catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Rigging and Giving: Two Great Shows

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The Mosman Regional Art Gallery is hosting two really interesting shows at present. The more important and significant exhibition celebrates the munificence of Howard Hinton, shipping magnate and art patron, who donated no less than 1100 works to the Armidale Teachers College between 1928 and his death in 1948.

The other show comes from the Australian Society of Marine Art and most of the paintings depict the age of sail which remarkably persisted into the 1950s, almost a century after steam-powered vessels first appeared on the water. The best part of this show was a talk from Robert Carter, President of the Society, who shared some of his encyclopedic knowledge. Some of this was truly eye-opening, even for people who have no interest in sailing or art, as described on Troppo.

First a few words about the municipality of Mosman, the Mosman Art Prize and the recently established Art Gallery and Cultural Centre. Mosman is a small LGA both in geography and population (less than 26,000 in 2001, an increase of 421 from 1996). For a long time it had the highest proportion of old people in Australia and that is probably still the case.

More to the point, it has a long association with some of the great names in Australian art. Julian Ashton lived there and many others passed through, especially when there were two artists colonies on the waterfront circa 1900 and some famous work was done on site by the likes of Roberts, Streeton, Conder, Ashton and many others.

The Mosman Art Prize has been running since 1947 and it is arguably the richest prize in the nation apart from the really big numbers like the Archibald. Lately the main award has been $15,000 with subsidiary prizes for youth, drawing etc. The prize is acquisitive and starting in the sixties or seventies the Council meetings regularly featured compaints about the “rubblish” that had to stored in the collection of prize-winning works. Lately the Council established a gallery and cultural centre in a beautifully modified church. This houses the Council collection and hosts regular exhibitions of all kinds.

The Howard Hinton Art Collection

Some 60 paintings out of more than 1100 that Hinton donated to the Armidale Teachers College are on show until mid January. They include some of the classics in Australian Art such as “Mosman’s Bay” by Tom Roberts and I remarked to the gallery manager that he must have had a think about the security of the works, in view of their value. He replied “You are on candid camera right now. And I am not even going to say the value of the works!”.

On the topic of generous patrons, the late Ross Campbell, Rhodes Scholar and journalistic wit, visited the Victorian Gallery as a naive youth and gained the impression that “Felton Bequest” was an incredibly productive and versatile painter.

This post is starting to wear me out so the good news is that the Hinton story is told in some detail in the lower part of this link.


Written by Admin

December 11, 2005 at 4:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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