Issue 169 | April 2013
School holiday programs | Photograph conservation | Members news | Events | Special offers
01 Toulouse-LautrecOpen all Easter
Closes Tuesday 2 April

In less than a week, Toulouse-Lautrec: Paris & the Moulin Rouge will close for good. This Canberra-only show is a must-see, featuring more than 100 paintings, posters, prints and drawings by the influential 19th century French artist. Works have come from renowned institutions such as the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Courtauld Gallery, London and the Tate.

Pre-book your tickets now at Ticketek or phone 132 849.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 'Carmen Gaudin' 1884-85 National Gallery of Art, Washington DC Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec ‘Respite during the masked ball [Repos pendant le bal masqué]’ c.1899 Denver Art Museum, Denver Gift of T. Edward and Tullah Hanley Collection

Toulouse-Lautrec will be open every day of the Easter long weekend. Premium early entry tickets are available Friday through to Monday for exhibition viewing at 9am before the Gallery opens to the public.

Easter weekend opening hours Friday 29 March, 10am – 7pm
Saturday 30 March, 10am – 7pm
Sunday 31 March, 10am – 5pm
Monday 1 April, 10am – 5pm

Wishing everyone a very happy Easter!

02 And the winners are...
ABC Local Radio
listeners got creative for their chance to win a special exhibition prize

ABC Local Radio, Classic FM and the National Gallery of Australia partnered to bring 20 ABC Local Radio listeners and two Classic FM listeners from across Australia to see Toulouse-Lautrec: Paris & the Moulin Rouge.

The lucky winners received a prize including return airfares to Canberra, accommodation at the Novotel Canberra, an introduction to the exhibition from Director Ron Radford, ABC Presenter Tony Delroy and Classic FM presenter Emma Ayres, and an exclusive cocktail party at the French Ambassador’s residence.

We loved the winning entries so much that we’ve picked a couple to share with you.



(banner image) Classic FM presenter Emma Ayres introduces the exhibition

Classic FM asked its listeners – Tell us which famous French person you’d like to take to the top of the Eiffel Tower and why?

Winner Wade Higgins’s response was – ‘I would love to take the Hunchback of Notre Dame up the Eiffel Tower because, aside from the fact the poor fellow never gets invited anywhere, it would be nice for him to enjoy a view of Paris without having to ring any bells.’

702 ABC Sydney listeners were required to interpret the Cancan dance, and to submit their entries via Youtube.

Winner Charlotte Scotton used Toulouse-Lautrec’s famous Cancan dancers that feature in Mademoiselle Eglantine's troupe [La troupe de Mademoiselle Eglantine] 1896 as templates, and made them into finger puppets. Charlotte then filmed a performance of these finger puppets doing the Cancan.

View Charlotte's video here

03 Members news

As Toulouse-Lautrec: Paris & the Moulin Rouge draws to a close we turn our attention to two other exhibitions currently on display at the Gallery. The superb prints of Jessie Traill, one of Australia’s most important and interesting printmakers of the 20th century are on display in the Project Gallery, while downstairs in the Orde Poynton Gallery is Kastom and the extraordinary art of Vanuatu. These two exhibitions are certainly worth a visit and NGA members have an opportunity to engage with the curators of these two very different but equally exciting exhibitions at the following events. Members can book online for all members events at

Coffee with the Curator: Stars in the river: the prints of Jessie Traill
18 April 10:15 am
Roger Butler, Senior Curator, Australian Prints and Drawings, discusses works in the exhibition, followed by coffee and cake in the Members Lounge.
Price : $12 members, $20 guests (bookings essential)

Coffee with the Curator: Kastom: Art of Vanuatu
9 May 10:15 am
Crispin Howarth, curator of the exhibition and Curator, Pacific Arts, discusses works on display, followed by coffee and cake in the Members Lounge.
Price : $12 members, $20 guests (bookings essential)

Become a member
Join the Gallery and enjoy exclusive exhibition viewings, participate in members-only programs, be stimulated by engaging events and meet like-minded people. Visit us here

Kamanlyk ‘Metaniele’ c.1972 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased by J-M Charpentier on behalf of the Commonwealth Arts Advisory Board

04 Event
highlights Go to calendar
for all events

05 Inhabiting the A–Z homestead unitArtist Charlie Sofo shares his experiences of inhabiting the Gallery's new acquisition

During March this year I was invited by the National Gallery of Australia to spend a period of 10 days inhabiting and customising the A-Z homestead unit by Andrea Zittel. My brief was to change the unit to suit my needs during the stay and to continue my work as an artist. Obviously, carrying out daily tasks in front of an active audience was, at times, challenging. My first action was to put up a fence around the work as a way of setting my limits. 

Photograph: Charlie Sofo

Within this fence-line I slept, washed, cooked, received a haircut, went on field trips, created actions, took photographs, made notes and blogged. I also had countless conversations with people from the public, some of whom came and sought out the unit directly. They shared stories of homelessness, their political concerns with housing and the distribution of wealth, personal stories of living in makeshift homes and aspirations for independent living (off the grid and sustainably). I also encountered criticism of the work of art, and of the National Gallery itself. I felt at times as if my position was to deal directly with these concerns, to somehow address them in my actions. This proved to be the most difficult task.

Guests celebrate Charlie's last night in the A-Z homestead unit. Photograph: Charlie Sofo

Charlie gets a haircut from a visiting friend. Photograph: Charlie Sofo

In observing my own daily patterns in an intense period of scrutiny, I gained certain strengths. My work as an artist has been to look to the more subtle and marginal aspects of lived experience. In that way I could really appreciate the simplicity of watching the sunrise through the windows of the A-Z homestead unit or waiting for a pot of coffee to boil. For me these small things constitute big freedoms (and pleasures).

I hope in some small way, during my time in Canberra, that I've shared these pleasures too. I’m grateful to all the public, friends and staff at the National Gallery who generously shared their time and gave gifts or supplies for my inhabitation. For me, this support made what was a challenging experience also a gift.

Read more about Charlie's time at the NGA on his blog.

Inside the A-Z homestead unit. Photograph: Charlie Sofo

(banner image) Andrea Zittel 'A-Z homestead unit (Commission for the National Gallery of Australia: Customised by Charlie Sofo)' 2012 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 2012

06 School holiday programs

Looking for something exciting to do these school holidays?
This April the NGA, in collaboration with the Canberra Youth Theatre and the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, will present a live gaming adventure in the NGA Sculpture Garden that will re-define your understanding of the ‘global race for survival’.

35° 17 SOUTH is a multi-reality location based game. It will take audiences on a journey forward in time, from a Canberra that was once thriving and rich with resources, to a futuristic city reeling from the collapse of society. The game uses the National Gallery’s collection as inspiration for its story, incorporating real sculpture works with real and imagined events taking place in Canberra from 2013 – 2033.

Combining digital technology, augmented reality and live installation performances, the game will be downloaded by audiences as a tablet or smart phone application, which then guides participants in a race against other competitors through the Garden. It is suitable for the whole family, and has been developed for Android devices. (A limited number of devices are available for hire, or bring your own). Click here for more information.


There is also plenty to do inside the Gallery for young people and families this month. Tales for the very young takes children of 3 to 5 years old on a tour of Kastom: Art of Vanuatu, bringing the works of art to life with story-telling, while Draw together encourages all ages to take part in activities which can help them to discover the joy and value of drawing.

The Childrens Gallery is also open during Gallery hours, currently presenting the exhibition Creating worlds, which explores the beauty and diversity of Australia’s natural environment.

07 Photograph conservation Andrea Wise, Senior Paper Conservator talks about the AIC & ICOM-CC Photographs Conservation Joint Meeting in Wellington, New Zealand

The NGA holds an incredibly varied collection of photographic works of art, which presents enormous challenges for the conservators who care for it. To keep up with changing trends in analysis, research and treatment, professionals at the NGA participate in conferences all over the world and I was recently invited to speak at just such a gathering. The week-long conference (11-15 February) was exceptional in that it brought together the largest US conservation group (AIC) with the International Council of Museums (ICOM-CC) allowing international experts to present papers and workshops over several venues in windy Wellington, New Zealand.

I presented two projects. The first - research, co-authored with Anne O’Hehir, NGA Photography Curator, on a unique and fascinating photocollage by Claude Cahun, Aveux Non Avenus (Unavowed Confessions) 1929-30. It is the only remaining original collage by this Surrealist artist and is constantly requested for exhibition, recently being loaned to institutions in Paris, Barcelona and Chicago. Consequently it is vital that this complex work is kept in excellent condition.

Claude Cahun & Marcel Moore 'Photomontage for frontispiece for Aveux non avenus (unavowed confessions)' 1929-30 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 1993

The second project featured investigations into holograms. While we are all familiar with holograms now –those mass produced on our credit cards and passports - the unique holograms in art collections are altogether different. The NGA holds holograms on glass, plastic and even granite tiles, all of which require specialist care.

I was able to share this research with colleagues and benefit from hearing about their work into areas such as large scale disaster response to the Christchurch earthquake and the tsunami in Japan. The technical papers included long term projects investigating the physical and chemical composition of photographs, with results that will be published and shared in virtual cloud based global reference libraries.

Margaret Benyon 'Pushing up the daisies' 1996 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 2009

08 Canberra connectionCelebrating the Centenary with works from the
national collection

This month Elspeth Pitt, Assistant Curator, Australian Prints and Drawings, contemplates Rosemary Dobson's fusion of art and poetry.

Poet-artist Rosemary Dobson came to Canberra in 1971 and the city soon found its way into her work. In poems like Canberra morning she uses words as one would a pencil or paintbrush. Drawn as a suite of images, the city’s earliest hours are marked by long shadows like low bellied cats, and the advent of day by sudden bird flight into sky (at the bus stop a flock of starlings).

Rosemary Dobson, Alec Bolton 'Greek coins: a sequence of poems with line drawings by the author' 1977 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Gift of Meredith Hinchliffe 2011

Two volumes written and illustrated by Dobson are held in the National Gallery collection. Poems is her first effort, published in 1937 while still a student at Frensham, a progressive school for girls in Mittagong, New South Wales. The linocut cover is a visual equivalent to the poems within. Disparate elements like leaves, air pockets and earth furrows are unified in a repeat-pattern design. Likewise, Dobson’s poems condense spiritual, emotional and physical experience into couplets and short lyric verse.

Rosemary Dobson 'Poems' 1937 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 2012

Inspired by her own travels, and by the second century text, Pausanias’ guide to Greece, Greek coins was produced decades later in 1977. In one poem, Dobson describes a visitation from the god Asklepios while at a ruin, an – old man in a hat and frock-coat under / a black umbrella in that radiant light. For the poet, ruins and relics were a means to commune with the past. In trying to afford her audience the same experience, Dobson pairs her poems with small, coin-sized illustrations adapted from antiquities. A flute player comes from an attic cup, and a woman enthroned from an ancient engraving.

Produced in collaboration with her husband, Alec Bolton, at his Brindabella Press, the volume is a beautiful example of the type of shared project in which the couple infrequently engaged.

09 A masterpiece for the national collection

Last month the National Gallery of Australia Foundation launched the Masterpieces for the Nation Fund 2013. This year the fund will support the acquisition of Florence Fuller’s magnificent landscape painting A golden hour c.1905.

Dr Anne Gray, Head of Australian Art at the National Gallery of Australia gives us a special insight into this special painting in the video below.

Please support the development of the national art collection by donating towards the acquisition of Florence Fuller’s A golden hour c.1905. Every donation at every level makes a difference.

Florence Fuller 'A golden hour' c.1905 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra For purchase for the Masterpieces of the Nation 2013


Video: Florence Fuller's 'A golden hour' c.1905 | More NGA videos

10 ANZAC Day
Lest We Forget

In 2008 the National Gallery of Australia acquired a cast of George Lambert's Geelong Grammar School War Memorial, the First World War memorial on permanent display in the grounds of the Victorian school. The original memorial was commissioned by the Old Geelong Grammarians Association on 9 June 1923 to commemorate the 88 old boys of the school who were killed during this conflict. The cast of this striking memorial is currently on display in the Australian art galleries on level 2.

George LAMBERT '[cast of] Geelong Grammar School War Memorial'  2008 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 2007; a cast of a sculpture that was presented to the Geelong Grammar School, Corio Campus, as a gift from the Old Geelong Grammarians Association in 1927

Anne Gray, Head of Australian Art and Senior Curator of Australian Paintings and Sculpture before 1920 explains the symbolism and significance of this memorial:

'This bronze group is symbolic of the triumph of youthful heroism over evil. Two war-weary Australian soldiers, one in the full fighting equipment of the French trenches, the other representative of the Light Horse of Palestine, are placed at the base of the sculpture. Bowed down with fatigue, they support on their shoulders the weight of an immense bird, which has the attributes of an eagle combined with those of a vulture, symbolic of the Spirit of War. The bird struggles to avert the deadly thrust of the long, two-handed sword held by the youth.

This central figure is portrayed naked (except for a close-fitting headpiece and armour about his loins) to suggest the spirit of youthful heroism. In showing his hero near-naked, Lambert transformed the orthodox images of the slayer, such as those of Saint George, to create a work about the Allied victory over the Germans on one level and the human conquest over the warlike spirit on another.'

11 Symphony of Australia
Special event

20 April 7:30pm & 21 April 2pm

Starring Renae Martin, Gavin Lockley and Stuart Maunder with Orchestra and Choir conducted by Simon Kenway.  Enjoy eight songs based on verses by Banjo Paterson, Bruce Simpson, CJ Dennis, JL Cuthbertson and John O’Brien, plus Gavin Lockley’s six-movement Symphony of Australia, the central theme of which is “My Country Australia”, an anthemic piece taken from Dorothea McKellar’s beloved poem “I love a sunburned country”.

James O Fairfax Theatre | Bookings essential
$55, $30 concession, $20 members/students

Book tickets here

12 Around
the country
Interstate events
and travelling

Northern Territory

Roy Lichtenstein: Pop Remix | Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs NT, 26 April – 10 June 2013

And coming soon....
Capital and country: the Federation years 1900 – 1914 | Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin NT, 4 May – 29 September 2013

Roy Lichtenstein 'Blonde' 1978 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 1979 © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein. Licensed by Viscopy

South Australia

The Elaine and Jim Wolfensohn Gift: Red Case - Myths and Rituals & Yellow Case - Form, Space and Design | Murray Bridge Art Gallery, Murray Bridge SA, 27 March – 29 April 2013


The Elaine and Jim Wolfensohn Gift: 1888 Melbourne Cup | National Sports Museum, Richmond VIC, 15 January – 16 September 2013


Stars of the Tokyo stage:  Natori Shunsen’s kabuki actor prints | Rockhampton Art Gallery, Rockhampton QLD, 1 March – 19 May 2013

The Elaine and Jim Wolfensohn Gift: Blue Case – Technology | Artspace Mackay, Mackay QLD, 27 March – 15 April 2013 

13 Win tickets
to First Position!

Thanks to Hopscotch Films, we have 10 double passes to giveaway to see the documentary First Position, in cinemas from April 11. A showcase of awe-inspiring talent, tenacity and passion, First Position paints a thrilling and moving portrait of gifted young dancers as they compete in the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the world's most prestigious ballet competitions. Watch the trailer here

For your chance to win, email your contact details to by COB Wednesday 3 April.

14 ABC Classic FM CD giveway

To mark the end of the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition, which closes on Tuesday 2 April, we’re giving away five copies of ABC Classic FM’s CD ‘Toulouse-Lautrec: Paris and the Belle Époque’.  With an introduction by Emma Ayers, presenter of ABC Classic FM Breakfast, the CD features music from the world of Toulouse-Lautrec, with tracks by Debussy, Satie and Ravel, to name a few.

To enter, simply email your details to by COB Friday 5 April.