Major Gift extends Rockhampton Art Gallery’s collection

Published on 29 October 2019

The Green Pool

Rockhampton Art Gallery’s collection has been extended with a gift of a major work by internationally acclaimed Australian artist Lawrence Daws.

The work, The Green Pool, created in 2014, will be the fifth work by Daws to become part of the collection.

Lawrence Daws has been a name in the Australian art world since 1954. His works have engaged generations of Australians and continue to fascinate with their beauty and subtle strangeness.

This significant donation, made under the Cultural Gifts Program, has been facilitated by Philip Bacon Galleries. Lawrence Daws, Philip Bacon and Rockhampton Art Gallery have had an enduring relationship for over four decades, with Philip Bacon Galleries opening in 1974 and their first exhibition being one by Lawrence Daws. Rockhampton Art Gallery first acquired the work of Lawrence Daws in 1977, with assistance from the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council. This was in the era of former Mayor Rex Pilbeam, and the initial acquisitions of painting that was the impetuous to the growth and development of the Rockhampton Art Gallery.

Over the years, through generous donations, Rockhampton Art Gallery has been able to increase its holdings of Daws in the collection. This has amounted to four significant paintings being added to the collection over the years, two donated by the artist directly.

Chair of Rockhampton Regional Council’s Community Services Committee, Cr Rose Swadling, said that this most recent gift is a marvellous addition to Rockhampton Art Gallery’s collection.

“The gift of The Green Pool is a fitting and exciting addition to our nationally significant collection and will make the Gallery all the more enticing for visitors and locals,” she said.

Philip Bacon said, “When considering the most suitable art gallery for Lawrence Daws to Cultural Gift to, Rockhampton Art Gallery was first of mind. Not only is the Gallery nationally significant for modern and contemporary painting, and holding a number of works by Daws, but the opportunity of the New Rockhampton Art Gallery supports major works, and The Green Pool is just that work.”

Lawrence Daws said, “I am particularly delighted that my large three-panel work, The Green Pool, is to join the collection of the Rockhampton Art Gallery. It is not always easy for such a large work to find a suitable home, but the amazingly generous exhibition spaces in the new Gallery will give this work, one of the largest I have painted, a wonderful setting.

“It is always a pleasure to be represented in a collection with the depth and quality that Rockhampton Art Gallery holds, and to join some of my closest artist friends, such as Charles Blackman, Robert Dickerson, Margaret Olley, and Brett Whiteley in this important new Australian Art Gallery.”

Lawrence Daws is an artist whose work ranges from oil, drawing, printmaking, screen prints, etchings and watercolours. Daws is especially inclined to the Australian landscape, along with faceless female nudes, running figures and large animals. In his long career, Daws has explored both his creative imagination and his unconscious mind, combining this exotic inner world with the magically serene external landscape of the Glasshouse Mountains.

Daws’ first solo exhibition was in 1954, and only 12 years later he exhibited at the Art Gallery of South Australia at the age of only 39. He also held a number of successful shows in London alongside artists such as Brett Whiteley. An integral part of Lawrence Daws’ process is the innovative use of digital media. In the 1980’s, he started making computer prints which made him one of the first Australian artists to work with this medium.

The public can see The Green Pool when it goes on display in the new Art Gallery.

Rockhampton Art Gallery is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council.