the Agapitos/Wilson collection
James Gleeson The attitude of lightning towards a lady-mountain 1939 oil on canvas, 79.0 x 63.3 cm Purchased with the assistance of James Agapitos OAM and Ray Wilson OAM 2007
16 February – 11 May 2008
The National Gallery of Australia unveils the exhibition Australian Surrealism: the Agapitos/Wilson collection on Saturday 16 February 2008. The exhibition showcases over 170 works of the recent 25th Anniversary acquisition, the Agapitos/Wilson collection. These works will be seen for the first time in Canberra with this exhibition.
Covering the period 1925 to 1955, the exhibition includes paintings, prints, collages, drawings, photographs and sculptures by the foremost artists associated with Surrealist art practice in Australia, including James Gleeson, Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Albert Tucker, Robert Klippel, Joy Hester, James Cant, Peter Purves Smith, and Dusan Marek, as well as lesser known artists who produced some of their best works under its influence.
Surrealism, the great revolutionary movement originating in France in the 1920s changed the course of Australian art in the 1940s. A generation of Australian artists encountered Surrealism at a formative time in their careers, and its influence transformed their art forever. The exhibition features key works of Australian Surrealism, including James Gleeson’s The attitude of lightning towards a lady – mountain, Max Dupain erotically charged photographs, and Robert Klippel’s Paris drawings of menacing hybrids of plant and machine.
“The National Gallery of Australia now has the strongest collection of International Surrealist art in the country,” said Ron Radford, Director of the National Gallery of Australia. “With the Agapitos/Wilson collection the Gallery has a world standard resource of Surrealist art.”
This exhibition will be a fascinating insight into an extraordinary fertile period of Australian art, where dreams and the subconscious transformed our views of the world.
Entry to the exhibition is free.
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