National Gallery of Australia

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Fred Williams

September 10, 2011

When the previous retrospective of an artist’s work contained no fewer than 417 pieces, it is inevitable that a new exhibition of about 120 pictures will be known as the ‘smaller’ show. That earlier Fred Williams’s mega-retrospective was held at the National Gallery of Australia in 1987, but I still have a vivid recollection of … More


National Gallery of Australia: A New Extension

October 23, 2010

Nobody in Australia is more experienced in the ways of gallery building than Andrew Andersons, the chief architect of the new wing at the National Gallery of Australia. Although he is a super professional, Andersons has often been criticised by other architects who find his buildings prosaic, deficient in detail and artistry. To be fair, … More


Man With a Blue Scarf

September 1, 2010

Man With a Blue Scarf On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud By Martin Gayford In 1980 James Lord published a slender book called A Giacometti Portrait. It detailed his experience of sitting for a portrait by Alberto Giacometti, whose biography he would write five years later. The book struck a chord with readers … More


Hans Heysen and Marion Borgelt

June 20, 2010

Travelling to the Flinders Ranges last year with a group of artists, I read my way through Colin Thiele’s Heysen of Hahndorf (1968) the standard biography of Australia’s most celebrated gum tree Meister. Sir Hans Heysen (1877-1968) was the first artist to make Australians aware of the rugged beauty of the Flinders region, with a … More


Masterpieces from Paris

January 2, 2010

Question time in Canberra: “Is Masterpieces from Paris the most important exhibition ever shown at the National Gallery of Australia, as NGA director, Ron Radford, has claimed?” Answer: No. This is a silly, opportunistic thing to say, as it is a show without an original thesis. Think back to the NGA’s Surrealism: Revolution by Night … More


McCubbin: Last Impressions & Aida Tomescu

October 24, 2009

There can be few more disconcerting feelings than being the only one at a party who isn’t having a good time, but this is roughly how I felt as I wandered through the exhibition, McCubbin: Last Impressions 1907-17, at the National Gallery of Australia. Having never thought much of this period of McCubbin’s work I … More


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