Australian Collection

QAG | Gallery 10, Gallery 11, Gallery 12, Gallery 13, Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Galleries | Free

An exciting reimagining of the Australian collection opens this spring.  Our curators, along with Director Chris Saines, have taken this rare opportunity to re-present the Gallery’s Australian art holdings, collected for more than 120 years, in new and innovative ways.

The reconfigured spaces capture major historical moments from first contact to colonisation, and exploration to immigration. Bringing the Indigenous and contemporary Australian collections together with the Gallery’s historical holdings, the display emphasises stories about Queensland and Brisbane from the region’s own perspective.

Major new contemporary works by Helen Johnson, Daniel Boyd, Dale Harding, Alick Tipoti and Sonja Carmichael will feature among celebrated and iconic pieces by Gordon Bennett, Arthur Boyd, Rupert Bunny, William Dobell, Ian Fairweather, Ethel Carrick Fox, R Godfrey Rivers, Sam Fullbrook, Vida Lahey, Sidney Nolan and many more.

We’re inviting visitors to discover a fresh perspective on the Australian Collection with Words & Pictures, our ongoing drop-in drawing activity, inspired by writers and artists.

The Australian Collection is our first step towards returning the Queensland Art Gallery building, as closely as possible, to the intended vision of architect Robin Gibson AO, an expansive, open space with clear sightlines throughout, lending each gallery a beautiful sense of connectedness to the whole. The plan to open up the building enabled us to think of the space in an expansive way. Passers-by in the Whale Mall will again be able to look down into the Gallery through our reopened windows.

Bringing together art from different times and across cultures, we trace narratives of geography — as country, as landscape, as the place we live and work — and we share stories of traversal and encounter, of immigration, colonisation and the expatriate experience.

After 120 years of building the Collection, there are many stories to tell; in doing so, we acknowledge that we live in a country with a complex history. And then we let the works speak for themselves.


R. Godfrey Rivers Under the jacaranda

R. Godfrey Rivers, England/Australia 1858-1925 / Under the jacaranda 1903 / Oil on canvas / Purchased 1903 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery.

Dick Watkins, The Mooche1968

Dick Watkins, Australia b.1937 / The Mooche 1968 / Synthetic polymer paint (PVA) and oil on canvas / The James C Sourris, AM, Collection. Gift of James C Sourris, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation 2014. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © Dick Watkins/Licensed by Viscopy.

John Olsen, Journey into the you beaut country no. 2

John Olsen. Australia b.1928 / Journey into the you beaut country no. 2 1961 / Oil on composition board / Acquired 1961. H.C. Richards Memorial Prize (winning entry) / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © Queensland Art Gallery.

Tracey Moffatt, Beauties (in wine) 1994

Tracey Moffatt, Australia/United States b.1960 / Beauties (in wine) 1994 / Black and white photograph, colour tinted in lab during printing process on paper / Purchased 2008 with funds from Xstrata Community Partnership Program Queensland through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist.

Russell Drysdale, Man feeding his dogs

Russell Drysdale, Australia 1912-1981 / Man feeding his dogs 1941 / Oil on canvas / Gift of C.F. Viner-Hall 1961 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © Queensland Art Gallery.

Yvonne Koolmatrie, Bi-plane 2006

Yvonne Koolmatrie, Australia b.1944 / Bi-plane 2006 / Coil-woven sedge grass and river rushes / Purchased 2006 with funds from Cathryn Mittelheuser, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist.