National Gallery director Ron Radford told a meeting of the Voluntary Guides Association the gallery will no longer display its collection of old masters.
The Canberra Times arts writer Helen Musa was given a detailed report of the meeting in which Mr Radford said the Australian public was not interested in old masters but rather went to galleries to see indigenous and Australian art and that they loved the art of the Victorian period (which, coincidentally, is apparently Mr Radford’s great love as well).
Somewhat ironically, Mr Radford also praised the guides for not leaking his plans to the media as some gallery staff did earlier in the year.
At the meeting, which was held on the day of Pro Hart’s funeral, the director said the gallery’s collection of old masters was really too small to make much of an impact and that they might as well have a random collection of Pro Harts.
He plans to concentrate on the gallery’s strengths, which he listed as European Art of the first half of the 20th century, 20th-century American art, photography, Asian art and the 20th-century drawing collection, and to fill the gaps in its Australian collection as well as proceed with plans to loan out the old masters for long-term display in state galleries.