THE Bathurst Regional Art Gallery’s permanent collection contains 1565 works and is estimated to be worth more than $5.6 million.
A report to council on the growth of the collection since 2004 indicated 473 works, valued at $2.58 million, were acquired during that period.
In the last financial year alone 54 works valued at $194,558 were added through gifts, purchases and donations under the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.
In building the permanent collection, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery director Richard Perram said they had focused on five areas, including contemporary art and modernism since the 1950s, Hill End, studio ceramics, small scale sculptures and Lloyd Rees.
“What we have concentrated on is building up the strengths in the collection so we’ve targeted local artists who were born here and have moved elsewhere, like Merrick Fry,” he said.
“Originally we did not have any works by Merrick Fry beyond one painting, we now have about 25 works and we have worked with Merrick so that we have a whole history and can do an entire exhibition on him.
“Similarly we have works from Tim Storrier, who lives in Bathurst. He gave us a major work – ‘The Ladder’ – which is the largest painting in our collection and we have bought other works from him.”
Mr Perram said the collection’s expansion over the last six years was largely due to a government program that allows donors to claim tax deductions.
“Over a million dollars of that was from people donating works under the cultural gifts program which allows people to donate works to galleries and claim 100 per cent of the value against their tax,” he said.
Mr Perram said later in year there may be an opportunity to take some of the collection out of storage.
“One extraordinary gift we were given was the Gwen Frolich collection which we got at the end of 2004,” he said. “We ended up with this amazing collection of 75 works valued in excess of $1 million, and that included 13 Fred Williams’ pictures.
“Those particular pictures look at the way he worked right through the late 1950s right up until 1978, just before he died.”