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AGSA Acquires Significant Clarice Beckett Collection

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AGSA Acquires Significant Clarice Beckett Collection

The Art Gallery of South Australia today announces the acquisition of an exceptional private collection of works by twentieth-century Australian painter Clarice Beckett (1887-1935). Comprising 21 oil paintings, it is among the most significant single acquisitions of works by a woman artist to be made by an Australian art museum.

Made possible due to the generosity of Alastair Hunter OAM, the acquisitions build upon our commitment to promoting important women artists. The paintings come from the personal collection of Clarice Beckett scholar Dr Rosalind Hollinrake, who assembled this collection over a fifty-year period.

Clarice Beckett was a modern artist whose identity was lost to art history for decades. Following a chance encounter with Beckett's sister in the 1960s, Dr Rosalind Hollinrake salvaged hundreds of the artist's neglected canvases and held an exhibition of these paintings, which restored the artist's reputation. Today, Beckett is celebrated for her atmospheric abstractions of the commonplace.

AGSA Director Rhana Devenport ONZM says, 'This is a major acquisition and milestone for the Art Gallery of South Australia. The donation is a remarkable story of shared passions and expertise bound by a tremendous act of generosity by the Hunter Family. To celebrate this momentous acquisition, AGSA will mount a comprehensive Clarice Beckett exhibition in early 2021.'

Philanthropist, Alastair Hunter said, 'The story of Clarice Beckett and the work of Dr Hollinrake to protect and promote that story immediately appealed to me. The opportunity for the Art Gallery of South Australia to be the custodian of the collection and for my mother, Elizabeth, to be remembered in the process was a perfect fit. I commend the work of curator, Tracey Lock as an exemplar of how the relationships between collectors, donors and curators can have such joyous outcomes and be of benefit to the nation.'

AGSA's Curator of Australian Art, Tracey Lock, says, 'This is a timely and visionary gift and I'm honoured to have worked closely with both Dr Rosalind Hollinrake and Alastair Hunter to realise this outcome and, importantly, for Clarice Beckett to receive rightful recognition.'


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