In January we wondered if the ACT Government was the biggest art thief in human history due to the relocation of the Nolan collection from Lanyon to Civic.
The Liberals’ Vicki Dunne has completed some FOI digging on the subject and has come back with the clarity of stakeholders as to where the works are meant to be:
- “Lady Nolan is firmly of the view that the paintings her late husband donated to the Australian Government, plus the significant number that are on loan, were given on the condition that they would be exhibited at the Nolan Gallery at Lanyon.
“In a letter to a 2004 feasibility study into the Nolan collection, obtained under Freedom of Information, Lady Nolan went to some length to express the considerable affection that she and Sir Sidney had for the gallery, including a view that the Nolan Gallery had become an important part of the modern history of Lanyon.
“A submission from a former Assistant Secretary responsible for cultural and recreational matters, stated to the same study ‘To move the paintings away from Lanyon would be a clear breach of specific undertakings given to Sidney Nolan.’
The works fell into the ACT’s care as part of the shambles of self government. But the ongoing larceny, combined with the weasel words used to attempt to justify the scam are an indictment not just of our Government, but of our whole community they’re supposed to be representing.
Hang them where they’re meant to be, or give them back, they’re not ours.