The Devonport City Council’s Permanent Collection is rich and diverse, comprising textiles, ceramics, glass, sculpture, paintings and works on paper by iconic Tasmanian and Australian artists. The Collection has its beginnings in works collected by Jean Thomas for The Little Gallery, which opened in 1966 with an exhibition of works by Tasmanian artist Christopher Pyett. After several decades of growth and change, Devonport Regional Gallery’s Art Collection Policy was developed to ensure a collection that is cohesive, focused and significant within Tasmania. Subsequently, the Collection has become a unique, vibrant and accumulative record of professional artistic activity within Tasmania.
Since the policy was adopted in 2011, the Gallery has continued to collect notable works by key Tasmanian practitioners including Pat Brassington, Tim Burns, Matt Calvert, Hermie Cornelisse, Simon Cuthbert, Lisa Garland, Julie Gough, Lola Greeno, Patrick Grieve, Neil Haddon, David Hawley, Jonathan Kimberley, Colin Langridge, Michael Muruste, Rosemary O'Rourke, Sally Rees, Troy Ruffels, Mary Scott, Michael Schlitz, Fiona Tabart, Richard Wastell, Alan Young, Amanda Davies, David Hawley and Raymond Arnold. The acquisition of these works has ensured that, when viewed with existing works, the Collection continues to evolve as a vibrant and comprehensive record of Tasmanian visual culture.
In addition to these contemporary Tasmanian works, the gallery also holds the well-known Robinson Collection of photographic negatives, the Moon Collection of nineteenth century textiles and decorative arts, and a large number of paintings by renowned North-West coast artist Owen Lade. Other notable works include that of David Boyd, John Olsen, Clifton Pugh, Lloyd Rees, George Lambert, John Coburn, Edith Holmes, Dorothy Stoner, Bea Maddock, Gwyn Hanssen Piggott, Christopher Pyett, Grahame King, Ray Arnold, Les Blakebrough and Philip Wolfhagen.
The Robinson Collection comprises over 20,000 photographic negatives and was purchased by the Devonport City Council in 1993. The images, which vary in subject from portraits to land-scapes, street-scapes and crowd-scapes, were taken by Bert Robinson and his son Albert. Bert established the photographic business in Devonport in 1927. Following his death in 1953, his son Albert carried on the studio until he died suddenly in 1975, when the business ceased to operate.
The Gallery continues to present a series of exhibitions which interpret the Robinson Collection using a contemporary point of view, reprinting selected negatives from the collection in large format, in some cases using old photographic techniques to achieve tones and effects in keeping with the production of photographs during the Robinsons' era. The Robinson Collection serves as a valuable resource for interpreting past social and political events on the North-West Coast, while providing an insight into the history of photographic practice.
Image: Robinson Collection, Photograph of Len Campbell, Mascot of the Latrobe Football Club, 1937
The Moon Collection is a collection of nineteenth century textiles and decorative arts objects, originally owned by the Moon Family, well-off silk and trade merchants from Dundee, Scotland. One of the merchant’s sons, George, migrated to Tasmania in the 1880s where he married Christina Henry, his business partner’s niece, and had his own family. When George’s sister Annie died in 1945 in Scotland, the only family remaining were George’s three daughters Annie (Nancy), Elsie, Christina (Tina) and sons Eric and Walter. The sisters travelled back to Scotland to claim the estate and returned two years later with historical family possessions, some of which are now part of the Gallery’s Permanent Collection. These included glass and silverware, china, photographs, souvenirs from the East, personal items, textiles and dresses, of which twelve were bequeathed to the Devonport Regional Gallery.
Image: J. M. Easson, Ladies' Ball Dress, Dundee, Scotland, 1892-1901. Skirt and bodice, machine and hand stitched Japanese silk, lace, silk organza, glass and metal beading and sequins, plastic pearls, diamantes, cotton lining, boning, eye hooks
Owen Gower Lade was born in Hobart, Tasmania in 1922, and lived in Devonport between 1975 and 1989. Lade’s work was first exhibited in The Little Gallery in 1968, and the DCC Permanent Collection now holds a broad range of Lade’s works, including paintings of landscapes and buildings, fungi and numerous portraits of children, for which Lade is renowned. Between 1975 and 1989, Lade produced 170 child portraits. These portraits resulted both from commissions and, more often, Lade approaching parents directly, paying children $5 to sit for him. Lade painted each portrait over a period of five days, following a distinct formula; beginning with a sketch on the first day, working on clothing on the third, and reserving the fifth day for final details and his signature.
Image: Owen Lade, Timothy 1983, oil on hardboard, 90.5cm x 60cm
The Tidal: City of Devonport National Art Award is a biennial, acquisitive award, which provides a contemporary platform for artists to reflect upon the Tidal theme and the myriad perspectives and challenges inherent within the interconnections of land and sea. These challenges may be personal or political, natural or cultural and therefore interpretations of the theme can vary considerably within a contemporary art context. Tidal was first launched in 2004, and since 2010 has been a $15,000 acquisitive award. As a result, four Tidal Award recipients’ works to date have become a part of the DCC Permanent Collection.
The recipient of the first acquisitive Tidal Award in 2010 was Hobart-based photographer and cinematographer Matthew Newton, for his digital print Moonbird boy 3. In 2012, Launceston-based artist Paul Snell received the Award for his work Elliptic # 201201. The third Award in 2014 was presented to yet another Tasmanian artist, Hobart-based Joel Crosswell, for his work Galaxias. Most recently, Brisbane-based artist Julie Fragar received the 2016 Award for her painting Antonio Departs Flores on the Whaling Tide.
Image: Matthew NEWTON, Moonbird boy 3 2009 (from the series Moonbird boy), digital print, 100 x 60 cm
|Richard Wastell, 2005|
Not far from here. Burnt manferns and firebombed forest, Styx Valley
Oil and marbledust on canvas
152 x 183cm