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1. Purpose and Objectives

This policy provides strategic directions for building the collection during the period 2009 - 2013.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

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3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to The University of Queensland Art Collection (and its associated art collections).

4. Policy Statement

The Collection is crucial to The University of Queensland Art Museum and defines it as an institution that acquires, houses, cares for and presents an evolving Art Collection. As part of its responsibility to support teaching and research of visual culture, The University of Queensland Art Museum will give the Collection prominence through the organisation and presentation of exhibitions and associated public programs.

The University of Queensland Art Museum will shape and develop its Collection through the combination of policy and opportunity. Every effort will be made to increase the standing of the Art Museum and its Collection through strategic linkages with the cultural sector both in Australia and overseas.

The University of Queensland Art Collection, with over 3 500 works, is the largest university collection in Queensland of Australian art. Its development history over the past seven decades has produced a numerically large collection of paintings and works on paper by Australian artists. More than half the Collection consists of works produced in the last 50 years.

The Collection profile indicates certain strengths and these form several profile or thematic groups, which should be expanded.

Although there is a movement away from concentrating collections in terms of historical movements and media-specific groupings, the Collection includes a large number of works on paper such as artist prints, drawings and watercolours. This material includes outstanding examples of works by major Australian artists from the colonial era to the present day. There is value in maintaining a strength in this area, particularly if these works can support other major works in the Collection.

The University, through the Vice-Chancellor, administers a strategy under which all new major building projects should allocate a percentage of the capital cost to the Art Collection fund. The acquisition of artworks under this program will be co-ordinated by the Director of The University of Queensland Art Museum, and will be guided by an emphasis on works that can be integrated into the Collection. Acquisitions will comply with the Collection Development Policy.

The development of the Collection will focus on six key areas - National Artists’ Self-Portraits, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, The 19th to early 20th century, Modernism, The post-war period, and Late 20th-century art to the present.

5. National Artists’ Self-Portraits

The first work to enter The University of Queensland Art Collection, in 1929, was a self portrait by Mary Christison, dated c. 1870s.

The National Collection of Artists’ Self Portraits was established as the result of a generous endowment to The University of Queensland in 2004, and has created a nationally significant framework in which to operate. This important collecting area acknowledges past conventions and forward-looking innovations, and invites a broad term of reference in both media and meaning.

The University’s focus area of Artists’ Self Portraits now includes a number of significant works. The National Artists’ Self-Portrait Prize, first held in 2007, will continue as a bi-annual acquisitive prize by invitation only, with entries sought from artists who work in a variety of media.

5.1 National Artists’ Self-Portrait Focus collecting aims 2009 - 2013

5.1.1  Self portraits by Australian artists, including a special focus on Queensland artists.

5.1.2  Works of art that fit within representational notions of the self portrait and works of art that extend the idea of the self portrait beyond the representational image.

5.1.3  Works of art that utilise both traditional and non-traditional media, for instance self portraits executed in photo-media, digital formats, as a moving image or in three dimensions.

5.1.4  Self portraits of artists whose works are represented in the University’s Collection.

5.1.5  Self portraits judged to win The University of Queensland National Artists’ Self-Portrait Prize, and other entries to the Prize deemed worthy of acquisition for the Collection.

6. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art

The Collection contains examples of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, primarily from the late 20th century to the present. The Collection contains some excellent examples of works by artists from the Central Desert, Lockhart River, and the Torres Strait, as well as urban-based artists. However, there are many gaps in this Collection.

6.1 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collecting aims 2009 - 2013

6.1.1  Emphasis will be given to acquiring contemporary works by Australian Indigenous artists based in remote, regional and urban areas.

6.1.2  Special emphasis will be given to work by Indigenous artists based in, or with connections to, Queensland.

6.1.3  Emphasis will be given to emerging Indigenous artists and Indigenous artists working in new media.

6.1.4  Emphasis will be given to Indigenous artists whose work complements the collection of The University of Queensland Anthropology Museum.

6.1.5  When the opportunity arises, works from earlier periods will be considered for acquisition.

7. The 19th to Early 20th Century

The Collection contains good holdings by significant 19th and early 20th century Australian artists.

Emphasis will be given to Queensland artists and work that highlights major developments in Queensland art history. The small but important group of works by a number of pioneering Queensland artists will be strengthened.

7.1 The 19th to early 20th century collecting aims 2009 - 2013

7.1.1  Consideration will be given to acquiring works by European artists, especially artists who were involved in the exploration of Queensland. Works by itinerant artists will also be collected.

7.1.2  The University will continue to acquire works by Heidelberg School artists, especially if good examples of artist self portraits become available.

8. Modernism

The Collection contains a number of works by Modernist artists active in Brisbane and Sydney in the period between the wars. It is difficult to gain a coherent understanding of the development of Modernism in Australia from such limited holdings. An effort will be made to develop this area by acquiring works by artists who contributed to the early developments of Modernism in Australia.

8.1 Modernism collecting aims 2009 - 2013

8.1.1  The Collection contains a number of noteworthy works by modernist artists. This material will be strengthened by the acquisition of major paintings, watercolours, artist prints and small sculptural works.

8.1.2  A commitment will be given to strengthening the representation of Queensland artists who contributed to developments in Modernism in Australia.

9. The Post-War Period

The post-war period coincides with the establishment of the University Art Collection. Its development history over the past seven decades has focused primarily on contemporary Australian art. The Collection contains outstanding holdings of works by key Australian post-war artists.

Priority will be given to collecting work by artists who contributed to the development of contemporary art in Australia. A secondary aim is to collect the work of Queensland-based artists and to place it in a national context.

9.1 The post-war period collecting aims 2009 - 2013

9.1.1  A commitment will be given to developing strengths in post-war Australian art.

9.1.2  An emphasis will be given to works by artists who were active in Queensland.

10. Late 20th Century Art to the Present

The University has established some good holdings of Australian art from the 1960s to the present, for instance paintings and drawings from the 1980s. However, in many areas the Collection is weak and this needs to be addressed with significant focus.

The greatest challenge for the development of the Collection is to respond to contemporary art practices of the past decade.

10.1 Late 20th century art to the present collecting aims 2009 - 2013

10.1.1  New media practices such as DVD/video installations and digitised-image processes will be actively acquired.

10.1.2  An emphasis will be given to work by artists exploring photo-media.

10.1.3 An emphasis will be given to acquiring key works by artists who have made major contributions to Australian art in the last 20 years.

10.1.4  Of parallel concern is work by Queensland artists who have contributed to the development of contemporary Australian art.

10.1.5  A major emphasis will be given to work by contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, as stated above.

10.1.6  Works by artists from the Asia-Pacific region will be considered where they demonstrate ongoing association with Australia.

Custodians
Director, The University of Queensland Art Museum Dr Campbell Gray