A $174 million masterpiece by French impressionist Claude Monet will be the first National Gallery of Australia (NGA) treasure to go on display in a regional gallery under the Federal Government’s new Sharing the National Collection program.
Announced by Minister for the Arts Tony Burke, Monet’s Meules, milieu du jour (Haystacks, midday), purchased by the NGA in 1979, will be one of five works to go on exhibition at the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre. Three works by Australian artist Margaret Olley will also be travelling to the Tweed, as well as Natura morta [Still life], 1956, by Georgio Morandi – one of Olley’s favourite artists.
Under the new program, many of the gallery’s major works will go on display in the regions and suburbs of Australia in a four-year project costing $11.8 million. The funding will cover transport and insurance costs.
Mr Burke said the new program was a cornerstone of the national cultural policy, Revive: a place for every story, a story for every place.
“Art is made to be seen, not kept in a dark room,” he said.
“The vast majority of the incredible works at the National Gallery of Australia are in storage at any one time. But with this program, those works will be lit up on the walls of regional and suburban galleries across the country.
“I know this gallery in the Tweed well,” he said. “It’s where a recreation of Margaret Olley’s home is on display, exactly as it was – so in a sense, her works are coming home.”
Mr Burke said showcasing treasures from the national collection in suburban and regional galleries would also prove a boon for those regions.
“Here’s a work that you have for a period of something like 10 years that makes your gallery a destination and gives you a destination exhibit,” he said.
“It’s a completely different way of using the national collection.”
Director of the NGA Dr Nick Mitzevich said sharing the national collection with all Australians was close to his heart.
“I started my career in a regional gallery and I want to see as many people as possible, regardless of where they live, experience and enjoy the national collection,” he said.
“This support will allow us to share more of the national collection with more Australians and local communities – making it a truly national collection.”
With the NGA holding the world’s largest collection of First Nations art and seminal works from artists across the region and globe, he said, “This program offers the chance for this experience to happen in regional and suburban Australia. This is what Revive is all about”.
The program is not for commercial galleries or private individuals. The loan period is designed for two years or more.
Expressions of interest for Sharing the National Collection are now open.