Bendigo Art Gallery has an extensive and varied collection of art which includes painting, sculpture, ceramics, decorative arts, photography and works on paper. The collection has a strong emphasis on 19th century European art and Australian art from the 1800s onwards and over the past decade has been building a significant collection of contemporary Australian art.
19th Century International Art
Bendigo Art Gallery has some remarkable paintings, sculptures and decorative arts reflecting European salon trends of the mid-to-late 19th century. British works in the collection include sentimental works such as Homeless by Thomas Kennington, Too Late by Herbert Schmalz, and the stunning photo-realism of the The Arab Blacksmith by Thomas Sheard. These and other works in the collection reflect an era when English and European landscapes, allegories and portraits were seen as an essential part of any Australian art collection.
19th Century Australian Art
Bendigo Art Gallery is fortunate to hold many works by important 19th century Australian artists. The collection includes those who documented the history of Bendigo. For example, Thomas Wright's Sandhurst in 1862, George Rowe's Kangaroo Flat, c 1857, and S.T. Gill's Eaglehawk Gully, Bendigo (c1852) capture and reflect the initial goldrush on the Bendigo goldfields, through to the city's formation as a burgeoning regional centre.
The Gallery also has a strong collection or early 20th century Australian art including works by proponents of the Heidelberg School such as Frederick McCubbin, Tom Roberts and Walter Withers. The collection has a special focus on expatriate Australian artists from the turn of the century to the 1940s, artists who for many decades were forgotten by the Australian public, including Agnes Goodsir, Bessie Davidson and Mary Cecil Allen.
Modern and Contemporary Collection
Bendigo Art Gallery's collection of 20th century paintings, sculpture, prints and drawings showcase the development of Australian fascinating modern art.
Artists such as Walter Withers, Rupert Bunny, Grace Cossington-Smith, Arthur Boyd, Fred Williams, John Olsen and Margaret Preston are amongst the many 20th Century Australian painters and sculptors represented in the collection.
Bendigo Art Gallery is committed to collecting and presenting contemporary Australian art. Included in the collection are works by leading artists such as Tim Maguire, Emily Kame (Kwementway) Kngwarreye, Mike Parr, John Nixon, Jenny Watson, Louise Forthun, Matthew Jones, Peter Tyndall, Robert Jacks, Christopher Langton, Bill Henson, Tracey Moffatt, Patricia Picinnini, Stieg Persson, John Young, Kate Beynon, Emily Floyd and Stephen Bush.