National Gallery of Australia acquires major painting by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri


Ron Radford AM, Director of the National Gallery of Australia, announced today that the Gallery was successful at last night’s Sotheby’s sale in securing Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri’s major painting Warlugulong 1977.

It will be a key work for the main Central Desert room in the Gallery’s new wing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art which will commence construction next month. Although the Gallery has the largest collection of Aboriginal art in Australia, it lacked a major work by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, a pioneering artist in the Papunya Tulamovement. Warlugulong 1977 one of his seminal works is regarded as one of the most important Australian paintings of the 20th century and certainly one of the greatest Western Desert paintings.

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri 'Warlugulong' 1977 Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri 'Warlugulong' 1977

The painting will be acquired as part of the Gallery’s 25th Anniversary Gifts program. This fundraising initiative is committed to the purchase of major acquisitions throughout this, the National Gallery of Australia’s 25th Anniversary year.  

The Director of the National Gallery, Ron Radford, said: “I am excited by the acquisition and now work begins to raise special funds for it. The painting is one of the first large canvases produced by the Western Desert dot painters and is part of a small and very important early canvas series by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri”.


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Todd Hayward
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