Rocking it at 50
8 February - 31 December 2017
The story of Rockhampton Art Gallery’s enviable art collection is a remarkable tale of imagination, philanthropy, hard work and cultural pride. The earliest art donation to the City of Rockhampton was in 1931, a bequest from the estate of a local resident Edward Cureton Tomkins, dated late 1780s. This painting was once thought to be by Sir Joshua Reynolds, but was later re-attributed to the English portrait painter, Lemuel Francis Abbott. Several years after this initial donation Rockhampton Art Gallery was founded in 1967, with a dedicated exhibition space at Rockhampton Town Hall. In 1979 Rockhampton Art Gallery was provided with a purpose built home at 62 Victoria Parade. The impetus for this new building was motivated by the dramatic and sizeable acquisitions that occurred from 1976.
This stunning collection includes paintings by modern Australian artists Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Charles Blackman, Judy Cassab, Kenneth Macqueen, Lloyd Rees, Russell Drysdale, Donald Friend, John Coburn, and many more. James Gleeson, artist and then curator at the Australian National Gallery, visited in 1977 and was very impressed by what the town had achieved. In his view, ‘What had been happening in Rockhampton is the talk of Australia in the art world … There has been nothing like it in the country before’.i
Where: Rockhampton Art Gallery
Parking: Victoria Parade or Bolsover Car Park behind the Gallery
(i) Quoted in ‘City Art Collection ‘best in north’, Morning Bulletin, c.1977.