Charles Nodrum and I are very pleased to announce that the collection of Tiwi ironwood carvings from the Estate of Marianne Baillieu has been donated to the Shepparton Art Museum through a major Cultural Bequest.
Established in 1936, the Shepparton Art Gallery was rebranded as the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) in 2011. In 2012 it was awarded best Victorian small art museum. SAM holds one of Australia’s leading collections of historic and contemporary Australian ceramics. This includes an extensive collection of Indigenous ceramics art, acquired as part of SAM’s Acquisitive Award, the Indigenous Ceramic Art Award.
This significant Cultural Bequest of Indigenous art has resulted in SAM holding one of the most important Indigenous collections outside of major State Galleries. Artists of Aboriginal, Tiwi and/or Torres Strait Islander descent are represented. The gifted Collection includes artworks from across Australia, including works by Albert Namitjira and the Namitjira family, and Yorta Yorta artist Lin Onus.
The impressive group of 14 sculptures were collected by the respected gallerist and artist in the 1970s - at a time when the market for Tiwi island figures simply didn't exist. There were perhaps a handful of collectors who began buying Tiwi Island sculpture from the remote community in the 1960s onward and Marianne could be considered one of these pioneers.
Whilst the quality of these carvings speaks for itself, both the early date of her collection and her personality and influence as a collector combine to give the group a further significance over and above the individual works.
Ian Baillieu and his family are delighted that the notable group of Ironwood carvings collected by his late wife will remain intact.
The carvings are currently on view at Charles Nodrum Gallery as part of our collaborative exhibition, BARK + IRONWOOD, running till 26 November 2016.
See full exhibition catalogue here.
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