Selected works from the WAG Collection
Saturday, 11 May 2019 to Sunday, 28 July 2019

WAG is the fifth oldest public art collection in Australia. The depth of the collection reflects the 133 years that it has taken to assemble the more than 2,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, decorative arts, cultural material and public art acquired since 1886. In addition to favourite pieces that many like to revisit, the exhibition includes new acquisitions on display for the first time including a Japanese Samurai armour from the (1602–1867) Edo period recently completed through the help of local David McKenzie who sourced a facemask and sword while travelling in Japan. The Menpo facemask was worn by both Samurai warriors and their feudals, it covers the face from the nose to the chin and helps to secure a top heavy helmet. The accompanying Shaku Edo-jidai Shinken Sword was acquired with funds from the A.L. Lane Foundation.

Public program(s):
Saturday 1 June, 1 - 2pm: David McKenzie presentation - Adding to WAG’s Samurai Armour 

Image credit:Louis Buvelot, Sunset at Coleranie, 1874.
In 2016 the Warrnambool Art Gallery (WAG) celebrated its 130th anniversary, marking WAG as the third oldest institutional collection in Victoria and the fifth oldest in Australia. During its formative history the Gallery has evolved along with changing social patterns, audience expectations and the boundaries that define art. The preservation and management of the Gallery’s Collection continues to be a key focus. Works acquired over the life of the Gallery tell rich and varied stories and are a remarkable reflection of time and place. This is an important opportunity to illustrate why particular works were acquired and considered important. We are truly delighted to present highlights from Warrnambool’s cultural evolution.

The WAG Permanent Collection

The Western District of Victoria is majestic, raw, challenging, and at times unruly, characteristics keenly reflected in the WAG Permanent Collection. Its post-colonial history reflects its wide plains and rugged coast and the journeys of people to settle, tame, harvest and harness its forceful nature. From the monumental Great Ocean Road, Loch Ard Gorge and the Twelve Apostles to the maritime history of the Shipwreck Coast when Bass Strait was the route to the riches of the Goldfields and Portland the gateway to a new life in Victoria to the remarkable volcanic swampland formations of Tower Hill, the beautifully crafted heritage dry stone walls in the ‘Stony Rises’ on the volcanic plains, and the grandeur of historic hinterland homesteads and William Guilfoyle-designed gardens. This natural beauty and the legacies of our forebears sit alongside the significant artefacts and culture of the ancient Indigenous people of the region.

The historic art collection, comprising key works including Tower Hill (1855) by Eugene von Guérard, Sunset Waterpool at Coleraine (1889) by Louis Buvelot, The Scene of the Wreck of the Loch Ard (1878) by Frederick Bruford and Picardy Shrimpfisher (1891) by Tudor St George Tucker sit alongside contemporary aquisitions by a number of prominent modern and contemporary artists including Hobie Porter, Charles Blackman, Christian Waller, Eric Thake, Sam Leach, Marion Manifold, Kathryn Ryan, Raquel Ormella, Brent Harris and many more.