NERAM 1.2 Million Dollar Artwork Donation

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The New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) in Armidale has received a donation of 11 artworks by leading Australian artists, which confirms its position as one of the leading regional collections of Australian art in the country.

The donation of eleven artworks valued at over $1.2 million  includes paintings by Sir Arthur Streeton, Rupert Bunny, Elioth Gruner, Adrian Feint, J.J. Hilder, Hans Heysen, Herbert Badham, Harold Septimus Power and Desiderius Orban that will complement the famous Howard Hinton Collection at the New England Regional Art Museum.

“The generosity of John Gale in donating these eleven paintings to NERAM will assist us to provide our visitors and community with quality artistic experiences,” said Robert Heather, Art Museum Director. “This donation was based upon John’s desire to see the works find a permanent home in a regional institution that will value them highly and put them on regular display.

“The Gale Donation confirms NERAM’s position as holding one of the most significant art historical collections in regional Australia and as a ‘must see’ tourist destination midway between Sydney and Brisbane,” said Mr Heather. “It has been the result of work by staff and supporters over a number of years who have been in contact with Mr Gale and his representatives.

“The amazing art collections at NERAM are at the core of our programme, and our visitors can see exhibitions drawn from some of the best Australian art in the country and through innovative fundraising activities like our award-winning Adopt-an-Artwork programme, we make sure that they are well looked after and conserved.

“Over the past twelve months we have also been improving our facilities and services with the support of all levels of government and the local community, with the aim of making our gallery more sustainable, energy efficient and a better visitor experience. “

The works in The Gale Donation are being submitted to the Commonwealth Government’s Cultural Gifts Programme and will complement The Howard Hinton Collection at the New England Regional Art Museum.

These works are on display in The Gale Donation, a small exhibition at the New England Regional Art Museum until Sunday 5 February 2017.

The John Gale donation – a selection Rupert Bunny, Untitled (seated portrait of Jeanne beside rose trellis), (1913, oil on canvas)

This picture by Rupert Bunny (1864 – 1947) is of his wife Jeanne Morel, whom he met while an art student and was the subject of many of his paintings. It is also from a key period in his practice (1913) when he moved from French influenced images towards “new compositions of heightened colour and abstracted rhythmical forms”.         

Arthur Streeton, Watsons Bay, Sydney Heads (1921, oil on drapers panel) and Heroic Lane, The Blackwood Tree (n.d. oil on canvas)

Sir Arthur Streeton (1867 – 1943) was one of Australia’s best known artists, and there are  fifteen Streeton works already in the NERAM collections. The addition of these two later works will enable the gallery to put our existing works into the broader context of the artist’s career and provide examples of his later work.

Adrian Feint Hibiscus (n.d oil on canvas)

Adrian Feint (1894 – 1971) studied at the Sydney Art School and after serving in WWI, made a career as a commercial artist until he gave it up in 1938 to concentrate upon his oil painting. He gained critical acclaim in the 1940s and ‘50s and his flower paintings were described as “flower arrangements meticulously designed, superbly painted, and set in a related environment of time and space”.

Herbert Badham The Grocer’s Shop (1943, oil on board)

Herbert Badham (1899 – 1961) studied at Julian Ashton’s Sydney Art School and exhibited with the Society of Artists from 1927 and taught painting at the East Sydney Technical College from 1938 – 1961. His works are now sought after by collectors and feature in major public collections.

About John Gale OBE

John Gale OBE grew up in Sydney, but his love of rural life attracted him to run a family owned farm at Manila between Tamworth and Armidale in NSW. His uncles bought “Huntly”, a property in Stromlo in 1956, and John moved there to manage it for them before purchasing it outright in the 1970s.

Over six decades he lived there permanently and took an active interest in what was at the beginning a small and close knit Canberra cultural scene, soon emerging as a patron of the arts and a member, then life member, of the National Trust ACT.

A generous and community spirited man, he allowed thousands of people to experience the historic homestead and its heritage listed gardens over many years, thanks to his willingness to open it as a fundraiser for the National Trust and other charities. His great love of music, especially opera, also led his ongoing involvement with Opera Australia, including a number of years on the board of Opera Australia.

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