Press Release
6 September 2005

The Chairman of the National Gallery of Australia, Mr. Harold Mitchell, said today he sincerely regretted the Gallery was not in a position to purchase a major work of art by Russian born abstract artist, Wassily Kandinsky.

Sketch for Deluge II , 1912 is an oil on canvas recently offered to the Gallery by a New York dealer.

“Unfortunately, this is not something we could afford,” Mitchell said. “If we could find a benefactor, it would be a great gift to the nation”.

Even so, Mitchell said he was delighted that the National Gallery of Australia had been considered a potential purchaser of the abstract masterpiece.

“It’s a great honour for the Gallery and a great tribute to its Director, Ron Radford, that the international art community would see us as a potential purchaser of such a magnificent work of art.”

Mitchell said the Gallery had responsibility for public funds and had to take care that they were spent prudently. At the same time the Gallery was also required to build an uplifting and wonderful collection. “We have to be very careful because we have a wide field of art to cover both within Australia and internationally. This is a wonderful painting and we would have loved to have purchased it but sadly we cannot.”

for further information : Ken Begg 0412 174 319/ Sam Begg 0410 465 728