Our collections are a source of enjoyment, knowledge and inquiry.
The University of Western Australia Art Collection
The University of Western Australia Art Collection is one of the most important collections of paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture in Western Australia.
The UWA Art Collection originates from the acquisition of books and art works by Professor Walter Murdoch while on a trip to Europe in 1927, with funds provided by the Hackett Bequest. The purchase of artworks began in earnest in the early 1950s with funds from a number of generous bequests, including The Tom Collins Memorial Fund. This fund enabled the purchase of a series of nine important paintings by Sidney Nolan from the late 1940s, inspired by the artist’s outback tour of north Queensland in 1947.
The UWA Art Collection also houses significant mid-twentieth century Australian art by figures such as Clarice Beckett, Dorrit Black, Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, Ian Fairweather, Joy Hester and Fred Williams. In addition, the UWA Art Collection holds a rich selection of works by Western Australian artists, such as Elise Blumann, Guy Grey-Smith and Howard Taylor, which focus on a Modernist vision of the Western Australian landscape.
Elise Blumann, On the Swan, Nedlands, 1942, oil on composition board, 56.6 x 66.4 cm. Acquired with the assistance of the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council and the Dr Albert Gild Fund, 1976. © The University of Western Australia.
Erica McGilchrist, The Abandoned (Kew Mental Hospital), 1954, oil on board, 92 x 69 cm, CCWA 974. Cruthers Collection of Women's Art, The University of Western Australia. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Phillip Boulten. © courtesy the artist’s estate.
Cruthers Collection of Women's Art (CCWA)
The Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art (CCWA) is Australia’s largest public collection of women’s art.
The Collection is founded upon a substantial gift made by Sir James and Lady Sheila Cruthers to The University of Western Australia in 2007. Sheila Cruthers and her son, John, began collecting women’s art in the 1970s, focusing on portraiture and self-portraiture. It is an eclectic collection, spanning works from the 1890s to the present day. It continues to develop to reflect contemporary women’s art practice as well as making visible lesser-known artists from the past.
The CCWA includes well-known historical figures such as Clarice Beckett, Elise Blumann and Clara Southern; contemporary artists including Penny Bovell, Sarah Contos, Rosella Namok and Sangeeta Sandrasegar; and lesser-known artists including Stella Dilger, Leanne Emmitt and Lola Ryan.
Founded in 1976, the Berndt Museum is The University of Western Australia’s major collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture. Additionally, the museum houses materials from the Asia-Pacific region, including items from Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Japan, India and Korea.
Established as a research museum based on Professor Ronald and Dr Catherine Berndt's fieldwork, the museum quickly expanded to encompass materials from many anthropologists affiliated with the University, as well as other local and global institutions. The collection consists of more than 12,000 objects, 35,000 photographs, film and sound recordings, and multiple archives. It is considered to be one of the most significant collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and cultural material globally, with materials included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.
The Berndt Museum embraces a collaborative approach to research and engagement, working closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as a part of its projects and programs. The museum also organises biannual exhibitions that explore multifaceted narratives of culture, histories and experiences.
George Mung Mung (1921 – 1991) Gija. Untitled 1988, natural pigments and resin on plywood, 90.2 x 60.2 cm. Berndt Museum Collection [1988/0052].