Sharing the National Collection: Key Australian modernists to grace Tamworth gallery

Two of Australia’s foremost modernist artists – Grace Crowley and Grace Cossington Smith – are heading to Tamworth as part of the Albanese Labor Government’s Sharing the National Collection program.

Six works will be loaned to the Tamworth Regional Gallery by the National Gallery of Australia for two years from November 2024.

The works include:

  • Grace Crowley, Harrowing, Glen Riddle, Barraba, 1920
  • Grace Crowley, Abstract Painting, 1952
  • Grace Cossington Smith, Trees in blossom, c. 1930
  • Grace Cossington Smith, Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, 1952.

Another two works – Grace Crowley’s Woman (Annunciation), c.1939 and Grace Cossington Smith’s Orchestral concert: Dr Sargent conducting in the Sydney Town Hall, c. 1939 – will make their way to Tamworth at a later date.

The works will be included in a display of early, mid and late career works of the two artists – alongside pieces from Tamworth’s own collection, where Grace Crowley was born.

Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, said the display will be a fantastic celebration of two important Australian artists.

“At any one point in time 98 per cent of the National Gallery of Australia’s collection is in storage. We’re changing that with Sharing the National Collection.

“This is all about getting artworks out of storage in dark rooms in Canberra and lit up on the walls of galleries across the country.

“One of the great things about Sharing the National Collection is reconnecting artists and artworks with significant places in Australia.

“Having Grace Crowley’s work back in the Tamworth region is the perfect example of what we can achieve with this.

“I can’t wait to see both of these artists’ works in their new home.”

Senator for New South Wales Tim Ayres welcomed the new additions to the gallery.

“This delivers on the Albanese Government’s commitment to share our national arts treasures with all of Australia's regions.

“I'm just so pleased that the Tamworth Regional Art Gallery has access to these great national artists and encourage everyone in the New England area to head down and experience this great collection.

“Great Australian art isn't just for the big cities, it's for our country towns too. I'm delighted that this collection is making its way to Tamworth.”

Sharing the National Collection is part of Revive, Australia’s new national cultural policy, with $11.8m over four years to fund the costs of transporting, installing and insuring works in the national art collection so that they can be seen across the country for extended periods.

“Some of these artworks were recently included in the National Gallery exhibition Know My Name: Making it Modern which celebrated pioneering women artists who changed the course of modern art in Australia,” said Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Dr Nick Mitzevich.

“I am excited to see this important exhibition at Tamworth and how it places these two artists' works in context together.”

“It is wonderful to have the talents of local artists on display here in the Tamworth Regional Gallery,” said Tamworth Region Mayor Russell Webb.

“To think that Grace Crowley, a Barraba artist, is regarded for her works that show the beauty of regional Australia is a testament to the wonderful part of the world we live in.”

Tamworth Regional Gallery Director Bridget Guthrie said, “Grace Crowley and Grace Cossington Smith provide an important perspective on Australian culture, and the place of women in the art world.

“To be able to exhibit this regionally is of tremendous value. We look forward to the conversations that take place around these works and thank the National Gallery of Australia for their support in bringing them to Tamworth for the next two years.”

The works can be viewed via the National Gallery’s website

Regional and suburban galleries can register their expressions of interest via this link.