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.

Current exhibition

Still of the video work titled Observance by Julie Gough

Julie Gough: Collisions

30 April - 16 July 2016

Exploring contact and colonisation with the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art.

Julie Gough is an acclaimed artist, writer and curator who has participated in over 120 exhibitions since 1994. Collisions features works by Gough that examine points of contact between Australian Indigenous heritage and colonial history, often drawing from her own and her family’s experiences as Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

The central focus of the exhibition will be a video work, Observance. Filmed over three trips to her traditional country on Tasmania’s North East Coast, the work documents her experience in the landscape. During her trips she is interrupted by groups of tourists whom she dubs ‘the descendants of the colonists’ due to their pursuit of a pristine landscape experience ‘ideally free of people’ and historical baggage. The haunting video will be juxtaposed with sculptures and prints that describe other cross-cultural encounters – less cultural exchanges than collisions.

Featured works:
(Top) Julie Gough, Observance (video still) - gunpowder, 2011-12, HDMI video projection 9:16, colour, sounds, 17:09 mins, CCWA 920.
(Bottom) Julie Gough, Observance (video still) - teeburickar, 2011-12, HDMI video projection 9:16, colour, sounds, 17:09 mins, CCWA 920.

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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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