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NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA IN MELBOURNE – A SHORT VISIT – JANUARY 19 2015

January 21, 2015

NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA IN MELBOURNE

The National Gallery of Victoria, popularly known as the NGV, is an art museum in Melbourne. Founded in 1861, it is the oldest public art museum in Australia. The NGV operates across two sites: NGV International, located on St Kilda Road in the heart of the Melbourne Arts Precinct of Southbank, and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, located nearby at Federation Square. The St Kilda Road building, designed by Sir Roy Grounds, opened in 1968, and was renovated by Mario Bellini and reopened in 2003. The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia was designed by LAB Architecture Studio and opened in 2002.

History

The NGV was founded in 1861. Victoria had been an independent colony for only ten years, but in the wake of the Victorian gold rush, it was the richest colony in Australia, and Melbourne was the largest city in Australia. In addition to donations of works of art, donated funds from wealthy citizens have been used by the NGV to purchase Australian and international works by both old and modern masters. The NGV currently holds over 70,000 works of art. The Felton Bequest, established by the will of Alfred Felton in 1904, has purchased over 15,000 works of art for the NGV.

The National Gallery of Victoria Art School, associated with the gallery, was founded in 1867. It was the leading centre for academic art training in Australia until about 1910.The School’s graduates went on to become some of Australia’s most significant artists.

The NGV’s Australian art collection encompasses Indigenous (Australian Aboriginal) art and artefacts, Australian colonial art, Australian Impressionist art, 20th century, modern and contemporary Australian art.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, domestic art began to thrive (particularly with the Heidelberg School in what was then an outer suburb of Melbourne) and the NGV was well-placed to add an excellent collection of key Australian works, which trace the metamorphosis of imported European styles into distinctively Australian art. The NGV houses many of the most recognisable Australian paintings, including Frederick McCubbin’s The Pioneer and Tom Roberts’

International Collection

The NGV has an encyclopaedic collection of art. In addition to the Australian collections, international collection areas include European painting (historical and modern), fashion and textiles, photography, prints and drawings, Asian art, decorative arts, Mesoamerican art, Pacific art, sculpture, antiquities, and contemporary art. It has strong collections in areas as diverse as old masters, Greek vases, Egyptian artifacts and historical European ceramics, and contains the largest and most comprehensive range of artworks in Australia.

The international collection includes works by Bernini, Bordone, Canaletto, Cézanne, Constable, Correggio, Degas, van Dyck, Gainsborough, Gentileschi, El Greco, Manet, Memling, Modigliani, Monet, Picasso, Pissarro, Poussin, Rembrandt, Renoir, Ribera, Rodin, Rothko, Rubens, Tiepolo, Giambattista Pittoni, Tintoretto, Turner, Uccello, Veronese, and other masters.

In 2011 the NGV celebrated its 150th birthday and acquired a highly important masterpiece by Correggio, one of the most influential figures of the Italian High Renaissance. The work, titled Madonna and Child with infant Saint John the Baptist, was painted circa 1514–15. The painting was purchased at Sotheby’s London for $5.2 million and is the single highest priced acquisition in the NGV’s history.

Picasso theft

Main article: Theft of The Weeping Woman from the National Gallery of Victoria

A famous event in the history of the gallery was the theft of Pablo Picasso’s painting “The Weeping Woman” in 1986 by a person or group who identified themselves as the “Australian Cultural Terrorists”. The group took the painting to protest the perceived poor treatment of the arts by the state government of the time and sought as a ransom the establishment of an art prize for young artists. The painting was returned in a railway locker two weeks later.

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A SHORT VISIT TO THIS MUSEUM

A SHORT VISIT TO THIS MUSEUM ALLOWED ME TO SEE A NUMBER OF PAINTINGS IN THE CONTEMPORARY AND THE NINETEENTH CENTURY GALLERIES.

THIS IS WHAT I SAW:

NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA  - MELBOURBE ENTRANCE WITH THE LATEST EXHIBITION OF JEAN PAUL GAULTIER

NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA – MELBOURBE
ENTRANCE WITH THE LATEST EXHIBITION OF JEAN PAUL GAULTIER

CAROUSEL IN THE LOBBY OF THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA

CAROUSEL IN THE LOBBY OF THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA

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ERIC WURM  -  KISS (ABSTRACT SCULPTURE)  -Presented atop gallery-white pedestals, Erwin Wurm’s figurative objects stand wistfully erect. Wurm’s sculptures allude to a cheap liaison, formally reminiscent of a kitsch dolphins statuette, triumphantly erupting out of their simulated ocean. These cast-bronze “casings”, painted with matte, fleshy-like mauve acrylic, conduct dual associations in scale and metaphor: what are franks are served up as phalluses, what are deli meats perform as human limbs. Functioning like surrealist poetry where disparate objects and behaviors are incongruously aligned, the girth of the objects’ romance is implied by the degree of the “meat’s” actual entanglement. " AMIE CUNAT

ERIC WURM – KISS (ABSTRACT SCULPTURE) -Presented atop gallery-white pedestals, Erwin Wurm’s figurative objects stand wistfully erect. Wurm’s sculptures allude to a cheap liaison, formally reminiscent of a kitsch dolphins statuette, triumphantly erupting out of their simulated ocean. These cast-bronze “casings”, painted with matte, fleshy-like mauve acrylic, conduct dual associations in scale and metaphor: what are franks are served up as phalluses, what are deli meats perform as human limbs. Functioning like surrealist poetry where disparate objects and behaviors are incongruously aligned, the girth of the objects’ romance is implied by the degree of the “meat’s” actual entanglement. “
AMIE CUNAT

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MARK HILTON  -  DONTWORRY   -"Mark Hilton‘s amazing wall-filling resin bas relief don’tworry. Its encrusted stony grey letterforms have the uncanny effect of a gothic church facade’s sculptural ornamentation depicting bible stories. But Hilton’s piece is about his own coming of age story; he’s 37. I was very impressed by this work (it took five years to make) but felt also a slight queasiness — it’s like Kanye taking Strange Fruit and turning that touchstone anthem about race lynchings into a personal tale of romantic breakup (Blood on the Leaves). Also the funkily contemporary letterforms spelling a blithe ‘Don’t Worry’ is gonna become period real fast."

MARK HILTON – DONTWORRY -“Mark Hilton‘s amazing wall-filling resin bas relief don’tworry. Its encrusted stony grey letterforms have the uncanny effect of a gothic church facade’s sculptural ornamentation depicting bible stories. But Hilton’s piece is about his own coming of age story; he’s 37. I was very impressed by this work (it took five years to make) but felt also a slight queasiness — it’s like Kanye taking Strange Fruit and turning that touchstone anthem about race lynchings into a personal tale of romantic breakup (Blood on the Leaves). Also the funkily contemporary letterforms spelling a blithe ‘Don’t Worry’ is gonna become period real fast.”

MARK HILTON  -  DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON – DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON  -  DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON – DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON  -  DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON – DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON  -  DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON – DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON  -  DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON – DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON  -  DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON – DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON  -  DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON – DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON  -  DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON – DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON  -  DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON – DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON  -  DONTWORRY

MARK HILTON – DONTWORRY

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MARTIN BOYCE  -  AGAINST THE NIGHT   -   "Suspended above a steel and plywood table, a row of lanterns illuminates the dim space and suggesting an evening summer party staged in a design museum.  Yet titles like ‘Against the Night’ and ‘The Sun Comprehending Glass’ tie Glasgow-based artist Martin Boyce’s enigmatic sculpture to the outdoors. "

MARTIN BOYCE – AGAINST THE NIGHT – “Suspended above a steel and plywood table, a row of lanterns illuminates the dim space and suggesting an evening summer party staged in a design museum. Yet titles like ‘Against the Night’ and ‘The Sun Comprehending Glass’ tie Glasgow-based artist Martin Boyce’s enigmatic sculpture to the outdoors. “

MARTIN BOYCE  -  AGAINST THE NIGHT

MARTIN BOYCE – AGAINST THE NIGHT

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FRANK THIEL   -   STADT 2-38

FRANK THIEL – STADT 2-38

FRANK THIEL   -   STADT 2-38

FRANK THIEL – STADT 2-38

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ERNESTO NET0   -   THE ISLAND BIRD    - "A giant, interactive ‘nest’ was unveiled at the NGV, and kids and adults alike are invited to climb through its labyrinthine, tunnel-like structures of crocheted rope. Created by renowned Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto, the sculpture is vibrantly coloured and almost 10m across, hovering several feet above the ground.Looking out through a mesh of tropical colours — oranges and grays, greens and purples, blues and yellows—the works allows visitors to experience the gallery space from inside of the artwork itself and offers a place to slow down, relax, and rest."

ERNESTO NET0 – THE ISLAND BIRD – “A giant, interactive ‘nest’ was unveiled at the NGV, and kids and adults alike are invited to climb through its labyrinthine, tunnel-like structures of crocheted rope. Created by renowned Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto, the sculpture is vibrantly coloured and almost 10m across, hovering several feet above the ground.Looking out through a mesh of tropical colours — oranges and grays, greens and purples, blues and yellows—the works allows visitors to experience the gallery space from inside of the artwork itself and offers a place to slow down, relax, and rest.”

ERNESTO NET0   -   THE ISLAND BIRD

ERNESTO NET0 – THE ISLAND BIRD

ERNESTO NET0   -   THE ISLAND BIRD

ERNESTO NET0 – THE ISLAND BIRD

ERNESTO NET0   -   THE ISLAND BIRD

ERNESTO NET0 – THE ISLAND BIRD

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PAUL CEZANNE  -   THE UPHILL ROAD LA ROUTE MONTANTE      -     "Cezanne's La Route Montante, or The Uphill Road, was painted with the same technical precision and with a similar atmosphere of unconsidered quietude. It was painted in the years when Cezanne, with his knapsack and paintbox on his back, was approaching his greatness by foot, walking long hours day after day through the motifs of Provence, relentlessly examining the composition of his local world, experimenting, persisting. Once again the vision here is as if of a scrap, a small road, a scarcely noticed thing, a forgotten vista, hardly a vista at all when you compare it to the over-saturated schmaltz of tourism and real estate brochures. It's just a pale yellow line crossing the foreground, and yes, a gentle upslope beside, this time in a brighter patchwork of greens. And beyond: the man-made structures at the edge of a village, set back in both perspective and spiritual significance in the artist's eye, under a high blue and once again seemingly casually applied sky. What Cezanne has framed here is what used to be called ''negative space'', but in our increasingly noisy and busy habitats we can see the painter's vision front and centre: a gracious emptiness, a humble vacating, a quiet declaration of colours and forms, painstakingly applied to harmonise with the subject and seem offhand." Gregory Day

PAUL CEZANNE – THE UPHILL ROAD LA ROUTE MONTANTE – “Cezanne’s La Route Montante, or The Uphill Road, was painted with the same technical precision and with a similar atmosphere of unconsidered quietude. It was painted in the years when Cezanne, with his knapsack and paintbox on his back, was approaching his greatness by foot, walking long hours day after day through the motifs of Provence, relentlessly examining the composition of his local world, experimenting, persisting. Once again the vision here is as if of a scrap, a small road, a scarcely noticed thing, a forgotten vista, hardly a vista at all when you compare it to the over-saturated schmaltz of tourism and real estate brochures.
It’s just a pale yellow line crossing the foreground, and yes, a gentle upslope beside, this time in a brighter patchwork of greens. And beyond: the man-made structures at the edge of a village, set back in both perspective and spiritual significance in the artist’s eye, under a high blue and once again seemingly casually applied sky.
What Cezanne has framed here is what used to be called ”negative space”, but in our increasingly noisy and busy habitats we can see the painter’s vision front and centre: a gracious emptiness, a humble vacating, a quiet declaration of colours and forms, painstakingly applied to harmonise with the subject and seem offhand.”
Gregory Day

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EUGENE DE LA CROIX     -      The confession of the Giaour (Confession du Giaour)

EUGENE DE LA CROIX –
The confession of the Giaour
(Confession du Giaour)

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Camille COROT (manner of)     -     The model, nude study (late 19th century)

Camille COROT (manner of) – The model, nude study
(late 19th century)

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LAWRENCE ALTA-TADEMA     -      THE VINTAGE FESTIVAL

LAWRENCE ALTA-TADEMA – THE VINTAGE FESTIVAL

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J M W TURNER     -     FALLS OF SCHAFFHAUSE (VAL D'AOSTA)

J M W TURNER – FALLS OF SCHAFFHAUSE (VAL D’AOSTA)

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J M W TURNER     -     WALTON BRIDGES

J M W TURNER – WALTON BRIDGES

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JOHN CONSTABLE     -     STUDY OF A BOAT PASSING A LOCK

JOHN CONSTABLE – STUDY OF A BOAT PASSING A LOCK

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JOHN CONSTABLE    -     CLOUDS                                             JOHN CONSTABLE    -     WEST END FIELDS HAMPSTEAD, NOON

JOHN CONSTABLE – CLOUDS
JOHN CONSTABLE – WEST END FIELDS HAMPSTEAD, NOON

PHOTOS:

LEONARD EPSTEIN

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