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National Gallery of Australia
New acquisitions

Press Release
18 May 2005

The Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Ron Radford, today announced the purchase of three important colonial works from the Foster’s Art Collection: John Skinner Prout’s Aborigine stalking (Van Diemen’s Land ) c.1842–48, Alexander Schramm’s Adelaide, a tribe of natives 1850, and John Glover’s House on the Derwent, Van Diemen’s Land c.1835. These works were acquired prior to the Sotheby’s auction of the Foster’s Collection scheduled for 23 May 2005.

The Chairman of the National Gallery of Australia, Harold Mitchell, said ‘The Gallery is delighted that these three important works by major artists will now be in the collection for all Australians to enjoy. Their acquisition will add significantly to our great national collection and fulfil our policy objective of strengthening the holdings in Australian colonial art and acquiring works by the most historically significant artists’.

John Glover is undoubtedly one of Australia’s most important colonial artists and was the subject of a major touring exhibition John Glover and the Colonial Picturesque in 2004. Already a successfully established artist in Britain, he migrated to Tasmania at the age of 64, and is ranked as one of the most significant landscape artists of his generation. House on the Derwent, Van Diemen’s Land c.1835 is among the earliest and loveliest country estate portraits in Australian art.  

Alexander Schramm is a major 19th-century painter in oils from the colony of South Australia and was the first South Australian to paint gum trees in a distinctive manner. The National Gallery of Australia does not have a strong collection of South Australian colonial art despite the fact that after Melbourne and Sydney, Adelaide was the third main centre of art production from the mid 19th-century. Schramm was the first South Australian to paint gum trees in a distinctive manner in oil. Adelaide, a tribe of natives 1850 is Schramm’s largest known painting and one of his most striking.

Aborigine stalking (Van Diemen’s Land) c.1842–48 is John Skinnner Prout’s most ambitious Australian watercolour. Its large size and fine finish indicate that it was produced as a major exhibition piece and will significantly enhance the Gallery’s holdings of his work. The work brings together familiar motifs found in his many small watercolour sketches and drawings produced at this time.

Ron Radford, Director of the National Gallery says 'We are absolutely delighted to have secured these three paintings and are looking forward to displaying them in a completely new hang of the Australian 19th-century galleries. They are magnificent additions to our permanent Australian collection display'.

For further information please contact

Marketing@nga.gov.au
Elizabeth Malone, Marketing and Communications +61 2 6240 6603
Alix Fiveash, Marketing and Communications +61 2 6240 6431
Anna Gray, Assistant Director, Australian Art +61 2 6240 6405