing stream of water, a surreal space of wonder, play and imagination inspired by the artist’s Icelandic heritage.
Tacita Dean’s mural-scaled, atmospheric chalk drawing Chalk Fall captures an iconic white cliff reminiscent of Dover on England’s coastline, a towering precipice between land, sea and air that will be unveiled in the upcoming summer blockbuster ‘Air’, opening at GOMA from 26 November.
‘All of these works are an enduring gift to the people of Queensland, and we look forward to adding more major Australian and international acquisitions to The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Charitable Trust Collection in the years ahead,’ Professor O’Connor said.
QAGOMA Director Chris Saines CNZM said Mrs Schubert was one of the Gallery’s most passionate supporters, and her generosity had enabled the acquisition of more than 100 works of art in her lifetime.
‘She believed that works of art, at their best, play a vital educational role in public life, and loved nothing more than seeing the effect her gifts had on Gallery visitors,’ Mr Saines said.
‘The establishment of Mrs Schubert’s Trust constitutes the most generous philanthropic gift in QAGOMA’s history, enabling the acquisition of major Australian and international artworks created in or after 1880. Without question, this represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the Gallery.’
Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch honoured the legacy of Win Schubert in helping to secure the works for the long-term benefit of Queenslanders.
'The Win Schubert bequest supports Queensland Government investment in QAGOMA to ensure our state gallery continues to build its collection and boost its profile as a world-class cultural tourism destination,’ Minister Enoch said.
‘Queensland’s reputation as an international cultural hub is gaining momentum in the lead up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympics and Paralympics, when our arts and culture will be showcased and celebrated on a global stage.’
Mrs Schubert was a Gold Coast-based philanthropist, gallerist and art lover. Her inspiring patronage of QAGOMA over two decades enabled the acquisition of artworks embraced by visitors including Cai Guo‑Qiang’s Heritage 2013, Yayoi Kusama’s Flowers that bloom at midnight 2011, Nick Cave’s HEARD 2012 and Kohei Nawa’s PixCell‑Double Deer #4 2010. Mrs Schubert’s close friend Josephine Ulrick (1952-97) was curator and co-director of Art Galleries Schubert.
The Gallery acknowledged Mrs Schubert’s remarkable benefaction in 2012 with the naming of the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Galleries (QAG galleries 10, 11, 12 and 13), and in 2015 with the QAGOMA Medal. In 2020, the Schubert Circle was established in her honour, to recognise other generous individuals who have made provision for QAGOMA in their Will.