Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery

Cruthers Collection of Women's Art

Further information

Current Exhibitions


The CCWA may accept donations of artworks to the collection through the Ministry of the Arts Cultural Gifts Program, provided they fit within acquisition parameters.


Please direct all enquiries to:

Gemma Weston
Cruthers Collection of Women's Art


The Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art (CCWA) at The University of Western Australia is Australia’s largest specialist collection of women’s art.

A dynamic program of exhibitions drawing from the CCWA can be viewed year-round in the Lady Sheila Cruthers Gallery, a dedicated space within the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery.

Upcoming exhibition

Artwork with type that says dont give in to the fear

Kelly Doley: Things Learnt About Feminism

8 October - 10 December 2016

Ninty-five hand-painted posters about feminism now.

In 2012 Australian artist Kelly Doley initiated the project The Learning Centre: Two Feminists, inviting 16 participants from different backgrounds to teach her about feminism. Thoughts, facts and ideas from these conversations were translated into 95 hand-painted posters, transforming the live encounter between the artist and participant into an archive of feminist thought and history.

Unapologetically brash and knowingly contradictory, Kelly Doley: Things Learnt About Feminism investigates the tropes and cliches of the political poster and celebrates the strength and diversity of feminism today.

Presented by the UWA’s Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art, the nation’s only public collection of art by Australian women.

Kelly Doley, Things Learnt About Feminism #1 - #95, 2012, 52 x 60 cm, ink on 220 gsm card and installation view 2014, Boxcopy Brisbane. Photos: Jessica Maurer

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The collection

The Cruthers Collection of Women's Art (CCWA) is founded upon a substantial gift made by Sir James and Lady Sheila Cruthers to the University of Western Australia in 2007. Lady Sheila Cruthers and her son John began building a collection of women’s art in the 1970s, focusing primarily on portraiture and self-portraiture and as well as key areas such as modernism, post-modernism, feminism and abstraction.

Decades of passionate advocacy and support for the art of Australian women have resulted in a diverse, eclectic and distinct collection and a significant contribution to the history of Australian art.

The CCWA includes works from the 1890s to present day in a variety of media. It features well-known historical figures and prominent contemporary artists as well as a host of significant, yet under-recognised practices.

A substantial survey exhibition, LOOK LOOK AGAIN, was presented at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery in 2012. A full-colour companion publication, Into the Light, explores the collection in detail.

The CCWA continues to expand through focused acquisition. It aims to contribute to and challenge dialogues about Australian women’s art through exhibition, teaching, research and publication.

From the collection:

Image of artwork by Bale titled Bronze Vase with Flowers

A.M.E Bale, n. d. Bronze Vase with Flowers, Oil on canvas, 43 x 32.5cm

Bronze Vase with Flowers demonstrates Alice Marian Ellen Bale’s commitment to realism and the study of nature in art, particularly in painting. Bale was a prominent member of the Victorian Artists Society, a vocal critic of modernism in art and a strong adherent to Max Meldrum’s theory of tonal study.

A prioritization of on tone over all other formal qualities is visible in Broze Vasewith Flowers, in which the objects and flowers of the still life appear to hold have considerable body, with subtle variations in colour and brushstroke used to precise effect.

A considerable scholarship founded on Bale’s estate continues to encourage the pursuit of traditional painting practice.

The Cruthers Art Foundation

The Cruthers Collection of Women's Art is generously supported by the Cruthers Art Foundation (CAF) established by the Cruthers family in 2006.

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