The Queensland Museum is closed for renovations till January 2012. It gives me a reason to return for a visit. Otherwise, the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) are cool. We began with Queensland Art Gallery.
Well...there was this empty space we walked to and it was too fun not to resist jumping or sliding down the railings. The silly man grabbed my camera to take an unglamorous photo, and I wasn't about to repeat the jumps for the sake of posterity. Heh.
An expansive gallery with exquisite and telling pieces acquired through the years, we were greeted by three significant works from notable Australian artists Peter Tyndall, Gordon Bennett and Imants Tillers who seek active debates about portraying cultural contexts through their art.
Fresh from The Bridge Project's 'Richard III', I stopped in front of Philip H Calderon's painting of a kneeling Elizabeth Woodville, widow of the deceased King Edward IV, parting with her younger son- the Duke of York. The young boy and his brother- Edward, Prince of Wales were then imprisoned in the Tower of London and never seen again. History tells of how the throne was then assumed by their uncle, Richard of Gloucester. We know how that went.
I believe the gallery has 3 Degas pieces in their collection- 2 sculptures 'La danseuse' c.1882-95 , 'Danseuse regardant la plante de son pied droit' c.1920-36 and a classic painting 'Trois danseuses a la classe de danse' c.1888-90. I like Degas. Edouard Vuillard's 'Le salon des Hessel' c. 1905 is beautifully decadent, in his style of dense oils and ambiguous spatial effects, describing his Paris at the turn of the century in the apartment of art dealer Jos Hessel and his wife Lucie on Rue de Rivoli. They received Vuillard daily in the evenings. On this visit, I was most fascinated by Giambologna's (red wax relief on a wooden ground) 'The Flagellation of Christ'. It's a classic Renaissance style that tells a classic tale.
|'The Flagellation of Christ' c.1579. By Giambologna.|
We were treated to the works of Queensland's celebrated sculptor, Daphne Mayo. Alongside, the gallery also boasts of a proud collection of female artists of a bygone era when most professional artists weren't of the fairer sex. Margaret Olley did have a fondness for flowers, fruits and objects. But the other female artists like Margaret Cilento, Pamela MacFarlane and Betty Quelhurst, etc, don't just portray flowers and landscapes.
It's a gorgeous gallery with a sizeable and well curated collection of not just Australian art, but notable pieces from European artists. Many of these valuable pieces were acquired in the 50s. While I lament that Singapore's museums don't have those, it's understandable why. Our museums didn't appear till after 1965, of which by then, made collecting art pieces an extremely expensive business.