Over the last decade, the Bendigo Art Gallery has built a reputation for presenting innovative international and local exhibitions as well as an informative, engaging program of public events.
Image courtesy of Bendigo Art Gallery http://www.bendigoartgallery.com.au/
Established in 1887, the Bendigo Art Gallery is one of the largest and oldest regional galleries in Australia. Its extensive collection boasts a wide variety of 19th century European artwork and 19th and 20th century Australian art, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, and ceramics.
The gallery also hosts Australia’s richest open painting prize, the Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize. Launched in 2003, the prize is worth $50,000, and is gifted every second year. Designed to attract Australia’s best contemporary artists, the prize was established by Allen Guy CBE to honour his late brother Arthur Guy. Arthur Guy was born in 1914, and educated at Bendigo’s Camp Hill State School before enlisting in the Air Force and serving in New Guinea. In 1945, at the age of 30, his plane was shot down. Previous winners of the Arthur Guy prize include Stieg Persson, Dale Frank, Stephen Bush, Jan Nelson, Tim Johnson and Chris Bond.
The History of the Bendigo Art Gallery
The Bendigo Art Gallery was founded in 1887; with the conversion of the Bendigo Volunteer Rifle Brigade’s barracks into the new art gallery premises. Local, distinguished architect, WC Valhand, oversaw all the construction work, which took place in View Street.
The new gallery was opened to the public in 1890, occupying the space that is today referred to as Bolton Court. A number of extra rooms were added over the years as the art collection grew, including Drury Court in 1897 and Abbott Court in 1905. Abbott Court was also designed a skilled local architect, William Beebe, in a style similar to that used across Europe at the time, particularly the design used at the Tate Gallery in London.
Much of the Bendigo Art Gallery’s original red and white Victorian brick façade, and its Victorian and Edwardian galleries, remained unchanged until 1962. It was only then that a more modern entrance was added in View Street, alongside new office buildings and more new rooms, including Scott Court, Sonnenberg Court and the BS Andrew Gallery.
There were no further programs of major works until recently. An $8.5 million redevelopment of the gallery was opened in March 2014. The redevelopment has seen an additional 600 square metres of space added to the gallery, most of which is located in a new wing that border Rosalind Park. The redevelopment also included construction of specially designed sub-terrain storage area, large enough to house approximately 5,000 pieces, and a brand new café.
Bendigo Art Gallery’s Permanent Collections
- The Bendigo Art Gallery boasts three permanent collections that are open to the public at all times:
- 19th Century International Art: this collection includes various paintings and sculptures from mid-to-late 19th century Europe and Britain, including works from Thomas Kennington, Herbert Schmalz, and Thomas Sheard.
- 19th Century Australian Art: the gallery’s collection of 19th century Australian Art tells the story of the history of Bendigo, including paintings from Thomas Wright, George Rowe, and ST Gill. There are also many paintings from members of the Heidelberg School, including Frederick McCubbin and Tom Roberts.
- Modern and Contemporary: the collection of 20th century paintings, prints, sculptures and drawings at the Bendigo Art Gallery features work from leading, modern, Australian artists, including Arthur Boyd, Walter Withers, Margaret Preston, Tracey Moffat, Louise Forthum, Peter Tyndall and Christopher Langton.
Upcoming Bendigo Art Gallery Exhibits
The New Year will see the Bendigo Art Gallery host a number of new and exciting exhibitions, just as it does every year.
Remain in Light: Photography from the MCA Collections
21 February to 19 April 2015
This touring contemporary photographic exhibition from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney features more than 70 photographic works from both Australian and international artists. The images were taken from the 1960s, right up until today, and encompass a broad range media from black and white photography to photo-lithography. All of the artists in the exhibition have contributed significantly to debates over photographic theory and technique.
28 March to 28 June 2015
The story of Ned Kelly is still shrouded in mystery. Was he a murderous villain and outlaw? Or was he simply a misunderstood hero, a kind of Australian Robin Hood? This exhibition will explore these contrasting ideas of Ned Kelly using original artefacts such as Kelly’s own famous armour, letters, and weapons. Some of Sidney Nolan’s most famous paintings of Ned Kelly will be on display alongside Peter Carey’s literary works.
Planning Your Visit to the Bendigo Art Gallery
If you’re planning a visit to the Bendigo Art Gallery, then look no further for all the details you’ll need:
- Address: 42 View Street, Bendigo, VIC 3550
- Phone: 03 5434 6088
- Email: bendigoartgallery(at)bendigo.vic.gov.au
- Opening Hours: The Bendigo Art Gallery is open every day of the year from 10am to 5pm (except Christmas Day).
- Entry Cost: Entry is by donation to the permanent collections; entry fees apply to some visiting exhibitions.
- Tours: There are free tours of the permanent collections daily at 2pm.
- Accommodation: Bendigo’s Allara Motor Lodge is just a short 10 minute drive to the Bendigo Art Gallery