Founded in 1913, the Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum has acquired an excellent collection of Australian art works and of historical items from the district’s past.
The 1931 art deco building is noted for its elegant design and is Heritage listed. The building has been extended a number of times. It was further extended and refurbished in 2000 with a Federation Grant of $2M from the Federal Government.
The Gallery and Museum is fully accredited by Museums Australia. It is owned by private trustees and managed by a committee elected by subscribers. State and local government support is provided, but the Gallery has a particularly strong tradition of private support from artists and patrons, and its collection has been enriched by such famous personalities as Dame Nellie Melba.
The Gallery has always specialised in Australian art. Its particular strength is in major works of the late 1800s, the Golden Period of Australian painting, and the Edwardian era. Traditional landscape painting is a feature of the collection. More contemporary artists are also well represented.
A fund was established in 1962 from the estate of Sir John Higgins and his sister Catherine, and with this, a representative collection of Australian ceramics, both functional and non-functional, has been acquired.
In 1990 the Gallery established a policy to collect photographic images of Australian artists by Australian Photographers and now has a quality collection by such noted photographers as Max Dupain, David Moore, Richard Beck, Olive Cotton, May Moore, Pegg Clarke and Michel Lawrence.
Earlier artists include Louis Buvelot, Fred McCubbin, Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Walter Withers, David Davies, E.Phillips Fox, Rupert Bunny, Max Meldrum, Percy Leason, R.W.Sturgess, John Russell, A.M.E.Bale, Hugh Ramsay, Dora Meeson, Clarice Beckett and John Longstaff.
Modernists include William Frater, Arnold Shore, Margaret Preston, Sybil Craig, Roland Wakelin, Russell Drysdale, Fred Williams, John Brack, Eric Thake, Albert Tucker, John Perceval, Clifton Pugh, Lloyd Rees, Ian Fairweather, Charles Bush and Roger Kemp.
More contemporary painters include Rick Amor, John Dent, Wendy Stavrianos, Ray Crooke, Robert Jacks, Jeffrey Smart, Ian Armstrong, Paul Cavell and Brian Dunlop.
The Gallery collects photographic images of Australian artists by Australian photographers and has built up a quality collection by such noted photographers as Max Dupain, David Moore, Richard Beck, Olive Cotton, May Moore, Pegg Clarke and Michel Lawrence.
Drawing on the Historical Museum’s collection, the thematic exhibition Camp to City: Castlemaine and Mount Alexander District presents a rich and colourful history. Themes include: indigenous Australians; the goldrush and mining; Chinese on the goldfields; the regions’ development; surrounding towns; prominent early citizens; 20th century Castlemaine and much more.
The museum also boasts a wonderful collection of historical artworks, photographs, costumes, decorative arts and objects specifically relating to the Mount Alexander district.
The display includes a collection of decorative enamelled metalwork by Stanley J. Ellis, a local craftsman and teacher, covering the period from the 1930s through to the late 1950s.
The Gallery and Museum is the only Victorian regional gallery with a studio where the latest conservation treatments and technology are available. It is staffed by a fully qualified and experienced conservator. The Curator, Kirsten McKay can be contacted for advice and restoration services.
The Gallery and Museum may acquire works as follows:
Paintings, drawings, sculpture, prints
* The work of an Australian-born artist or of one who has lived and worked in Australia
* An original work by a particular artist which depicts their own experience and expression of the visual world
* The work corresponds in strength to the existing collection and has a similar personal element to existing works by the same artist or depicts a progression from existing works.
May be functional or purely decorative.
* The work of an Australian-born ceramist or of one who has lived and worked in Australia.
* Has constructional integrity which is within the curatorial capacities of the Gallery to avoid damage.
* Photographic portrait depicting Australian artists (by Australian photographers wherever possible).
* Has some artistic merit rather than being purely a historical record of the subject’s appearance.
Items of historical relevance to Castlemaine and the Mount Alexander Goldfields District, such as:
* Three dimensional items
* Documents, books and photographs
* Scale models
* Artifacts with a clear connection with the Leviny family and their family house Buda
* Consultation between the Director, the Collections Committee and the General Committee
* Approval by a majority of the General Committee. All articles accepted for acquisition remain subject to the de-accession policy of a future General Committee.
* Subject to public scrutiny and in full compliance with the laws prevailing at the time acquisition is made.
* In the Annual Report for the year in which an article is donated.
* On the description of the article where attached for display purposes.
* Anonymity of donors only when requested and agreed to by the General Committee. However, such donors shall be noted in Gallery records not generally available to public view.
* Over eighty works of art have been donated under the Cultural Gifts Program since 1978. The Gallery pays for all valuation fees. Further enquiries to the Director.
* Gifts of $2.00 and over are eligible for full income tax deduction. A tax deductible receipt will be issued.