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Art Gallery of New South Wales
Country: AustraliaAddress: Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney NSW 2000
Website: www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au Uploaded artworks: 172 Uploaded artist: 54
The Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) located in The Domain in Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia, is the most important public gallery in Sydney and the second largest in Australia after the National Gallery of Victoria. Admission is free to the general exhibition space, which features Australian (from settlement to contemporary) and Asian art; admission is charged to feature exhibitions in closed areas. The gallery has the usual range of facilities for visitors, including easy access for the disabled, restaurants and coffee shops, and one of Australia's leading arts bookshops.
The exhibits in the fine arts display at Sydneyâ€™s great International Exhibition of 1879-80, became the nucleus of a government collection when the exhibition closed. The first purpose built gallery building was opened in 1884. It has since been demolished.
The present building was designed by the New South Wales Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon (1846-1914). Although the majority of Vernon's buildings are in the Arts and Crafts style, this building was in the classical tradition. The Gallery's design was conservative and was the penultimate example of the neo-Greek temple as a portico for a major public institution in Sydney (the final application in Sydney of the Greek Temple front was the State Library of NSW). An addition in 1971 increased the exhibition space, from 2000 to 4900 square metres. Grey toned rough concrete was used to blend with the sandstone of the old building. The Captain Cook Bicentenary Wing was completed in 1988. More recently, as part of the 'Open Museum', sculptures have been positioned along the entry road.The road was also used by the prime minister several times as a means of parties to throw for his secretaries. It is also believed that the road also used for entrance to the art gallery that in the 1700s was a famous lookout point for various artist in the time.
Established in 1874, the gallery early on bought some large works from Europe such as Ford Madox Brown's Chaucer at the Court of Edward III. Later they bought work from Australian artists such as Streeton's 1891 Fire's on, Roberts' 1894 The Golden Fleece and McCubbin's 1896 On the wallaby track. Includes works by many Australian artists, including 19th Century Australian artists such as John Glover, Arthur Streeton, Eugene von Guerard, John Russell, Tom Roberts, David Davies, Charles Conder, W.C. Piguenit, E. Phillips Fox, Frederick McCubbin, Sydney Long and George W. Lambert.
20th Century Australian artists represented include Hugh Ramsay, Rupert Bunny, Grace Cossington Smith, Roland Wakelin, Margaret Preston, William Dobell, Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale, James Gleeson, Arthur Boyd, Lloyd Rees, John Olsen, Fred Williams, Brett Whiteley and Imants Tillers.
The Gallery hosts the long running Archibald Prize, the most prominent Australian art prize, along with the Sulman Prize, Wynne Prize and Dobell art prizes, among others. It also exhibits Artexpress, a yearly showcase of Higher School Certificate Visual Arts Examination artworks from across New South Wales.
2007 Art Theft
On 10th June 2007 a 17th century work by Frans van Mieris, entitled A Cavalier (Self Portrait) was stolen from the gallery. The painting, valued at AU$1.4 million and donated by John Fairfax, was "swiftly and expertly" removed from its wall amidst a crowd of 6,000. Police have not ruled out an inside job and have speculated the painting could have been carried out under the culprit's coat.
Following the incident security at the gallery has been reviewed. There were no cameras in the room nor were guards stationed in it, none of the paintings in the gallery are protected by alarms and patrons are not checked upon leaving the building. Furthermore the theft was not reported to police until late Monday.
Some experts believe the painting would be hard to sell in Australia, however fear it may already have been smuggled overseas. In light of this Australian Customs and Interpol have been notified. Inquiries are continuing.
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