European+American Art


The National Gallery’s collection of European and American art develops and expands from the beginning of the nineteenth century in a variety of media: painting and sculpture; strong collections of original prints, posters, illustrated books and drawings; an extensive representation of the history of photography; and a selection of theatre arts, decorative arts and design.

The collection is essentially modern. The holdings of European and American art parallel the recorded history of Australian art over the past two hundred years and finds its strength in the twentieth century. As well as holding the work of some of the greatest modern figures such as Monet, Matisse, Brancusi, Pollock and Warhol, the Gallery is building a contemporary collection that reflects current directions. These interdependent areas allow a rich and complex appreciation of Western art from abroad and its substantial impact on the art of European Australia.

Along with European and American art, the National Gallery’s international collection includes a small group of objects from Africa and pre-Columbian America. These works underscore the Gallery’s belief that an understanding of modern art involves an appreciation of the way in which the work of non-Western visual culture has profoundly influenced the direction of twentieth-century art.

New acquisitions

Special focus

Related exhibitions

Select publications

  • Building the collection Pauline Green, editor, 2003
  • Douglas Annand: the art of life Anne McDonald, 2001
  • French paintings from the Musée Fabre, Montpellier Michel Hilaire, Jörg Zutter and Olivier Zeder, editors, 2003
  • Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican modernism: the Jacques and Natasha Gelman collection, Anthony White editor, 2001
  • Lucian Freud: after Cézanne, 2001
  • Pierre Bonnard: observing nature Jörg Zutter, editor, 2003
  • Rodin: sculpture and drawings 2001
  • Sean Scully: body of light, 2004
  • Secession: modern art and design in Austria and Germany 1890s–1920s Christine Dixon, 2000
  • An artist abroad: the prints of James McNeill Whistler Jane Kinsman, 2005
  • Building the collection Pauline Green, editor, 2003
  • Monet and Japan, 2001
  • The big Americans: the art of collaboration, Jane Kinsman, 2002