Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery

The University of Western Australia Art Collection

Further information

 

The University of Western Australia Art Collection is one of the most important collections of paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture in Western Australia.

Image of artwork titled On The Swan by artist Elise Blumann

The UWA Art Collection originates from the acquisition of books and art works by Professor Walter Murdoch whilst on a trip to Europe in 1927, with funds provided by the Hackett Bequest. The purchase of art works began in earnest in the late 1940s with funds from a number of generous bequests, including The Tom Collins Memorial Fund. This fund enabled the purchase a series of nine important paintings by Sidney Nolan from the late 1940s, inspired by the artist’s outback tour of north Queensland in 1947.

The UWA Art Collection also houses significant mid-twentieth century Australian art by figures such as Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, Ian Fairweather and Fred Williams. In addition, the UWA Art Collection holds a rich selection of works by Western Australian artists, such as Howard Taylor, Guy Grey-Smith and Elise Blumann, which focus on a Modernist vision of the Western Australian landscape.

The UWA Art Collection continues to acquire works and is committed to purchasing contemporary art. Focus on the acquisition of art of the present day has been in evidence from the beginning of its collecting history in the mid-twentieth century. In the past ten years major acquisitions have included works by Julie Dowling, Susan Norrie and Imants Tillers.

The development of the UWA Art Collection is supported by funding from the University and the generous support of the community through significant bequests and donations. 

Featured artwork

Elise Blumann, On the Swan, Nedlands, 1942, oil on composition board, 56.6 x 66.4 cm. Acquired with the assistance of the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council and the Dr Albert Gild Fund, 1976. Copyright: The University of Western Australia

German émigré artist Elise Blumann arrived in Perth in 1938 from England, having left Nazi Germany in 1934. With her husband and young family she set up a home on the Swan River, close to the UWA campus.

On arrival in Perth, Blumann was immediately struck by the unique quality of the Australian light and by the plant forms she encountered, particularly the melaleuca, the zamia palm and the banksia flower. Learn more about On the Swan, Nedlands.