Issue 149 | August 2011
Fred Williams  | Out of the West | Members news | Events | Competition
01 Fred Williams opens next month

Fred Williams: infinite horizons opens on 12 August, and is the first major retrospective of Williams’s work in over 25 years. Why not plan your visit to this exhibition to coincide with one of the NGA's lively and informative public programs?

For those wanting a deeper insight into the life and work of Fred Williams, a series of evening lectures titled Reflections on Williams will begin on Friday 12 August, with distinguished guest speakers Patrick McCaughey, Daniel Thomas, Ron Radford, Lyn Williams and curator Deborah Hart.

On Sunday 14 August, award-winning cinematographer Erika Addis will introduce a screening of the documentary Patterns of landscape: through the eyes of Fred Williams 1927 – 1982.

Lunchtime talks will be held each month by a range of presenters, plus assisted tours, a children's painting workshop, and the return of our popular Premium Sundays, for a chance to enjoy the exhibition with the curator before the crowds arrive.

On Saturday 22 October, don’t miss the special musical event Infinite horizons: the musical landscapes of Peter Sculthorpe in which this brilliant composer celebrates Williams's art with a performance by the Sculthorpe Quartet.

Fred Williams, 'Claypans' 1981, private collection © estate of Fred Williams.

Peter Sculthorpe will introduce each piece, and the concert will be compered by Francis Merson, Editor of ABC's Limelight magazine.  

Finally, enhance your exhibition visit by spending time in The Studio: The Yugilbar Foundation Education Activity Room. For teachers, a Secondary School Education Resource will be available.

For more information about Fred Williams programs, be sure to pick up your free Avant Card mini-mag – available in stands soon – or free poster, available in the Canberra Times on 5 August. Keep an eye on our events calendar too.

Title image: Fred Williams, 'Hillside' 1963-64, private collection © estate of Fred Williams.

02 Out of the West open now

Out of the West is the first exhibition at the NGA to present a large sample of Western Australian art from pre-settlement to today.

Vital to the exhibition are important historical works from the National Gallery’s Wordsworth Collection, which we have recently purchased. These show how Western Australia was perceived during its formation. As well as oil paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints, the collection includes a number of fine and rare examples of Western Australian colonial furniture, constructed using local timbers. The acquisition goldfield jewellery collection put together by Robert and Mandy Haines showcases that very distinctive local art form.

Due to limitations of space, Out of the West is a curatorial selection of work drawn from the National Gallery’s collection, rather than a full survey.

Lyn Mills, Mark Graham and Liz Hawkes at the official opening of 'Out of the West' on Thursday 8 July.

Some works by Western Australian artists remain on display in the Gallery’s permanent display of Australian art as well as in the newly opened Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander galleries.

Art by artists prior to 1940 is shown in Out of the West: Early Days in the Project Gallery. Art by more recent artists is displayed in Out of the West: Modern Times in the Orde Poynton Gallery.

Title image: Robert Juniper, 'Drying sails' 1956-57 (detail), National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 2009.

03 Members news

This coming Sunday is the final concert in our successful Music at the Gallery concert series.  Members and guests have been treated to the spectacular musical talent of Amelia Farrugia, The Lurline Chamber orchestra and Simon Tedeschi.  The series is completed this Sunday with Australian Opera star, tenor Rosario La Spina.  For more information click here.

Members who donated to the acquisition of Hans Heysen’s 'Spring' 1925 were invited to a talk by Director Ron Radford on Tuesday 26 July, followed by a special viewing and drinks. Thank you to those generous members who contributed towards the acquisition of Heysen’s delightful image of cats enjoying a perfect spring day.  We look forward to launching the Members' Acquisition Fund 2011 in the coming months.

Fred Williams: infinite horizons opens on Friday 12 August and we invite you to celebrate by joining us for our Members winter party .

Tenor Rosario La Spina will perform in Music at the Gallery on 31 July.

You will have exclusive after-hours access to the exhibition plus entertainment and refreshments. The Hyatt Hotel Canberra is the proud accommodation partner for Fred Williams: Infinite horizons. For accommodation packages please click here.

Liz Wilson
Manager Membership and Development Programs

View exclusive Members offers

04 Event
highlights Go to calendar
for all events





children FOR MEMBERS







05 Behind the scenesFred Williams:
infinite horizons

Preparations for the show are now reaching their peak, and these final weeks are very exciting for all involved. When it opens, the exhibition will comprise 85 oils and 45 gouaches, with around 100 of the works on loan from public and private collections in Australia and from the Tate Modern in London.

All works on loan arrive at the Gallery in large secure crates. It takes a dedicated team of people to unpack and check the condition of each work before installation begins.

Paintings Conservator Sharon Alcock (above) is part of the team checking the condition of oil paintings in the exhibition before they go on display. Conservators complete extensive reports on the works prior to their installation, monitoring them during display and again when they are demounted, to ensure the condition of the works has not changed.

Looking in such detail at these paintings can bring great delight to the Conservation team.

Paintings Conservators Sharon Alcock (left) and Greg Howard (right) carefully moving the work 'Landscape with a steep road' 1957–58, with 'Water pond in a landscape II' 1966, private collection, visible to the right.

They usually get closer to the works than any other staff or visitors do, and sometimes they are rewarded by surprises, such as removing the backing board from Forest of gum trees III to find where Fred Williams wrote: ‘My best painting ever.’ 

A detailed installation schedule has been developed for the months leading up to the exhibition. It takes into account a refit of the gallery spaces, with a layout and colour scheme devised by the curator and design team. It also incorporates a room-by-room plan, lighting and other important finishing touches. Installing the works will take about three weeks to complete.

A major publication will accompany the show, written by Dr Deborah Hart, Senior Curator of Australian Painting and Sculpture post-1920, with an essay by 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner and art critic Sebastian Smee. The book is currently being printed in Melbourne and all of the months of hard work by the authors and the Gallery’s Publishing team are now coming to fruition.

Read part five of this series.

06 Apply now for the Wesfarmers
Indigenous Arts

We warmly invite Indigenous Australians to apply for the Wesfarmers Indigenous Arts Leadership Program and to be part of building the future of the Australian arts sector. With the goal of increasing Indigenous leadership and careers within the visual arts sector, this program provides an opportunity for Indigenous Australians to travel to the National Gallery of Australia in November 2011 to participate in a 10-day intensive leadership program.

This national initiative between Wesfarmers Arts and the National Gallery of Australia aims to foster the next generations of Indigenous leaders in the visual arts. Applications are now sought from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people interested in developing a career in the visual arts. For information and how to apply please visit the website.

Applications close Friday 9 September 2011.

07 Meet the librarian Explore the
Research Library
online here

Joye Volker has been the Chief Librarian at the National Gallery of Australia for six years.

What has been your most satisfying moment at the NGA? One highlight has been the James Gleeson Oral History Collection's inscription into the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register 2008 signifying its importance to Australian cultural heritage. In the 1970s, Dr James Gleeson AO, Australia’s leading surrealist painter, interviewed 98 Australian artists in their studios to discuss works of art acquired by the NGA. You can now hear these interviews online, with full transcripts and additional audio files on iTunes.

Listen to the audio via player below.

Requires the Flash Player plugin (download here and a web browser with JavaScript enabled.

Above: Fred Williams 'Lysterfield triptych' 1967-68, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra © estate of Fred Williams

In your opinion, what is the most precious item in the Research Library collection?
One of the most valuable is an eight-volume presentation set of the catalogues and jury reports of the Crystal Palace Exhibition 1851, with original salted paper prints.

Personally, I think our talented library staff are a priceless resource too, for their commitment to the Gallery and its goals and for their rich expertise in developing the collection and providing an outstanding research service.

What do you think the NGA library of the future might look like?
Combining physical space and cyberspace, the Research Library of the future will be more accessible to the Australian public as a cultural resource. It will be a space that encourages excellent art research experiences and provides opportunities for inspiration and access to the world of art information.

If you were a work of art in the national collection what would you be?
An artists’ book by Christina Cordero titled, The librarian: is this the book you are looking for?


08 Around
the country
interstate events
and travelling

Robert Crumb in conversation with Gary Groth

Legendary comic artist and writer Robert Crumb headlines GRAPHIC at Sydney Opera House. Responsible for deconstructing the American comic book and revolutionizing the form forever, his iconic illustrations include cartoon characters like Fritz the Cat and Devil Girl.  Meet the man behind the myth in his first Australian appearance on 21 August.

Above: Ash Keating, 'Pascua lama [part B]' (detail) 2006, gift of the artist 2010. Showing in 'Space invaders' from 1 September at RMIT.

In the Japanese manner:
Australian prints 1900 –1940
is open until 14 August 2011 at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery

Space invaders: australian . street . stencils . posters . paste-ups . zines . stickers is open 1 September – 5 November 2011 at RMIT Gallery

Australian portraits 1880–1960 is open until 4 September 2011 at Warrnambool Art Gallery

In the spotlight: Anton Bruehl photographs 1920s–1950s is open until 11 September 2011 at Monash Gallery of Art

09 What's up?
News from the International Prints, Drawings and
Illustrated Books

Because of their sensitivity to light, works on paper displays are changed more frequently than paintings or sculptures, meaning more opportunity for you to see different pieces from the collection.

In June, a new selection of posters went on display in the International Galleries. On show now are three of the vibrant advertising images that brightened the streets of Paris in the 1890s. With flowing art-nouveau curls seductively selling cigarette papers, bicycles and a bank, these alluring posters are much more than simple ads.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century a poster revolution swept Paris. Posters became a significant art-form and artists including the three whose works are currently on view – Alphonse Mucha, Henri Thiriet, and Emile Roux – radically redefined the poster aesthetic. Posters were now collectible items and came in from the street, adorning the most fashionable homes in Paris.

Henri Thiriet and J. Barreau (printer) 'Cycles et accessoires Griffiths' 1898, colour lithographic poster.

You can read more about these and other French posters in the NGA's collection here on our website.

Around the corner from these works, in the Pop Gallery, is Jasper Johns’ Color numeral series, which you can read about on the NGA's Kenneth Tyler Printmaking Collection blog. These striking works will be on display until mid-September – don’t miss them.

10 The Big Draw is coming...

Sunday 25 September 2011
11.00am – 2.00pm

Celebrate the importance of drawing in our lives at the National Gallery of Australia’s Big Draw on 25 September.

Join in artist-facilitated drawing workshops at different locations throughout the Gallery. Bring family and friends and join in the fun at this free community event for all ages and abilities.

A highlight of this year’s Big Draw is a drawing performance by renowned Melbourne-based artists, Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano.

Children are to be accompanied and all materials will be supplied. We hope to see you and your friends and family there!

11 Support







Annabel Myer and Rupert Myer AM have recently donated a captivating video work by renowned international artist Bill Viola to the National Gallery of Australia.

A significant addition to the national collection, this generous gift is in line with the Gallery’s Acquisitions Policy and demonstrates the vital role of benefaction in building a national collection that tells a comprehensive story about the development of the visual arts.

For more information about ways you can give, please contact

Bill Viola, 'Passage into night' 2005. From 'Love/Death: The Tristan Project' completed in partnership with Peter Sellars’ staging of Wagner’s opera,'Tristan und Isolde' 50 minute silent video work on disk ed. 1/7. Image by Kira Perov.

12 Special offers

Canberra, 2 – 13 August 2011  

Peter Evans, Bell Shakespeare’s Associate Artistic Director, takes this momentous piece of Roman history and transports it to the corridors of backroom politics. This sharp political drama puts friendship to the test and reveals a stark contrast between our intentions and our actions. With Alex Menglet as Caesar and Kate Mulvany as the conniving Cassius, we go behind the scenes as yet another leader is forced from office.

Bell Shakespeare is offering National Gallery of Australia artonline subscribers a special offer to see Julius Caesar in Canberra. Receive $10 off each full priced ticket for all performances from Tuesday 2 August – Sunday 7 August. Not available in conjunction with any other offer.To activate this special offer simply use the code word NGAJC when booking online at the Canberra Theatre Centre or on 02 6275 2700.

Visit the Bell Shakespeare website for more details.

13 Exclusive
to members

The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
In cinemas from July 30.

Imagine being there. Now you can, as four masterful concert works from the 2011 season of the world’s preeminent orchestra are captured live in high definition with digital sound and screened in the comfort of premium cinemas. Featuring special guests including Sir Simon Rattle, Claudio Abbado, Yutaka Sado, Anne Sofie von Otter and the music of Mahler, Shostakovich and Rachmaninov.

Thanks to Icon films we have 5 double in-season passes for members. Simply be one of the first 5 members to respond here with an email titled 'Orchestra'.

More information here.

In cinemas 25 August

Thanks to our friends at Hopscotch films we have 30 advance screening double passes valid August 19 – 21 at Greater Union Manuka. Beginners darts, dreams and dances with inspired ideas, transforming this romantic comedy into a profound and enchanting portrait of what life is all about. When it comes to love, we're all beginners. Starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer.

Simply be one of the first 30 members to respond here with an email titled 'Beginners'.

More information here.