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National Gallery of Victoria Opens This Wondrous Land: Colonial Art on Paper

The National Gallery of Victoria presents This Wondrous Land: Colonial Art on Paper, on view 16 July–27 November 2011.

This exhibition explores colonial settlement in Australia through a stunning selection of late eighteenth and nineteenth century works on paper.

Part two, opening at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia will focus on Melbourne, celebrating the artists who documented the city’s progression.

Alisa Bunbury, Curator, Prints and Drawings, NGV said: “The second part of this exhibition gives us a rare opportunity to not only show Melbournians their city through the eyes of European settlers but also the relationships between those pioneering Melbourne artists who instigated this city’s well-established arts scene, many of whom were female.

“This collection also comprises discrete groups of works that provide fascinating insights into aspects of colonial society.” said Ms Bunbury.

Works by artists including Georgiana McCrae, Louisa Anne Meredith, Edward La Trobe Bateman, Nicholas Chevalier and Eugene von Guérard will be on display in the second part of the exhibition.

This Wondrous Land will be accompanied by a substantial publication with contributions by Australian and international colonial art experts. A symposium exploring issues of colonial art and history will be held on 16 July followed by the launch of the publication at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.

Dr Gerard Vaughan, Director, NGV, said: “As we celebrate our 150th anniversary in 2011, this is a wonderful opportunity to also celebrate the remarkable colonial artworks in the NGV Collection. I encourage all Victorians to visit this landmark exhibition as many of these works rarely go on display due to their extreme sensitivity to light.”

This Wondrous Land comprises over 150 works including prints, drawings, watercolours, illustrated books and miniature paintings spanning the period from 1773 to the late nineteenth century.

The first part of the exhibition opened at NGV International on 29 April and draws together works that represent the exploration of the continent, the fascination with its animals, landscapes, and Indigenous cultures, and the forming settlements in Sydney, Newcastle, Hobart and other colonies.

Dr Petra Kayser, Assistant Curator, Prints and Drawings, NGV, said: “On display at NGV International are a number of significant works made by colonial administrators, convicts and professional artists, including the Boobook owl painted by the Sydney Bird Painter, the earliest work made in Australia in the NGV’s Collection.”

This Wondrous Land: Colonial Art on Paper, The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia 16 July to 27 November 2011. Open Tues–Sun. 10am–5pm. Entry is free.

This Wondrous Land: Colonial Art on Paper, NGV International 29 April–2 October 2011. Open Wed–Mon 10am–5pm. Entry is free.

Image: National Gallery of Victoria

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