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:
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.
Portraits and self-portraits from the Cruthers Collection of Women's Art, the nation's only public collection of art by Australian women.Over the fifty years of collecting that form the basis of the collection, the Cruthers family developed a particular interest in self portraiture and portraiture. Attracted to the way these genres expressed aspects of an artist's biography and identity, the family amassed close to 100 artworks that depict likenesses across a range of styles and disciplines.
Featuring familiar collection favourites and never-before seen gems and rotating collection artworks across the exhibition's run, The Likeness presents a spectrum of attitudes towards portraiture from over 100 years of Australian artistic practice.
Image: A.M.E. Bale, Self Portrait, c. 1906, oil on board, 48 x 34.8 cm, CCWA 752. Cruthers Collection of Women's Art. The University of Western Australia
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.
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.
Erica McGilchrist, The Abandoned (Kew Mental Hospital), 1954, oil on board, 92 x 69cm. CCWA 974. Cruthers Collection of Women's Art, The University of Western Australia. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Phillip Boulton. (c) Courtesy the artist's estate.
The Abandoned (Kew Mental Hospital) is one of an important series of paintings and drawings produced during McGilchrist’s 18 month period as an art instructor at the Kew Mental Hospital.
About the production of the ‘Kew Mental Hospital Series’, she writes:
In 1953-54, my sympathy and identification with the `dispossessed’ (perhaps the product of a rootless childhood and a marriage that didn’t offer me a sense of final belonging or true bonding) led me to establish art `classes’ (`art therapy’ was not yet a word to describe such activity) at Kew Mental Hospital in Melbourne, at the invitation of Dr Cunningham Dax, then Director of Mental Hygiene, an Englishman with a special interest in psychotic art and the potential value of pictorial expression as an aid to diagnosis and treatment of certain mental illnesses… The `dispossessed’ - or `possessed’ - were concentrated there in hundreds, perhaps thousands. Kew Hospital was a prison where patients who had been classified as `incurable’ were collected, waiting for death to release them. A series of works on what I saw and experienced at Kew was inevitable.”
The Cruthers Collection of Women's Art is generously supported by the Cruthers Art Foundation (CAF) established by the Cruthers family in 2006.