Art Gallery of Western Australia
History and museums
The Art Gallery of Western Australia is a public gallery that is part of the Perth Cultural Centre, in Perth, Western Australia. It is located near the Western Australian Museum and State Library of Western Australia. The current gallery opened in 1979.
The State's art collection consists of over 15,500 works of art, and the Art Gallery is visited by approximately 400,000 people annually.
The Art Gallery was originally housed in the Jubilee Building with the State Museum and Library. The Jubilee Building, which was intended to be a public library only, was to be opened in honour of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887, but instead, only the first stone for the foundation was laid. The foundation stone was laid for the Art Gallery in July 1901 by the Duke of Cornwall and York, shortly after the federation of Australia.
Several notable individuals were involved with the development of the Jubilee Building and Art Gallery, including John Winthrop Hackett, James Battye, Ludwig Glauert, George Pitt Morison and George Temple-Poole. Sir James Dromgole Linton recommended purchases for the State Art Collection.
The Art Gallery Administration Building is housed in the former Police Quarters, designed by architect Hillson Beasley, who also designed Government House. It was built during the economic boom created by the 1890s Kalgoorlie gold rush. The Administration Building moved into the Police Quarters in the 1970s during the nickel mining boom.
The Main Gallery Building was built in 1977, and was also spurred by the mining boom. Western Australia was also placing more importance on cultural institutions, and the government was inspired by the upcoming 150th anniversary of federation in 1979. Construction of the Alexander Library began in the same period.
The architect of the Main Gallery Building was K. Sierakowski from the Public Works Department, who worked with engineer Philip Nadebaum and architectural company, Summerhayes and Associates. It was designed in the Bauhaus method with a Brutalist exterior, which was popular in European design. The slab and shear head column system was an innovative architectural feature in WA at the time.
The Art Gallery's first collection was eclectic. The first collection consisted of Indian and Asian craft work, followed by art created by European Australians and copies of English art. The Aesthetic Movement inspired the collection with its broad definition of art.
Ongoing exhibitions include Indigenous traditional and contemporary art from the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and WA art from the 1820s to 1960s. An annual exhibition called "Year 12 Perspectives" highlights works from Western Australian Art and Art & Design students, including paintings, prints, digital art, fashion design and sculpture.