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Decorative Arts

introduction | essay | support

image: Grant Vaughan 'Ovoid form' 2005 Australian white beech (gmelina leichhardtii), lacquer, Collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Purchased with the assistance of the Meredith Hinchliffe Fund 2005
Grant Vaughan Ovoid form 2005 Australian white beech (gmelina leichhardtii), lacquer Collection of the National Gallery of Australia Purchased with the assistance of the Meredith Hinchliffe Fund 2005 more detail

The National Gallery of Australia is home to a comprehensive collection of over 12 600 decorative arts works by artists and designers from Australia and overseas. In addition the Gallery has an archive collection documenting the craft and design of significant makers and designers to represent developments across the broad field of decorative arts practice in: ceramics, glass, metal, textiles, wood, furniture, jewellery and costume.

In 2004 the National Gallery of Australia Foundation (the Foundation) established the Decorative Arts and Design Collection Development Fund (the Fund). The Fund provides financial leadership to acquire works that strengthen the reputation and quality of the collection over the long term, and a focus for others to join in support. The operations and activities of the Fund are managed by the Foundation through its Decorative Arts and Design Development Committee (the Committee). The Committee leads the Foundation’s campaign to secure financial contributions for the Decorative Arts and Design Collection and is active in supporting the development, promotion and presentation of the collection, and support for publishing initiatives.

The Fund works closely with Robert Bell, the Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, to expand the Gallery’s opportunities to acquire significant historical and contemporary works from the world’s leading designers and makers, to demonstrate the rich continuum of design movements that have shaped our environment and our lives from the early 19th century.

The Gallery’s Decorative Arts and Design acquisition policy is to develop the existing collections, and to especially seek out works of art that are of national significance. The aim of the national collection is to be representative of artistic expression across a range of different regions, styles, media and themes. Over the past 20 years the Gallery has received important donations of works of art, as well as special-purpose financial contributions and bequests, that have enriched the collection and transformed the institution’s capacity to acquire works in collection areas now well recognised for their quality and depth.

The Foundation, a company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Law, is a non-profit organisation established to support the Gallery. Founded by the Council to raise corporate and private funding, the Foundation supports the growth of the national collection and exhibitions.

The Fund provides donors with a highly accessible avenue for contribution to the collection areas that most interest them. With the support and involvement of curators, donors have the opportunity to engage with the Gallery on a stimulating and rewarding journey through playing an active part in building the national collection. The Fund endeavours to match the benefactor’s particular area of interest with a proposed purchase. Where possible, benefactors are encouraged to become involved in the process of acquiring and commissioning works of art to make the experience all the more rewarding.

The acquisition of major works not only develops the collection but is linked with major projects, such as Transformations: the language of craft, a survey exhibition of contemporary Australian and international craft staged in 2005.

For details on how to support the Decorative Arts and Design Collection at the National Gallery of Australia
please contact development@nga.gov.au, phone +61 2 6240 6529, fax +61 2 6240 6410 or write to:

Executive Director
NGA Foundation
National Gallery of Australia
GPO Box 1150
Canberra ACT 2601